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Series Preview #12: D-backs @ Dodgers

The Dodgers will face aces Corbin and Godley.

An Uncertain Dodger
An uncertain Dodger about to face Patrick Corbin
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What happened in the third series between Dodgers & Diamondbacks?

Unlike the first two series when the D-backs outscored the Dodgers 36-23, in the third series the two teams each scored 15 runs, and the 4 game series was split. Due to injuries, neither team was at their best. And both teams saw their bullpen lose the lead.

The third series was remarkable for three reasons:

  • The D-back rotation allowed only 6 runs in 23 innings.
  • The D-backs won the game with Kershaw pitching. Lovullo said, “I say this with a lot of respect, to go to where we’re wanting to go, you’ve got to beat pitchers like this. The fact that we’re stacking up against him and doing OK means we’re on the right track.”
  • AJ Pollock hit four homers. He was named National League Player of the Month in April.

What is the Dodgers’ culture?

Peter Gruber (owner) said the following:

  • “Creating a high performance culture is the key to all acquisition success.”
  • “Our intention is to continue to shape the organization around customer experience so that the audience becomes viral advocates for the brand and its products.

I saw two ways the Dodgers are making their fan experience better.

First, Dave Roberts (manager) said a big part of player acquisitions is to 1) “find guys who care,” and 2) “we want guys who want to be here.” That concept has resulted in greater unity and players pulling for each other. Also, that type of player delights fans.

Second, Dave Roberts is actively making comments that are intended to be good theater for Dodger fans. Two examples follow:

  • Prior to the third series with the D-backs, he said, “When it’s all said and done, the Dodgers will be at the top of the Division.” If the Dodgers had won the next two games, fans would have felt great optimism. Instead the Dodgers lost the next two games.
  • After two consecutive losses to the D-backs, he said, “Tonight is the night it turns.” The Dodgers broke their losing streak and fans felt great. If the losing had continued, I am confident that another theatrical comment was planned.

Dave Roberts’ theatrical comments about his team, with a losing record, in fourth place in the NL West, could easily be seen as enormous arrogance. The other teams in the NL West are worthy of more respect.

A yoga story applied to baseball.

A God Shiva married a woman Sati, despite her father’s disapproval. Her father embodied rules, regulation, ego, and self-importance.

When Sati went to visit her father, he sniggered and mocked her husband.Sati went into a meditative trance and increased her internal fire until she burst into flames and died.

Upon hearing the sad news, Shiva threw a lock of his hair on the ground to create the warrior named virabhadra (meaning hero-friend). Shiva commanded virabhadra to behead Sati’s father.

Three yoga poses (Warrior 1, 2,and 3) depict virabhadra. The group of poses as a whole represents the higher self who battles his ego and his avidya (self ignorance).

This story is especially appropriate for a series with the Dodgers. Unlike the Dodgers, the D-backs are embracing their love of playing baseball, doing daily battle with their egos, and doing daily battle with avidya. That is part of the reason the D-backs will best the Dodgers this season.

Yoga pose of the series.

Yoga Pose:  Warrior One
Yoga Pose: Warrior One

The yoga pose of the series is warrior one, as demonstrated by Min Soo Pata. She is wearing Diamondbacks attire. She is my yoga instructor. After years of spiritual journeying, she has met her higher self and she’s a strong independent woman.

What is it like for me to practice the warrior one pose? It feels like, “I am still. I am here.” I am controlling my breath, my movement, and my emotions. I reach my arms into the air like swords and hold them motionless. I am ready to exert fresh effort. I am ready to break through and perceive a new experience. In that readiness I am joyous.

This season, the Diamondbacks have broken through with their 9 consecutive series wins. The first place Diamondbacks are focused on playing well, ready to exert fresh effort, and keep on guard against ego and self-ignorance.

Yoga pose was on the hula mount: Pu’u O Kapolei

Kapo was a sister of Pele. She was one of the Hawaiian Goddesses of hula. Similar to The Shadow, who served good while knowing what evils lay in the hearts of men, Kapo served good while having a darker side.

Kapo will always be part of this hula mount. During the winter solstice, the glow of a setting sun creates a wreath of light around this hula mount, forming what Ancient Hawaiians saw as a celestial lei - hence the name, “Kapo-lei.”

Min Soo Pata demonstrated the yoga pose at Pu’u O Kapolei. This site has very powerful mana, which accrues to the Diamondbacks.

What is the injury status?

This season, both teams have had more injuries than expected.

  • In the infield, both teams are less than 100% due to injuries (Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Jake Lamb).
  • In the rotation, both teams have two rotation injuries (Clayton Kershaw & Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Taijuan Walker & Robbie Ray).
  • In the outfield, the Dodgers are missing Yasiel Puig, and the D-backs have Steven Souza Jr back! Christian Walker, who hit a homer on 1 May against Kershaw, was optioned back to the minors.

Who will pitch in this series?

Tuesday. LHP Clayton Kershaw (131 ERA+, 9.8 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9) Rich Hill (64 ERA+, 9.6 SO/9, 4.2 BB/9) vs Zack Godley (125 ERA+, 8.7 SO/9, 3.7 BB/9)

Although not injured, Clayton Kershaw is declining. Sunday, Clayton Kershaw was put on the disabled list with bicep tendonitis. This season, his record is one win and four losses. His ERA, FIP, and homers per inning are worse than his career averages, and the trend is not his friend (see following table).

Kershaw Decline

season ERA FIP homers/innings
season ERA FIP homers/innings
career 2.37 2.62 0.07
_____________ _____________ _____________ _____________
2016 1.69 1.80 0.05
2017 2.31 3.07 0.13
2018 2.86 3.76 0.16

Instead of Kershaw, Rich Hill is scheduled to start. Due to a split fingernail and finger infection, it has been 3 weeks since Hill’s last start. A few days ago, coach Dave Roberts “indicated Hill had not been able to spin many curve balls while nursing the finger injuries. Hill said this was not true.” Hill will want to prove he is 100% healed.

This season, Zack Godley’s record is 4 wins and 2 losses. In his last start against the Dodgers, Zack Godley allowed 1 earned run in 6 innings. His start was excellent, and his result was much improved from his previous start against the Dodgers. This game could be won by either team.

Wednesday. LHP Alex Wood (98 ERA+, 8.6 SO/9, 1.1 BB/9) vs LHP Patrick Corbin (197 ERA+, 11.7 SO/9, 1.8 BB/9)

This season, and in the 2016 season, Alex Wood had a serious weakness against left-handed hitters. Lefties had a better batting average, on-base percent, slugging percent, and OPS than right-handed hitters.

Alex Wood has pitched against the D-backs two times this season, allowing 4 earned runs (5 runs total) in 11 innings. Left handed (or switch hitting) D-backs hit 3 of the 5 RBIs.

This season, Patrick Corbin is the ace of the D-backs. Against the Dodgers, Patrick Corbin has allowed only one earned run in 13.1 innings. Advantage D-backs!