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Series Preview #51 : D-backs vs Dodgers

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Dream Bigger

Paul Goldschmidt when D-backs were shutout
Paul Goldschmidt when D-backs were shutout
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Why is our offense inconsistent?

The D-backs have something in common with the Dodgers – inconsistent offense. Interestingly, the Dodger fans blame too much lineup shuffling and the D-back fans blame not enough lineup shuffling (and not enough pinch hitting).

  • “Some Dodgers fans are critical of Roberts for his constant lineup shuffling, but the team’s rotation of players at every position but shortstop and third base reflects, in part, the depth of its roster.” Ken Rosenthal
  • “How much he [Torey Lovullo] had to say in the initial roster construction is unknown, but clearly the roster construction choices, (3 catchers, an all veteran bullpen) created limitations.” -- Jack Sommers
  • “The [D-back] players getting consistent starts in the lineup need to show why it is they’re getting those starts.” -- Cumulus Choir
  • “Like almost everyone else has said, Torey needs to start utilizing pinch-hitters more. Jeff Mathis and Zack Greinke batting back-to-back after Ketel Marte got on base to start the 8th inning in Friday’s loss was and still is absolutely baffling to me.” -- Cumulus Choir

Even players with few plate appearances can make an impact. “Deven Marrero managed to rack up -8 wRAA in just 85 PA. Impressive.” — Jack Sommers wrote in this article, which compared how players hit compared to expectations.

Looking at the position players, which team has shuffled their lineup the most?

In plate appearances for the season through 16 September, the Dodgers have shuffled most at first base, second base, and shortstop; the D-backs have shuffled most at catcher and third base. Both teams have shuffled the outfield a lot!

The near full-time standouts are Paul Goldschmidt (96%), David Peralta (87%), and Nick Ahmed (84%). These three D-backs also are the team leaders in bWAR (5.8, 3.5, and 3.7). These core players are making an impact!

There are no standouts on the Dodgers. Their catcher Grandal has 72% of plate appearances at catcher.

The following table provides details:

Primary Position Players

position Dodgers D-backs
position Dodgers D-backs
catcher Grandal 72% Avila 35%
first base Bellinger 57% Goldschmidt 96%
second base Forsythe 25% Marte 67%
shortstop Taylor 49% Ahmed 84%
third base Turner 52% Lamb 36%
outfield Kemp 69% Peralta 87%
Pederson 63% Pollock 63%
Puig 63% Jay 42%
As measured by plate appearances Baseball Reference
Yoga Pose of the Series:  Butterfly Catcher
Yoga Pose of the Series: Butterfly Catcher

Yoga Pose of the Series: Butterfly Catcher

The yoga pose of the series is demonstrated by Min Soo Pata. My yoga instructor is wearing Diamondbacks attire. Recently she wrote,” Things always work out as they are meant to and even though you might think you’re not getting your way, you are... Dream Bigger!!!”

In an easily-imagined alternate-universe, the D-backs are winning the NL West. Sadly in the real universe, the D-backs are eliminated from the post season. Their overwhelming collapse might have mentally hurt the players as much as me. If so, I hope they heal quickly.

My hope to see D-backs play in this season’s playoffs went down in flames. It felt relatively sudden and unexpected. However, like a Phoenix my hopes are reborn for next season.

This butterfly pose is symbolic of a butterfly full of hope. In my mind, that butterfly flies from beautiful flower to beautiful flower, finding sweet nectar to nourish the renewal of my hope.

The mitt is raised high to be symbolic of great joy and passion for baseball. Accepting disappointment will add to my future joy and passion!

As Min Soo wrote, “Dream Bigger!!!” Let’s raise our mitts to big dreams next season!

Who will pitch in this series?

Monday. Clayton Kershaw (2.45 ERA, 8.7 SO/9, 1.4 BB/9) vs Robbie Ray (3.92 ERA, 11.8 SO/9, 4.9 BB/9)

In September, Clayton Kershaw allowed 8 earned runs in 26 innings, an ERA of 2.77. Scoring runs will be a challenge.

Robbie Ray is pitching very well, so this is a great match-up. His most amazing statistic is 4: his September games with 5+ innings and 2 or less hits allowed.

Tuesday. Walker Buehler (2.74 ERA, 10.3 SO/9, 2.3 BB/9) vs Matt Koch (4.26 ERA, 5.2 SO/9, 2.1 BB/9)

Rookie Walker Buehler is a top-100 baseball prospect. In September, he has pitched very well. The most amazing statistic is 5.3: his September ratio of strikeouts (37) to walks (7) in 26.1 innings.

Matt Andriese, in his only start as a D-back, allowed 5 earned runs in 2 innings. In that same game Matt Koch allowed zero earned runs in 4 innings. So instead of Matt Andriese, Matt Koch will start this game. Which Matt starts matters!

Wednesday. Ross Stripling (2.84 ERA, 10.0 SO/9, 1.5 BB/9) vs Zack Greinke (3.21 ERA, 8.6 SO/9, 1.8 BB/9)

In September, as a starter, Ross Stripling has allowed 6 earned runs in 10 innings, an ERA of 5.40. He pitched exactly 3.1 innings in each game. This game will be an opportunity for D-back hitters.

In September, Zack Greinke has allowed 14 earned runs in 25.67 innings, an ERA of 4.91. In his last start, Greinke did not deserve to credited with a loss. Let’s cheer for him to earn a win!