|Joc Pederson - LF||Ketel Marte - CF|
|Matt Beaty - 1B||Tim Locastro - LF|
|Justin Turner - 3B||Eduardo Escobar - 3B|
|Cody Bellinger - RF||Christian Walker - 1B|
|A.J. Pollock - CF||Wilmer Flores - 2B|
|Corey Seager - SS||Adam Jones - RF|
|Will Smith - C||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Enrique Hernandez - 2B||Carson Kelly - C|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu - LHP||Merrill Kelly - RHP|
Almost certainly, this series will be the last time we see the Dodgers at Chase Field this year. I say “almost certainly”, as there’s still a slim chance Arizona could take the wild-card spot, win the wild-card game and face the Dodgers in the NLDS. Which would result in at least one more game against them in Arizona. But with Fangraphs currently giving Arizona a 2.5% chance of even reaching the wild-card game... I’m not going to stress it, and instead will state with virtually complete confidence that this will be the last time we’ll face Los Angeles. And I’m fine with that, especially since they can no longer clinch the division here: we can stand the Phoenix mounted police down for this series.
The D-backs come in to the series, one game over .500. It’s worth noting they have actually had a better record since trading away their ace at the trade deadline. They are now 13-11 in August - that’s an 88-win pace - compared to 54-55, up until the end of July. We’ll see whether that will still be the case after four games against the buzz-saw of the Dodgers - even if they have the fortune to miss Walker Buehler. But it’s not like the schedule so far this month has been a patty-cake one, with series against the Nationals, Phillies, Brewers and Dodgers, all teams with post-season aspirations. Over those 12 games against contenders, the D-backs have held their own, going 6-6.
But there isn’t much more to come in the way of tough opposition. Of the 25 games to come after this series, there are four in New York against the Mets (who are looking a bit shaky) and three here versus St. Louis (the return of a certain first-baseman). Otherwise, there are no less than NINE against the Padres, home and away series versus the Reds, and three at Chase facing the Marlins. A surge is not impossible against those opponents, but it may well end up being a case of too little, too late. Still, if Arizona can manage to split these four games or better.. never say never.