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Series Preview #23: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

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Well, at least we can’t extend the road losing streak any further right now

General view of Chase Field at sun set Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

After a beat down of a road trip that culminated in a sweep at the hands of the best team in the National League, the Diamondbacks return home to face... the second best team in National League. The Dodgers this season have been just about as good as advertised, though they have slowed down from the insane pace they began the season at. However, they are firmly in control of the first Wild Card berth at the moment, and only 2.5 games behind the Giants for the NL West lead. It’s not going to get any easier folks.

Game 1: Trevor Bauer (6-5, 0.94 WHIP, 143 ERA+) vs. Caleb Smith (2-2, 1.31 WHIP, 115 ERA+)

The MLB probable pitchers page charitably says, “After being dominant through May, Bauer has struggled to find success in June.” I guess that’s because the official news organ of MLB can’t say “After cheating for two seasons, Bauer stopped and has gone back to normal, once again becoming a #3-#5 pitcher.” But seriously, it’s been rough for Bauer lately. Last start out against the Rangers was a 6.1 inning, 6 run affair. We’ll see if that becomes a trend for Bauer now that MLB’s entirely unrelated policy against Spider-Tack is going to be enforced.

Caleb Smith will take the mound for the Diamondbacks for his furth start since returning to the rotation. His first two starts were good, both in the five inning range, with less than two ER’s given up. Last time out against the Angels was a little less great, however, only going 4.1 innings, and giving up four runs.

Game 2: Walker Buehler (6-0, 0.93 WHIP, 159 ERA+) vs. Matt Peacock (2-4, 1.47 WHIP, 79 ERA+)

Also according to MLB’s probable pitcher page, Walker Buehler is currently working on a 23 game streak without recording a pitcher loss. Now, I think most agree that pitcher wins and losses don’t mean much, but it does speak to the consistency the Dodgers have gotten from Buehler. He has only given up more than three ER twice this season, and is currently working on a 14 inning scoreless stretch, dating back to the last inning he pitched against the Cardinals on June 2nd.

Much like the Diamondbacks in general, the month of June has not been kind to Matt Peacock. In three starts, he has gone 11.1 innings and given up 9 earned runs in that time. He has also given up a ten walks and opponents have been hitting .360 off of him. The Diamondbacks were able to get a little more out of him last start, though He went 5 innings and gave up three runs, but there was a lot of luck there, as he walked three and gave up ten hits.

Game 3: Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 2.62 WHIP, 120 ERA+) vs TBD

Gonsolin started the season on the IL, and hasn’t been able to do much in his two starts since returning, only going 5.1 innings. He’s kept his opponents off the board, however, but more due to luck than anything, as he has been walking people like crazy, giving 8 free passes in those two starts. Two was of looking at this game, it’s either going to be our best chance for a win, or it’s going to be Gonsolin’s chance to put things together.

Both MLB and ESPN list this spot in the rotation as TBD. This was where Duplantier pitched last, before being sent down in favor of Corbin Martin. Martin last pitched in relief on the 13th, which would line him up to start this game if the Diamondbacks choose to go that route.

Conclusion

Look... The Dodgers are a really good team. Sure, we can joke about Bauer and sticky stuff all we want, or point to Gonsolin’s struggles since returning from the IL, but at the end of the day, you don’t need 10k RPM on your fastball to beat the Diamondbacks, and the Dodgers have won both of Gonsolin’s abbreviated starts. I think best case scenario for this series is for the Diamondbacks to pick up a win, and looking at the games, even that seems kind of unlikely. Here’s hoping though.