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Series preview #47: Diamondbacks @ Dodgers

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The Diamondbacks head to LA for the last time this season...

A raised, blue LA logo in front of  a gate leading to Dodger Stadium with a gold and white banner reading Welcome to Dodger Stadium hanging above it Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers for a three game set starting Monday night. It’s a big series for the Dodgers, as it will mark the return of Clayton Kershaw. It’s also a chance for them to try and beat up on the Diamondbacks and close some of the 2.5 game lead the Giants have over them at the time of writing. At the same time, the Diamondbacks will be trying to play spoiler like they have successfully done in a few recent series, most lately in getting the series win against the Mariners this past weekend.

Game 1: Zac Gallen (2-9, 1.29 WHIP, 97 ERA+) vs Clayton Kershaw (9-7, 0.97 WHIP, 119 ERA+)

Since his return from the IL, Gallen has been pretty consistently good for six to seven innings pitched, and two or three runs allowed. This continued in his last start where he went six and two thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and no walks. One would definitely like to see better run prevention from the once and hopefully future ace, but the length is great to see.

Clayton Kershaw will be making his return from the IL, having been out for almost six weeks. I’d have to imagine that it will be something of a shorter start, given that his one rehab start was only for three innings. However, I will always be of the opinion that any Kershaw is too much Kershaw. Also, he is only 33 years old, not 45. It only seems like he’s been pitching for 20 years already.

Game 2: Luke Weaver (3-4, 1.13 WHIP, 99 ERA+) vs Tony Gonsolin (2-1, 1.47 WHIP, 145 ERA+)

Weaver has had two starts since coming back to the rotation from the IL. The first, against the Padres, was great. Six innings, no runs, four K’s, two walks. His second against the Rangers wasn’t quite as good, but still very serviceable five innings of three run ball. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against the Dodgers, a formidable offense that is trying to claw their way back into the division lead.

Tony Gonsolin also is freshly back from the IL. This will be his second start since returning. The first was three innings of one run baseball against the Cardinals and the plan is for him to go four innings this time around, per Blake Harris of TBLA. When he’s been healthy, he’s pitched well, he just hasn’t been healthy much. Look for a short but tough start from him this time around.

Game 3: Madison Bumgarner (7-10, 1.20 WHIP, 90 ERA+) vs Julio Urias (17-3, 1.02 WHIP, 135 ERA+)

The enigma of who is the modern day Madison Bumgarner continues. He has given up five earned runs in each of his last three starts, not going more than six innings in either of them. He had been good for 6+ is all of his starts from July 28th to August 19th. Purely speculative, but one wonders if he is hiding an injury again. His current stretch of games has too many similarities for comfort to the four starts he did before going on the IL at the beginning of June.

Urias has been on a tear lately. He hasn’t given up more than two earned runs since he gave up for in Colorado, which can hardly be held against him. To find the last time he gave up more than two ERs in a non-Denver game, you have to go back to June 21st in San Diego when he gave up six. Easily the hardest match up for the Diamondbacks in this series.

Conclusion

Will the real versions of all these Diamondbacks pitchers please come forward? Gallen has been up and down all season, Bumgarner has gone back and forth, and there is just no where near enough of a sample size for Weaver. If we get the good versions of these pitchers, I think the Diamondbacks will be able to at least make it competitive. I think, given past history, it’s a lot to expect all three of them to be on their A-game in the same series at this point, so this will be a challenging series for the Serpentines.