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NLDS Series Preview #2 : Diamondbacks vs Dodgers

D-backs won two games at Dodgers stadium. Next, the Diamondbacks will play two games at Chase.

Merrill Kelly pitched in game one.
Merrill Kelly pitched in game one.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Welcome home Diamondbacks!

You won two games! You are winners who reached your high expectations. After playing excellent baseball in two games at Dodgers stadium, you have home field advantage. You are one win away from sending the Dodgers home and advancing to the NL championship series. Keep executing! It will happen.

Five Amazing Achievements.

So far in this series, the Diamondbacks have some noteworthy achievements (data from Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant for the first four achievements).

  • Bullpen Excellence in Playoffs: Stretching back from the 2017 playoffs (James Sherfy) to the run allowed by Miguel Castro in game one against the Dodgers, in the playoffs the Diamondbacks’ relievers got 57 consecutive outs without any runs scoring. That is amazing!
  • Home Run Streak in Playoffs: Stretching back from the 2007 playoffs (Mark Reynolds homer at Coors) to game two against the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks have an active streak of 15 consecutive playoff games with at least one homer. With their last game, they pulled ahead of the Dodgers and Astros and they stand alone for the second longest streak. Longest is the Yankees with 23 games.
  • A Big First Inning. In the first inning of game one, ten Diamondbacks batters came to the plate. A team visiting Dodgers stadium has not done that (regular season or postseason) in almost 10 years (since the Giants had 12 batters in the first inning on 4 April, 2014.)
  • Home Runs by Young Batters. In the first game, the Diamondbacks hit four home runs. This season at Dodger Stadium, three visiting teams had a 5-homer-game, and three visiting teams had a 4-homer-game. The Diamondbacks join that second list. But I’m confident that none of those other teams had home runs in one game by three 23 year old players (Carroll, Moreno, and Thomas).
  • Alek Thomas hit a homer on the 14th pitch of his plate appearance.

“It was a long at bat. I just kept fouling them off. Probably about half of those pitches weren’t strikes I’m pretty sure. It’s just part of the game. You’ve got to battle, thankfully the last pitch was one I could hit. That was a really cool at bat. Probably my longest at bat ever of my life. It was pretty sweet to end it on a homer.” — Alek Thomas

The Diamondbacks often win come-from-behind games.

The Diamondbacks fight till the last strike. This season, the Diamondbacks had 43 come-from-behind wins. When the Diamondbacks swept the Brewers, they added two more come from behind wins. They were down three runs in the first game (after 2 innings) and they were down two runs in the second game (after 4 innings).

Home field is a Diamondback advantage.

This season at Chase against the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks’ win-loss record is 3-3. In this series, so far their win-loss record is 2-0 in two away games. The Diamondbacks could win the series at Chase! Otherwise, the fifth and deciding game will be at Dodgers Stadium.

Pitching Matchups.

Wednesday, 6:07 Arizona Time, Lance Lynn (5.73 ERA regular season) vs Brandon Pfaadt (5.72 ERA regular season, 10.13 ERA playoffs, 2.2 innings).

Lance Lynn has pitched in the Majors since 2011. He pitched 58 innings in the postseason with an average ERA of 5.28. However, his most recent playoff appearances were not that good (11.57 ERA in 2018 and 12.27 ERA in 2021). Perhaps this is an opportunity for Diamondbacks batters to have another big inning.

Brandon Pfaadt’s start against the Brewers was his debut in the postseason. Now that he has some experience in the postseason, I’m confident he will pitch closer to his potential. He is a better pitcher than Lance Lynn, albeit with less experience.

Thursday, 6:07 Arizona Time, Clayton Kershaw (2.46 ERA regular season, 162.00 ERA playoffs, 0.1 innings) vs Merrill Kelly (3.29 ERA regular season, 0.00 ERA playoffs, 6.1 innings)

Because Clayton Kershaw was replaced after 6 earned runs and one out, the question was asked whether he will pitch in game 4. He will. Perhaps this will be another opportunity for Diamondbacks batters to have a big inning!

Merrill Kelly could have pitched longer on Saturday. Torey Lovullo replaced him. Perhaps it was so he would have more pitch stamina for this game. The Diamondbacks could win the series with this game.