|Ketel Marte - 2B||Mookie Betts - 2B|
|Corbin Carroll - RF||Freddie Freeman - 1B|
|Tommy Pham - DH||Will Smith - C|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Max Muncy - 3B|
|Gabriel Moreno - C||J.D. Martinez - DH|
|Lourdes Gurriel - LF||Jason Heyward - RF|
|Alek Thomas - CF||David Peralta - LF|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||James Outman - CF|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Miguel Rojas - SS|
|Merrill Kelly - RHP||Clayton Kershaw - LHP|
The Diamondbacks have never won a game against the Dodgers in the post-season. The only time they faced each other likely does not need much recapping. In 2017, the D-backs came through an enthralling but depleting wild-card game against the Rockies, and were basically spent going into the Division Series. They were swept in three games, outscored by a margin of 20-11, and the Dodgers clinched in Chase Field - though at least were kept out of the pool! Game 1 starter there for Los Angeles is their Game 1 starter here. But oddly, of the D-backs starting nine that night, more are now Dodgers than D-backs: J.D. Martinez and David Peralta are with LA, while Ketel Marte is the only one still with Arizona.
No matter what happens, you can probably make a case for there being a pre-existing narrative to support it. On the one hand, you have Clayton Kershaw, who has won his last thirteen starts against the D-backs in Dodger Stadium, including that one in the 2017 NLDS. Arizona hasn’t one a game in Los Angeles where Kershaw started since June 2013. On the other hand... playoff Kershaw is just not as good as regular season Kershaw. His post-season ERA is 4.22 with a mediocre 13-12 record. Compare that to the regular season where he has a 2.48 ERA and a 210-92 record. Even in the 2017 Game 1, Clayton gave up four HR: he’s the only pitcher to do that in post-season history in a game his team won.
There’s also Christian Walker, who is 10-for-34 with five HR. Nobody has more HR off Kerahaw. Walker did appear in that Game 1 six years ago, singling as a PH, but just after Kershaw left. On our side, there’s Merrill Kelly’s infamous 0-11 record in 16 starts against Los Angeles, to go with a 5.49 ERA. Either “they have his number” or “he’s due”. His ERA this year has been better, but the last start against them was not one to remember. What concerns me is, over the four starts against the Dodgers, Kelly has walked more (13) than he has struck out (11). That’s not a recipe for success, and something to keep an eye on for tonight, especially in the early innings.
The D-backs need to play the brand of baseball which has got them here: smart, aggressive and clean, and not be overawed by the cauldron which will be Dodger Stadium tonight. They’re the underdogs here, no question about it. But they were the underdogs in Milwaukee as well, and they took care of business there. Arizona needs to build on that and make a statement tonight, so show Los Angeles this is not the 2017 team.