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Preview, #157: 9/24 vs. Dodgers

Operation Stop The Dodgers begins tonight, under Commander Walker

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

Chris Taylor - LF Chris Owings - RF
Justin Turner - 3B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
David Freese - 1B Ketel Marte - 2B
Manny Machado - SS Christian Walker - 1B
Enrique Hernandez - CF Nick Ahmed - SS
Matt Kemp - RF A.J. Pollock - CF
Brian Dozier - 2B Socrates Brito - LF
Yasmani Grandal - C John Ryan Murphy - C
Clayton Kershaw - LHP Robbie Ray - LHP

Only two players have hit more than one home-run off Clayton Kershaw this season. Coincidentally, both are called Christian: the Brewers’ Yelich and the D-backs’ Walker. What’s particularly remarkable is that Walker has had exactly two at-bats against Kershaw in his life, giving him a career OPS of 5.000. [The only other player who can say that is, of all people, the PadresTyson Ross, who is 1-for-1 with a homer] No surprise, therefore, to see Walker starting at first base for this contest against Kershaw and the Dodgers, as the three-game series opens at Chase Field tonight. For the record, Paul Goldschmidt has a career line of .211/.262/.404, with three home-runs in 57 at-bats.

Also of note, the D-backs have seven homers off Kershaw this year in 100 PA. The other 28 teams in the majors have combined for only nine in 503 PA. Mind you, it hasn’t exactly helped the D-backs much, for two reasons: a) they were all solo shots, and b) we haven’t scored any non-homer runs off Kershaw. Over four starts and 26 innings, he has a 2.42 ERA and a 27:2 K:BB ratio. However, he’s only 1-1 and the Dodgers are 2-2 in those four outings against the Diamondbacks this year, so... flip a coin? I’d take it. Be helpful if the team could end their streak of having gone 26 consecutive innings without a runner in scoring position hit, dating back to David Peralta’s home-run during the first inning on Friday.

For scoreboard watching purposes, the Rockies will be kicking off their game at Coors against the Phillies at 5:40pm Arizona time. A win for them or us would end any chance of the Dodgers being able to clinch during their time in Arizona, and give the potential “honor” of hosting that celebration to the San Francisco Giants. Ideally, of course, the Rockies and D-backs both win, reducing the margin to one-half a game, so Los Angeles will get to feel the hot breath of Colorado down the back of their neck, with no more Kershaw starts until the final game of the season. I certainly want to see more enthusiasm and effort from the D-backs here: they may be eliminated, but still very much have a role to play in the West.