|Jarrod Dyson - RF||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Ketel Marte - CF||Justin Turner - 3B|
|Eduardo Escobar - 2B||Will Smith - C|
|David Peralta - LF||Cody Bellinger - RF|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Kris Negron - LF|
|Jake Lamb - 3B||Max Muncy - 2B|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Corey Seager - SS|
|Carson Kelly - C||Tyler White - 1B|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Walker Buehler - RHP|
Having successfully completed the Nationals and Phillies levels of the schedule, it’s time for the Diamondbacks to power up and take on the final boss of the NL West. Beating the Dodgers on their own territory is not going to be easy. They are a scary 46-15 in Los Angeles this season and have won six out of seven on this home-stand. They just swept the Cardinals - fighting for a playoff spot themselves - in a three-game series, holding the St. Louis offense, complete with Paul Goldschmidt, to just two runs in total. On the plus side, at least we manage to miss Clayton Kershaw this series. On the other hand, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu have a combined record of 22-4 this season.
Tonight promises to be a strikeout fest of epic proportions, pitting #2 (Ray) vs. #8 (Buehler) on the list of qualified pitchers with the highest strikeout rate. Between them, the two starters have thrown 265.1 innings, and struck out 330 innings, which is pretty much a good season by Randy Johnson’s standards. Last time out, Buehler fanned 15 Padres, and the only National League pitcher with more K’s in a game than that this year is... Walker Buehler when he struck out sixteen Rockies on June 21. That’s a level which none of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jacob deGrom or Kershaw have reached this year, and the D-backs’ hitters are going to need to be at their very best to compete.
Back at the All-Star break, I plotted a route for Arizona to reach 85 wins this season. That had the team entering this series with 13.4 wins in the second half. They have actually achieved 12, so they have some catching up to do. This was not a series where the route saw them doing it. It has them leaving LA at 14.7 wins, so If they can take two out of three, and reach 14 second-half victories, that would leave me pretty stoked. Not least because the schedule then takes a turn for the relatively easy, with ten games against the slumping Giants and Rockies coming up, and ground potentially to be made up. Getting one of those wins tonight would be handy, to say the least.