Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Dates: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 – Thursday, August 31, 2017
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
Surprising series loss to Milwaukee notwithstanding, the Dodgers are cruising through the 2017 without much challenge. They’re 53 games above-.500 and their Pythagorean record shows there is very little luck involved. With one of the best offenses in baseball, the absolute best pitching per team ERA and solid defense it’s hard to find a flaw. This is the first-time L.A. has lost back-to-back games since mid-July. While L.A. pretty much has the division and home field advantage wrapped up already, with a potential wins record within sight, there’s still plenty for this team to aim towards.
Arizona should have plenty of motivation, too. The D-Backs have the edge on the Rockies for the top Wild Card spot. Hosting the Wild Card game would be a huge advantage, particularly against a team like Colorado who has such a major home field advantage. With the Marlins and Brewers charging in the Wild Card race as well, it’s more and more important for Arizona to continue to push. The Diamondbacks faltered before a nice spell against the Mets and Giants set them on the right path. Can they keep things up against the best of the best?
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 9:40 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Rich Hill ( Dodgers ) vs. Zack Godley ( Diamondbacks )
This will be Rich Hill’s first start since his near Perfect Game and no-hitter that wasn’t. The 27-year old southpaw is 9-5 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.136 WHIP. Despite pitching into the tenth in Wednesday’s disappointing loss, Hill tossed just 99 pitches. While that is on the high side for him, the pitch count should hinder him on Tuesday. Don’t look for him to go nine innings again, but he should give five to six solid frames. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game since June 15. He gave up only two hits and a run in seven innings the last time he took on Arizona.
Not quite as strong as Hill in his last start, but Godley’s delivered good start after good start. He’s pitching to a 3.45 ERA in August and is 5-7 with a 3.15 ERA in a surprising season since filling in for Shelby Miller. Godley’s had a great deal of success against the Dodgers, too, and nobody in L.A.’s lineup is particularly excited to face him. Corey Seager is 1-for-11 against him. Chase Utley is hitless in six at-bats and Curtis Granderson is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Justin Turner is just 3-for-12 with four strikeouts, but included in those three hits are a double and two homers.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 9:40 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Hyun-Jin Ryu ( Dodgers ) vs. Robbie Ray ( Diamondbacks )
Like the rest of the Dodgers, Ryu has been on a roll. The southpaw has been lockdown in his last nine starts with a 2.13 ERA. He’s only 3-0 in those nine games, but the Dodgers have won each of his last six starts and nine of his last 10. Interestingly, the southpaw has dominated righties, but has been vulnerable to lefties, giving up a .924 OPS. Some of that is because he faces only the best of the best left-handers. Jake Lamb is Arizona’s most potent lefty, but he’s only hitting .146 against southpaws. David Peralta, however, is batting .271 with a .340 OBP against them.
Robbie Ray made his return to the mound after his concussion and looked like his normal dominant self. Ray has been a strikeout machine and recorded nine in five innings during his return from the DL. Ray is striking out 11.6 per nine innings, but he is prone to the walk, too. He’s walked 60 batters in 123.2 innings, that’s nearly one every other inning. Los Angeles is a patient offense with a .341 OBP, the best in the NL.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, August 31, 2017, 3:40 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Kenta Maeda ( Dodgers ) vs. Zack Greinke ( Diamondbacks )
Kenta Maeda has been lights out against right-handers since the All-Star break, holding them to a .130 average. Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez, however, will be difficult right-handed bats to silence. That said, Goldschmidt is 4-for-23 against Maeda with no extra base hits. Martinez is 0-for-2 with a strikeout. As for the lefties, Peralta has been silenced, too, but Lamb is 9-for-22 with three doubles, two homers and a 1.253 OPS.
The former Dodger hurler is the main reason for the Diamondback’s major improvement this year. The offense has always been there for Arizona, but the pitching was lacking. Greinke is the ace of the staff and the glue. He’s 15-6 with a 3.14 ERA and 5.2 WAR. While his overall season numbers are, he’s been bad against L.A. He’s 0-2 in two starts with eight runs and 14 hits allowed in 11.2 combined innings. He’s walked seven.