The Los Angeles Dodgers would not have it easy regardless of who won the NL Wild Card Game. The Arizona Diamondbacks, however, are definitely the deadlier of the two lineups. It’s an offense that pummeled the Dodgers through August and early September. It’s crucial that the Dodgers at least win the first game tonight, while the D-backs will look to grab two before heading back to their home turf.
Pitching matchups: Taijuan Walker (RHP) vs Clayton Kershaw (LHP)
It’s no surprise that the Dodgers are sending Clayton Kershaw to the mound for Game 1 in LA. The Diamondbacks needed both Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray to get that win on Wednesday night. So Taijuan Walker will get the start. Walker had three starts against the Dodgers this season, winning two of them and receiving a no-decision in the other. However, Walker does not seem to make it past the 6th inning in most starts which could be an issue as we’ve seen from other teams in the postseason so far.
Kershaw will look to prove that the postseason doesn’t make his talent magically disappear. He is 4-7 in his career with a 4.77 ERA in the playoffs and has yet to win a postseason game at home. Against the Diamondbacks this year, Kershaw has two wins and a fantastic 1.08 ERA. It will be interesting to see how the rookie can match up against him.
|Diamondbacks||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|David Peralta, LF||14||.293||.352|
|Ketel Marte, SS||5||.346||.443|
|Paul Goldschmidt, 1B||36||.297||.404|
|J.D. Martinez, RF||29||.302||.366|
|Jake Lamb, 3B||30||.248||.357|
|A.J. Pollock, CF||14||.266||.330|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B||10||.233||.332|
|Jeff Mathis, C||2||.215||.277|
|Taijuan Walker, P||1||.231||.245|
|Dodgers||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Chris Taylor, CF||21||.288||.375|
|Cory Seager, SS||22||.295||.375|
|Justin Turner, 3B||21||.322||.415|
|Cody Bellinger, 1B||39||.267||.352|
|Enrique Hernandez, LF||11||.215||.308|
|Logan Forsythe, 2B||6||.224||.351|
|Yasmani Grandal, C||22||.247||.308|
|Yasiel Puig, RF||28||.263||.346|
|Clayton Kershaw, P||0||.184||.245|
Who’s hot, and who’s not
JD Martinez had a monster of a season, especially after he was traded to the Diamondbacks. He finished the year .302/.366/.741. Martinez will make Kershaw pay for any pitching mistakes by sending the ball into the San Gabriel Mountains.
Enrique “Kike” Hernandez struggled towards the end of the season, letting his average dip to .215. When he’s hot, he’s a deadly piece in the middle of the lineup. Hernandez’s 92 wRC+ on the year is on the higher end of the Dodgers offense. So it will be crucial that he gets his bat going during this series.
Paul Goldschmidt has also been slumping as of late but seems to have broken out of it during the Wild Card match against the Colorado Rockies. Goldschmidt belted two homers and put up 3 RBIs which makes him dangerous even to Kershaw heading into Game 1.
Prediction: Dodgers 6 – Diamondbacks 5
This will be a close one. I will give Kershaw the benefit of the doubt and say he gets his first postseason victory at home, but not without taking a few hits from this Diamondbacks lineup. Walker has been good against the Dodgers this season, but I think he’ll once again struggle going past the 6th which would require Arizona to use an already tired bullpen, giving the Dodgers a slight advantage.
Where to watch
Today’s game will start at 10:30 PM EST and will be broadcast on TBS.
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