If the Dodgers last seven losses reveal a few patterns, the Arizona Diamondbacks might be able to use those patterns to win this series. Read about the patterns in those losses, here.
As stated in that analysis, the Diamondbacks will need a minimum of three solid innings from each starter and by solid, that means not allowing the Dodgers to score more than one run. The offense will need to strike early and the bullpen will need to be flawless.
Luckily, the Diamondbacks will be leading with Zack Godley and Zack Greinke. The third starter has yet to be determined.
The third starter hasn’t been named as the Diamondbacks await the return of Robbie Ray. After being struck by a line drive, Ray has been on 10-day concussion protocol. Thursday’s start would be the 13th day. If Ray is ready, the Diamondbacks will put him on the mound against Yu Darvish.
Godley will face Kenta Maeda, which will likely be the Diamondbacks best chance at winning. Not only is Godley on a tear, but Maeda’s ERA is almost four. Maeda rarely pitches more than five innings.
Godley might own a 5-4 record, but his ERA is under three and opponents are only batting .196 against him. There’s no doubt the Dodgers will fare better against him than other opponents, but Godley should be able to set the tone for the rest of the series.
However, game two will be a matchup worthy of the 2017 season. Greinke (13-4) will face off against Alex Wood (13-1). After a dominant July, Greinke was shaken up a bit in his first August start. He will be looking to rebound from that no decision.
Wood, on the other hand, earned the win in his last start, but looked fatigued and there was concern whether or not he would even make his next start. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it was unlikely he would miss it, but that decision could be on the Diamondbacks side.
If all goes right, by the time they face the newest member of the Dodgers rotation, the Diamondbacks should already have the series in the bag. The best case scenario would be that the Darvish of July returns, with an ERA over seven.
The reality, however, is that luck won’t be completely on the Diamondbacks side. They will need their offense to return and they will need a flawless bullpen.
Read the third part here.