Last season, the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted in their postseason matchup a National League West opponent they had trounced all season – an opponent with 22 fewer victories who was eligible for Wild Card entry. Still, they ultimately beat them four games in the National League Division Series. So it would seem unlikely that the 100-win Dodgers will take lightly the Diamondbacks’ challenge of facing them.
This version of the Dodgers differs significantly from previous teams in recent history. Their pitching staff lacks starters who can last deep into games. Clayton Kershaw will take the ball for Game 1 despite suffering shoulder trouble all season – yet still posting an impressive 2.46 ERA! He will be joined on the mound by rookie Bobby Miller, veteran Lance Lynn and various relievers, (such as rookie Bobby Miller or veteran Lance Lynn). Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman must provide a spark on offense if the Dodgers are to advance.
The Diamondbacks did an immense service by defeating Milwaukee with ease rather than going the distance, allowing their two best pitchers, Kelly and Gallen, to start four of five possible games in this series. That could give them an advantage against a Dodgers team with plenty of young starting pitching behind Clayton Kershaw. At the same time, in this series, the Diamondbacks will likely be heavy underdogs with nothing to lose – similar to their experience against the Milwaukee Brewers. They’ve been playing meaningful games for quite some time, while the Dodgers have had the division under lock and key for almost two months. If they win this series, Arizona’s success can be attributed to strong starting pitching that keeps opponents at bay and timely offensive output like it showed against Milwaukee. There will be no secrets between these division rivals; Arizona may not be at the top of the NL West standings, but that doesn’t matter; what matters now are these five games, and the D-Backs are built for shorter series victories.
Arizona pitchers must contend with an incredible Dodgers offense that finished second in both home runs and runs batted in this regular season, led by Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Mookie Betts’ combined totals of 104 homers and 314 RBIs! I expect the Dodgers to end Arizona’s run and advance to NLCS playoffs instead, but I think this series goes the full five games.
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