If you are looking for one series to follow along this weekend, it has to be the Arizona Diamondbacks vs the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s a must-watch affair with this perhaps being a big deciding factor in who wins the National League West. Not much has been decided thus far. It’s like it is the first week of the season and there isn’t much space between everyone.
Well, okay, the Giants wouldn’t be 7 games back and the Padres 22, but the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Rockies are all within a game of one another. Before Thursday’s action commences, the D-Backs are 0.5 up on the Rockies and a game up on the Dodgers. It doesn’t mean a whole lot at the moment with a month left of the regular season. All that matters is who is on top of the mountain come the end of the regular season.
The Dodgers got excellent pitching from Alex Wood a night ago. He paced the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers. Kenta Maeda allowed a run in the 9th, but he was able to keep it together and get 3 outs. The offense only got 4 hits, so it wasn’t their best night at the office. However, with Wood clearing the way for the Dodgers, they didn’t need the offense to show up. Puig remains in the lineup pending the ruling on his suspension appeal.
They may need the offense a night or two this weekend against the Diamondbacks. If they want to look like a confident team heading into the final stretch of the season, this is a time to do it against the Diamondbacks in their own backyard at Dodger Stadium. Robbie Ray of the D-Backs is scheduled to take on the Dodgers’ Rich Hill. Get our free Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers pick and the rest of our writeup below.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. L.A. Dodgers Pick
Robbie Ray (3-2, 4.73 ERA) vs. Rich Hill (6-4, 3.50 ERA)
Just winning the division would be an accomplishment for the Diamondbacks. For the Dodgers, it’d be nice and all, but after going to the World Series a season ago, winning the division doesn’t feel as sweet. The Dodgers built this team to be a World Series Champion, not an NL West Champion only to remind people of how they choked away another postseason. I wouldn’t say they choked anything away last season, but they certainly didn’t make good on having the deciding game at Dodger Stadium.
Hill has been pitching well for the Dodgers this season, after finally avoiding blister issues that have plagued him constantly over the past few years. Hill is coming off dominant performance against the Padres. He held them to just 2 hits and 0 runs across 6 innings of work. The Dodgers went on to win 11-1 and haven’t lost a game since.
Hill has allowed 2 or less runs in seven of his previous eight starts. When he isn’t dealing with a painful blister, he can be an above average pitcher. Hill enters with an ERA of 3.00 and 0.89 WHIP in his last three starts. In his last seven, he’s been sharp with a 2.13 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. If it wasn’t for an early season blister, his overall ERA would look much better than 3.50. In his last fifteen, he has posted a 2.63 ERA, so I like to think it would be below 3.00. Hill has been one of the most underrated pitchers the last couple of months.
Conversely, Ray goes into Dodger Stadium with an ERA of 3.77, 1.53 WHIP, and .348 OBA in his last three. He has in fact done better on the road with a 3.05 ERA, but this is going to be an environment at Dodger Stadium that he’s never seen in his career. This is likely to be the most pressure he’s had to face in his time in the majors. 38-year-old Rich Hill has seen just about everything during his thirteen-year career. This is going to be a good one between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers this weekend. As far as tonight is concerned, I like the Dodgers to draw first blood and score their sixth win in a row.