The Los Angeles Dodgers are in Arizona Thursday afternoon for game four of a four-game series with their hated division rivals, the Diamondbacks. The DBacks hold a two games to one lead in the series. Arizona won game one 8-5, powered by a ten-strikeout performance from starting pitcher Zack Greinke. Game two also went to Arizona as they were able to make a late rally to win the game 4-3, defeating Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw along the way. And last night, the Dodgers managed to salvage one game in the series as they used a team effort on the mound, six different pitchers were used, to shut down the DBacks and win the game 2-1.
Today’s starting pitching matchup features Alex Wood (0-3 4.11 ERA) for the Dodgers battling against Patrick Corbin (4-0 2.25 ERA) for Arizona. The DBacks are -133 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 PM PST from Chase Field in Phoenix.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking forward to getting out of Arizona today. This will already be the tenth time these two teams have matched up this season. Arizona has dominated the season series so far and they are 7-2 against the Dodgers this year. What has been very interesting has been the fact that in the nine games these two teams have played this year, the Dodgers have been the betting favorite in eight of them. Arizona finally gets the respect they deserve for dominating this series tonight, as they are small home favorites.
I saw a stat last night that surprised me a little bit. It said that no team that had a losing record at the end of April made the playoffs this season. None. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who came into the season as the odds-on favorite to win the National League pennant, finished April with a losing record. When you look at this Dodgers lineup you have to assume at some point they are going to start producing, but as the season wears on and they continue to lose, that assumption is getting harder to make.
The big loss for LA was losing Corey Seager for the season last week. Seager needs surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. The Dodgers will sorely miss Seager’s bat in the lineup. In Seager’s first full two seasons in the majors, he has been an All-Star both season and has received MVP votes. He is a career .302 hitter and averaged twenty-four home runs a game the last two years. There is just no replacing that kind of production, and at some point, we are going to have to look at this team, and their bad record and downgrade them from division champ favorites to wild-card hopefuls.
There is one rumor swirling around that may save the season for the Dodgers, and that is that they are all in on a push for the Orioles Manny Machado. Machado is a top ten guy in the league and is one of the few guys available that could possibly fill the hole in the lineup that Seager leaves. But that isn’t going to help the Dodgers tonight against the league-leading Diamondbacks.
Patrick Corbin will make his seventh start of the season and is off to a great start. Corbin is 4-0 and has an ERA of just 2.25. He has given up two runs or less in five of his seven starts, and more importantly for Arizona, the DBacks are 6-1 in Corbin’s seven starts. Corbin is getting it done with an elite level of strikeouts. Corbin has fifty-five Ks in just forty innings this season. He is second in strikeouts per nine innings trailing only Max Scherzer, that is some pretty good company to be around.
The Dodgers will counter with Alex Wood on the mound. Wood had been a solid pitcher in his first couple of season in the big leagues, but he took a huge step up last year when he went 16-3 with an ERA of 2.72. After his slow start this year you have to wonder if last year’s Wood was the real Wood or was it the guy that had an ERA closer to four runs entering last season. Wood has struggled out of the gate and has yet to record a win for the reeling Dodgers.
After having a fantastic first start to the season, Wood has given up at least three runs in four of his last five starts and hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in any game. It will be interesting to see what Wood can do tonight against a hot DBacks team.
The Dodgers are eight games back of Arizona right now for the National League West Division title. I know there is a lot of baseball left to be played this year, but they are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole by the day. And now they are forced to play without their best position player in Corey Seager, I am beginning to think that this season is going to end in heartbreak for the Dodger faithful.
There is just no way I can pass up on backing Patrick Corbin right now. Not at home. Corbin is 4-0 with a 1.24 ERA at home with thirty-nine strikeouts in just twenty-eight innings of work. This guy is basically unhittable in Arizona. The Dodgers reputation has led many to believe this is a powerful offense, but the numbers don’t lie. Right now, the Dodgers are twenty-first in the bigs in batting average and eighteenth in on-base percentage. So, in actuality, this is probably one of the softer matchups that Corbin has had all year long. He pitched against them once already this season and threw seven and a third shutout innings and struck out twelve. If the season ended right now, Patrick Corbin wins the NL Cy Young, and I am ecstatic to be able to back him at such a reasonable number.
Give me the Arizona Diamondbacks at -133 today at home!