Los Angeles Dodgers versus Arizona Diamondbacks (August 31)
The top two teams in the NL West battle in the weekend series. Clayton Kershaw Is scheduled to get the start for the Dodgers and Robbie Ray will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks.
Offensively, the Dodgers have hit 232 home runs and are averaging 5.5 runs per game. However, they have been struggling lately, having scored an average of just 3.7 runs over the last nine games.
Cody Bellinger leads the way with 42 home runs, 100 RBI and a .308 batting average. Max Muncy has added 33 home runs to form a potent power duo.
Joc Pederson and Justin Turner will likely also surpass the 30- home run mark this season as well.
The Diamondbacks have been very consistent at the plate and one of the higher scoring teams, having hit 193 home runs and scoring 5.2 runs per game.
They are averaging over six during their four-game winning streak including 11 in the first game in the series against the Dodgers.
Eduardo Escobar is the top threat with 30 home runs, while Katel Marte has 28 home runs and a .322 batting average.
Add in Christian Walker’s 23 home runs, Carson Kelly’s 18 and Nick Ahmed’s 17 and the Diamondbacks have a well-balanced attack.
On the mound, Clayton Kershaw has been difficult to score against, posting a 2.76 ERA in 150 innings. He’s struck out 159 while walking only 30, having allowed a relatively modest 21 home runs.
Should the Diamondbacks find a way to get to the Dodgers’ bullpen, they could be successful.
Frequently used relievers Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia and Joe Kelly have a combined 3.91 ERA.
Closer Kenley Jansen has 27 saves but hasn’t been automatic. As a team the Dodgers are allowing a stingy 3.9 runs per game this season.
Robbie Ray has been solid, albeit not spectacular. He’s 11-7 with a 3.86 ERA and although he has struck out 193 in 147 innings, has also been taken deep 23 times.
The bullpen has had mixed results. Archie Bradley and Matt Andriese have a combined 4.56 ERA in 116 1/3.
However Yoan Lopez has been very consistent, posting an ERA of 29.1 in 52 2/3 innings.
Closer Greg Holland has 17 saves but has been hit around at times. As a team the Diamondbacks are allowing 4.7 runs per game.
This has all the makings of a lower scoring game. Although both pitchers can be hurt by the long ball, the Dodgers have been scuffling offensively.
The Diamondbacks are a game under .500 at home and Kershaw is always tough to score against.
I see the Dodgers having just enough firepower to get by in this one in a relatively low, 5-3 final.