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NLDS Preview – Dodgers vs DBacks

The 2023 NLDS opponent for the Dodgers is a familiar foe; Arizona DBacks.  This will be the fourth consecutive year the Dodgers have drawn an NL West opponent in the NLDS.

  • 2020 – 3-0 over San Diego
  • 2021 – 3-2 over San Francisco
  • 2022 – 1-3 loss to San Diego
  • 2023 – ?

 

We all know that the LAD starting pitching has been thrashed from an injury standpoint this year (Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin).  In addition the one pickup in the offseason was an unmitigated disaster (Noah Syndergaard).  And one has found himself in a bunch of hot water with the criminal justice system (Julio Urías).  They have found themselves working with 3-4 rookies and a refugee from the CWS (Lance Lynn).

One of the rookies figures to start Game 2 of the NLDS, Bobby Miller.  Will Ryan Pepiot get the start in Game 3 or will Lance Lynn?  Will Emmet Sheehan follow Clayton Kershaw in Game 1.  Pepiot in Game 3?

Because Arizona did not need Merrill Kelly for the Wild Card Game 3, the DBacks are very fortunate that they can pitch Kelly in Game 1, Zac Gallen in Game 2, and if necessary games 4 and 5 respectively, all on full rest.

The Dodgers are not as fortunate as it is doubtful that Kershaw can come back for a Game 4, but Miller can for a Game 5…again if necessary.

We have not yet seen an NLDS roster submitted, so I will stick with the one I proposed earlier for the Dodgers.  The DBacks had a wild card roster of 14 position players and 12 pitchers.  Will they keep that same makeup?  With Kelly and Gallen expected to go deeper and perhaps start 4 of the 5 games, I think they could keep the same 14 position players and 12 pitchers.

Head to Head:

Catcher:

Arizona – Gabriel Moreno – .285/.340/.408/.747 – 380 PA, 341 AB, 7 HR, 50 RBI, 29 BB, 75 K, 39% CS, and 1 PB

 

Los Angeles – Will Smith – .261/.359/.438/.797 – 554 PA, 464 AB, 19 HR, 76 RBI, 63 BB, 89 K, 19% CS, and 2 PB

Gabriel Moreno is a prolific defensive catcher, but Will Smith has the better overall game, especially with his power.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

1B:

Arizona – Christian Walker – .258/.333/.497/.830 – 661 PA, 582 AB, 33 HR, 36 doubles, 103 RBI, 62 BB, 127 K

Los Angeles – Freddie Freeman – .331/.410/.567/.976 – 730 PA, 637 AB, 29 HR, 59 doubles, 102 RBI, 72 BB, 121 K

Walker is a threat against Clayton Kershaw, and is excellent defensively.  However, Freddie Freeman is the clearly a bigger threat offensively, and his defense is not far behind.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

2B:

Arizona – Ketel Marte – .276/.358/.485/.844 – 650 PA, 549 BA, 25 HR, 26 doubles, 82 RBI, 71 BB, 109 K

Los Angeles – Mookie Betts – .307/.408/.579/.987 – 693 PA, 584 AB, 39 HR, 40 doubles, 107 RBI, 96 BB, 107 K

Marte is an exceptional 2B for Arizona, but Mookie is probably going to be the runner-up in the NL MVP race.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

3B:

Arizona – Evan Longoria – .223/.295/.422/.717 – 237 PA, 211 AB, 11 HR, 9 doubles, 28 RBI, 23 BB, 73 K

Los Angeles – Max Muncy – .212/.333/.475/.808 – 579 PA, 482 AB, 36 HR, 17 doubles, 105 HR, 85 BB, 153 K

Longoria drew the starts for both Games 1 and 2 against Milwaukee.  Emmanuel Rivera also could start, and he has a better BA and OBP, but not the SLG or OPS.  Muncy is clearly more prolific offensively than either Longoria or Rivera.  His defense is questionable, but he is the better overall player.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

SS:

Arizona – Geraldo Perdomo – .246/.353/.359/.712 – 495 PA, 407 AB, 6 HR, 20 doubles, 47 RBI, 64 BB, 86 K

Los Angeles – Miguel Rojas – .236/.290/.322/.612 – 423 PA, 385 AB, 5 HR, 16 doubles, 31 RBI, 26 BB, 48 K

Miggy Ro’s key asset is his glove.  Perdomo is having a superior year all around.

Advantage – DBacks

 

LF:

Arizona – Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – .261/.309/.463/.772 – 592 PA, 551 AB, 24 HR, 35 doubles, 82 RBI, 33 BB, 103 K

Los Angeles – David Peralta – .259/.294/.381/.675 – 422 PA, 394 AB, 7 HR, 25 doubles, 55 RBI, 20 BB, 72 K

Advantage – DBacks

 

CF:

Arizona – Alek Thomas – .230/.273/.374/.647 – 402 PA, 374 AB, 9 HR, 17 doubles, 39 RBI, 19 BB, 86 K

Los Angeles – James Outman – .248/.353/.437/790 – 567 PA, 483 BA, 23 HR, 16 doubles, 70 RBI, 68 BB, 181 K

Thomas’ speed is his best attribute.  Outman is only slightly less speedy than Thomas and his defense is every bit as good.  Offensively there is no comparison.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

RF:

Arizona – Corbin Carroll – .285/.362/.506/.868 – 645 PA, 565 AB, 25 HR, 30 doubles, 76 RBI, 34 BB, 64 K, led NL in triples with 10, 54 SB

Los Angeles – Jason Heyward – .269/.340/.473/.813 – 377 PA, 334 AB, 15 HR, 23 doubles, 40 RBI

Heyward had a fantastic rebound year.  But Carroll should be the runaway NL ROY, and will get MVP votes.  Even as a rookie, Corbin Carroll is the face of the Arizona DBacks.

Advantage – DBacks

 

DH:

Arizona – Tommy Pham – .256/.328/.446/.774 – 481 PA, 426 AB, 16 HR, 27 doubles, 68 RBI, 18 BB, 50 K – Pham is slightly less prolific in his offensive metrics with Arizona than his overall numbers.

Los Angeles – JD Martinez – .271/.321/.572/.893 – 479 PA, 432 AB, 33 HR, 27 doubles, 103 RBI, 34 BB, 149 K

JDM also had a remarkable rebound season, and is clearly a superior hitter over Pham.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

Bench:

Arizona – Jose Herrera (Catcher), Jordan Lawler (INF), Jace Peterson (UTIL), Pavin Smith (INF/OF), either Longoria or Rivera (3B)

Los Angeles – Austin Barnes (Catcher), Chris Taylor (INF/OF), Kiké Hernández (INF/OF), Amed Rosario (2B/SS)

The Dodgers bench has a higher ceiling.  Kiké and CT3 have both come up big in Playoffs.

Advantage – Dodgers

 

Starting Pitching:

Arizona – Merrill Kelly, Zac Gallen, Brandon Pfaadt

Los Angeles – Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Lance Lynn

Neither Kelly nor Gallen have been anywhere close to successful against the Dodgers.

 

Kelly – Career against LAD – 16 starts, 83.2 IP – 0-11, 5.49 ERA, 1.697 WHIP, 69 K/37 BB (1.68 SO/W), 13 HR

 

Kelly Career at Dodger Stadium – 8 starts, 39.2 IP, 0-5, 7.03 ERA, 1.765 WHIP, 32 K/16 BB (2.00 SO/W), 8 HR

 

Kelly 2023 against LAD – 4 starts, 20.1 IP, 0-2, 3.98 ERA, 1.967 WHIP, 11 K/13 BB (0.85 SO/W), 0 HR

 

Kelly 2023 at Dodger Stadium – 2 starts, 8.2 IP, 0-1, 7.27 ERA, 2.539 WHIP, 5 K/7 BB (0.71 SO/W), 0 HR

 

Gallen – Career against LAD – 11 starts, 64.2 IP – 1-4, 3.48 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, 75 K/22 BB (3.41 SO/W), 7 HR

 

Gallen Career at Dodger Stadium – 6 starts, 35.2 IP, 0-4, 4.29 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 39 K/15 BB (2.60 SO/W), 4 HR

 

Gallen 2023 against LAD – 2 starts, 10.0 IP, 0-2, 9.90 ERA, 2.100 WHIP, 10 K/6 BB (1.67 SO/W), 4 HR – Both of Gallen’s starts were at Dodger Stadium

 

 

For the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, has 44 career starts against Arizona with a career ERA of 2.73 and a WHIP of 1.038 in 267 IP.  For 2023, Kershaw has 3 starts, 17.0 IP, 3.18 ERA and 1.118 WHIP.

Bobby Miller – 2 games started against Arizona.  12.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 1.417 WHIP.

While both Gallen and Kelly have both had excellent seasons, both Kershaw and Miller have been better against Arizona this year than Gallen and Kelly have been against the Dodgers.  On paper, Ryan Pepiot has been better than has Brandon Pfaadt.

I know everyone else is giving the DBacks the advantage due to Gallen and Kelly, but neither pitcher is deserving of being labeled a better pitcher in the playoffs.  I am going with…

Advantage – Dodgers

 

 

Relief Pitching:

The LAD bullpen has made the biggest jump on the roster, posting a 4.43 ERA in the first half and a 2.23 ERA since the All-Star break, the best in MLB.  For the season:

ERA – Dodgers 3.42 (#3 MLB), Arizona 4.22 (#18 MLB)

WHIP – Dodgers 1.17 (#1 MLB), Arizona 1.30 (#17 MLB)

BAA – Dodgers .225 (#4 MLB), Arizona .238 (#16 MLB)

Advantage – Dodgers

 

Biggest question going into the playoffs.  The word is that they will be unconventional with their roster, and that there will be good arms left off the roster.  Will they have enough pitching to win 11 games?

“I guess time will tell,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I think that it’s certainly doable. … But with that, it also comes with our offensive needs to put up some runs, too. So, I do feel that we’re going to have a lot of talented arms and how to deploy them. Is it enough? I mean, I’m expecting it to be enough.”

 The Dodgers should be clear favorites to win the NLDS.  I think their veteran leadership leads the Dodgers to a victory.  I think they should sweep, but I will go with LAD in 4.

 

 

MiLB News

Michael Busch has been named the PCL MVP for 2023.  Busch had one of the best offensive seasons in all the minor leagues this year. In 98 games, Busch hit .323 with 27 home runs and 97 RBIs.

Busch led the entire PCL in OPS (1.079). He finished second in average, fourth in home runs and third in on-base percentage.

Busch is the first Dodgers prospect to win the PCL MVP since Joc Pederson  (2014). Back then, the team’s minor league affiliate was the Albuquerque Isotopes. The last time a player won the award for an Oklahoma City-based Triple-A team was Nelson Cruz in 2008.  Busch is in good company.

Busch was also named 1st team DH in the overall MiLB awards, and Thayron Liranzo was named 2nd team Catcher in the same overall MiLB awards.  Not Rushing and not Cartaya.

 

 

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Oldbear48

Kelly and Gallen are good pitchers. The key factor in this series to me is playoff experience. The Dodgers, except for Miller, Sheehan, Grove, Outman and Pepiot, have none. The Diamondbacks have maybe four or five players with much playoff experience at all.

Last edited 6 months ago by Oldbear48
Oldbear48

Seen too much negativity expressed on several levels about this team. They are coming to win. Go Dodgers. NFL legend Dick Butkus has passed away. RIP

Oldbear48

can’t this team just get some respect???? Rodney Dangerfield

Badger

With so much time off this week, most has already been said.

Moreno is expected to play. That certainly helps Arizona. I won’t be surprised to see the dbacks stay close but I have LA winning this 3-1.

Busch. Vargas. One of them has to go, right?. Hard to know which one will be the better ML player but it kinda feels like it will be Busch. Trade the better prospect? Can he play third? Or would he replace Peralta? What about Deluca? Busch, Outman, Deluca in the outfield. Infield of Vargas, Lux, Betts, Freeman. Feduccia behind the plate. Smith DH. Buehler, Miller, Sheehan, Pepiot, Kershaw Grove. 6 man. Nah. That’s nuts. Or is it genius?

Bluto

Are we sure Peralta even makes the playoff roster?

Badger

Roberts likes him. For what that’s worth.

The numbers will be crunched and whatever the computers say the best matchups are, that is what AF will tell Roberts. I figure he’s going to want left handers to start against Kelly and Galen. Unless of course Taylor hits them better than Peralta. To be more precise, I have no idea who will make the roster. We should hear soon.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Fred Vogel

First of all, I am terrible at making predictions. When Jeff asked for predictions before the season, I had Atlanta v Toronto in the WS. A half-way bad prediction. But, to my defense, I did say “Don’t sleep on the D-Backs”. I think the Dodgers will win the series but it may not be as close as some think. Their overall speed will more than test Smith and Barnes, neither of whom I consider to be excellent receivers. Game One will be all-important. Going out on a limb: Dodgers in three or four or five.

Last edited 6 months ago by Fred Vogel
Badger

At the beginning of the season I had ….. I don’t remember. That was a long time ago. At the beginning of the playoffs I had Georgia vs Texas. I would like to see LA v Minnesota or Baltimore.

I forgot Ohtani. Put him at DH, only for a year and alternate Smith and whoever at catcher.

Bumsrap

The only prediction I remember making was for MVP so I will make a new one for the playoffs.

I predict Miller, Pepiot, and Sheehan and Grove will be instrumental in the Dodgers winning throughout the post season.

I think Kershaw will have his best post season of his career.

I like Martinez for the best post season bat.

Singing the Blue

Uh oh. Derek Hall, CEO of the D’backs, says that if we win the series, the Dodgers have the right to celebrate however and wherever they want, including the D’backs’ pool.

I’m generally not superstitious, but………………………………………

Badger

I wouldn’t get near that pool if I were them….

Yep, it’s time for Dodger baseball. A nice informative piece in the Times discussing what the Dodgers need to do to be successful. It says pretty much what I’ve been saying in here for the last week. Well, what me and everyone else have been saying. In summation, as Bobby said, if we outscore them we should be fine.

Bobby

That was just a guess. I’m still not sure.

God willing the next 4 weeks go our way

Oldbear48

Well, here we go again. It all starts tonight. Rosters will be announced today sometime before game time. I am betting Caleb Ferguson does not make it.

Fred Vogel

I hope you are right about Ferguson.

Singing the Blue

If Ferguson doesn’t make it, and he may very well not, that’s the front office telling him he’s being shipped somewhere this winter.

Singing the Blue

Roster is out.
13/13.
Vesia, Ferguson, Grove – yes
Yarbrough – no

Wong, yes.
Rosario, no.

Fred Vogel

Surprising.

Fred Vogel

I would have gone Yarbrough over Ferguson and Rosario over Wong.

Badger

Me too.

Sure hope we got that wrong.

Badger

Well crap.

Fred Vogel

Possibly Kershaw’s last game as a Dodger?

Badger

Very possible.

The offense looks rested.

SC getting pushed around early. Not much going on in here. Think I’ll record what’s left of both games and call it a night.

Jeff

The Choke is on. It is 10-0 as I write this. Disheartening would be an understatement seeing Kershaw melt way down to zero. I see no way back from this.Sure, the series continues but I don’t hold out much hope for the Bums. They’ve got nothing on the mound.

Scott Andes

This isn’t surprising. They don’t have any pitching. This is why I didn’t drink the kool aid this year. Not again. For the third year in a row, they have no pitching. How can you win a World Series with no pitching? Old injured Kershaw, Lance Lynn and a bunch of rookies. Starting pitching is the name of the game, and no amount of analytics or new school strategies can change this. This is why I don’t care for Andrew Friedman.

The Dodgers with the most money of any team in MLB couldn’t find any pitching, anywhere?

It’s probably time to make some franchise changes and build the roster around strong pitching. Sorry to anyone who drank the kool aid this year. Sometimes traditional strategies work.

Last edited 6 months ago by Scott Andes
Jeff

Scott,

You seem to be minimizing all the injuries to our pitching. We’ve had a tidal wave of woe. Maybe your blame should be aimed at the training staff and their preparation or lack thereof. In any case, we should see some kind of turnover next season. Back to back chokes cannot be tolerated.

Scott Andes

You’re not completely wrong, and I don’t disagree, but at what point do we hold Friedman at least somewhat accountable?

Doesn’t take a genius to see that guys like Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and other walking wounded are not reliable.

Stop relying on injury riddled pitchers.

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