Dodgers DBacks Game 1 Preview
By Alex Campos
After an off day to celebrate the first day of football season, the Dodgers return to action in Arizona and send Alex Wood to the hill to open up their three-game series.
The Dodgers are 13-3 in their last 16 games since Clayton Kershaw called for some urgency, with sweeps of Cincinnati and SF and series victories against the Angels and the Padres. They dropped their last game on Wednesday in Anaheim, which was kind of expected with a random Joe Wieland start against the Angels’ ace, Garrett Richards. It was only painful because the Dodgers had a chance to steal it late but the bullpen decided it was going to be bad that night.
Aug 27, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt against the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Wood has been pretty good as a Dodger and has looked great his last few times out. He gave up two runs in six innings against the Cubs two starts ago and shut the Padres out for seven innings in his last outing. He faced the Diamondbacks earlier this season as a Brave, and allowed seven hits and a run in eight innings, his longest outing of the season by innings and pitches (113).
In what should not surprise anyone, Paul Goldschmidt has had success in limited appearances against Wood in the past. He’s 3-6 with a homer in the past, so Wood should fit right in with the rest of the Dodger pitching. In 299 career plate appearances against the Dodgers, Goldy has a .336/.397/.593 slashline (which honestly is worse than I assumed it would be).
A.J. Pollock is also emerging as a star in Arizona. The 27-year-old center fielder owns a .314/.364/.490 slashline this season and with his good defense, has already contributed a 5.4 WAR this season.
Robbie Ray gets the start for Arizona and he’s been solid this season. Ray has a 3.72 ERA (3.47 FIP) in 18 starts since being acquired from Detroit in a three-team trade last offseason. He’s only had one scoreless outing in his last 14 starts after posting two in his first four, and he’s already faced the Dodgers twice this season. At Dodger Stadium, Ray allowed two runs and four hits in six 2/3 innings, but in Arizona the Dodgers scored four runs in six innings. Ray got the losses in both games.
This could be a big series for Adrian Gonzalez, who has been struggling of late. He posted his worst slashline of the season in August and is 5-31 in September. In 297 career plate appearances in Arizona, AGon has a .332/.411/.625 slashline, so despite a lefty being on the hill tonight this could be a big series to get Gonzalez back on track.
Lefty lineups are always really interesting. I joked about Justin Ruggiano, leadoff hitter and Scott Schebler, leadoff hitter in my last two game previews. They both hit home runs to lead off the last two games, so I’m gonna continue to do that. Ladies and gentlemen, Justin Ruggiano, leadoff hitter.
Jose Peraza is back in the lineup after missing some time with a hamstring. His speed could play really well in the postseason, and while most are clamoring for Corey Seager to make the playoff roster, I think Peraza could be just as vital, if not moreso.
Seager is still in the lineup, which means that Jimmy Rollins is still out for now. He’s been out for a week and today was supposed to be a potential return date, so hopefully there wasn’t any sort of setback.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PST and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.