Tonight the Dodgers are starting their quest for the first title in Los Angeles since 1988. For that to happen, they need to get through the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round. Here are a few matchups to look out for this series.
In every series, there are a few match-ups that are big-time factors in the outcome of the series. These are the matchups that can make or break a series. Depending on the outcome of these battles, either the Dodgers or D-Backs will be one step closer to a World Series title.
The first of these critical matchups is one that may be overlooked. That matchup is between likely Game 2 starter Robbie Ray and veteran second baseman Logan Forsythe.
Most of the Dodgers struggled mightily to hit Ray this season. Most except Loggie Bear. In nine at-bats Forsythe tagged Ray for four hits, one of which was a home run.
With Ray being dominant against the majority of this lineup it will be imperative for Forsythe to have a big day against him. Forsythe matches up very well against any lefty and Ray is no exception.
Look for Logan to hit him very well. But if Logan does not, the Dodgers are going to have find this production from somewhere else.
The problem with that is how poorly everyone has hit him this year. Puig has a .077 AVG against Ray this year. Even a supposed lefty-masher in Kike Hernandez only has a .154 AVG. So Forsythe will be a big part of the lineup when the Dodgers go up against Robbie Ray.
On the pitching side of things, a matchup to watch is the battle of two newly acquired players. That would be power hitter J.D Martinez and power pitcher Yu Darvish. Towards the end of the regular season, Martinez became a deadlier force than Paul Goldschmidt.
The Dodgers saw this first hand when J.D tormented them hitting four bombs in Chavez Ravine. He has ridiculous power to all fields. Of all the starters Yu has handled Martinez the best.
In his career, Martinez has a .182 average against Darvish. Ideally, for the Darvish and the Dodgers, he is kept at bay by the repertoire of pitches Yu has in his arsenal.
Now let’s discuss the Game 3 starter for the snakes. Zack Greinke. He has not been very sharp as of late nor has he been good against the Dodgers. But the player that we will be looking to mash him is Corey Seager.
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The young shortstop has absolutely crushed the former Dodger Greinke. Seager is 6 for 11 against Zack with two jimmy johns. If that .545 AVG is not good enough for you, then just look at his on-base percentage. That is at an absurd .688 OBP because he has drawn five walks against Greinke who is known for pounding strikes.
Seager has gotten on base 11 out of 16 times against Greinke. Some players just have that one pitcher whom they see the ball the size of a watermelon. For Seager that pitcher is Greinke.
He works his at-bats against the veteran, and it is evident that he can see the ball very well when it is released. If Seager can continue this in the playoffs, the Dodgers will be in a perfect spot against the ace of the D-Backs staff.
The last matchup to discuss is Fernando Rodney vs. anyone. I say this simply because of how many Dodgers have had success against him. In particular, the three players who have had success against him are Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig. All three have been very good against him.
This is very important to the course of the game. If Rodney comes into pitch, it is likely because the Dodgers are behind late in the game. So the Dodgers will need to make something happen. The Dodgers and the three players I mentioned, in particular, have been very good against Rodney.
How LA hits Rodney will be critical to how this series ends up. They are a team that is never dead, and they have proven they could beat him.
If Seager, Turner or Puig come up, the Dodgers should be confident. This Rodney matchup is perhaps the most important because all other matchups could go wrong, but if they win this one, they could still win this game.
These matchups are ones to observe. Los Angeles should win these matchups. If they can maintain the success and win these battles, they will be one step closer to winning the ever elusive World Series title.