Dodgers: Previewing Game 163 for the NL West Title
The Dodgers and Rockies finished 162 games and that was not enough to determine a winner of the NL West. Today the Dodgers will host the Rockies as they look to win their sixth straight NL West division title.
The Dodgers and Rockies are both coming into game 163 off double digit victories. The Dodgers completed a three game sweep of the Giants and the Rockies won two of three against the Nationals. The winner of today’s game will host the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS starting on Thursday. The loser will play tomorrow against the loser of the Brewers-Cubs tiebreaker game in an elimination game.
Although much has been made about the Rockies recent hot streak, it’s worth noting that they have been playing non-contending teams. The Rockies offense went off for double digits several times this week but those games were against subpar pitching.
When Stephen Strasburg pitched Saturday, he held the Rockies to two runs. When Jake Arrieta pitched on Thursday, the Rockies offense managed just three runs. The Rockies won the games they should have which is good for them but the Dodgers are the best team the Rockies have played in a while.
For the Dodgers, they will send Walker Buehler to the mound and with no disrespect to Clayton Kershaw, Buehler has been the Dodgers best pitcher this season. Buehler has posted a 2.76 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in his first full big league season.
Walker Buehler has been lights out for the Dodgers lately posting a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts. Buehler has never pitched in a playoff game so this is as close as it can get without technically being a playoff game. Buehler last started against the Rockies on September 19th and Buehler allowed just two unearned runs in six innings while striking out a career-high twelve batters.
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The Rockies will also be sending out a pitcher on a hot streak. German Marquez has posted a 2.25 ERA in his last three starts. Marquez does not have any playoff experience either so this will be his first taste of a playoff type atmosphere. Marquez last faced the Dodgers all the way back on June 30th when he allowed just two hits and one earned run in eight innings.
Hitters to Watch
Joc Pederson – 3-10 with two home runs against Marquez
Cody Bellinger – 1-15 against Marquez which is a .067 batting average.
Charlie Blackmon – .267 batting average against Buehler with one home run and three RBI’s.
Nolan Arenado – 3-10 against Buehler but no home runs or runs batted in.
The Dodgers win their sixth straight NL West division title by hanging on to beat the Rockies 4-3. Both starters pitch well but the difference is a tie-breaking solo home run by Max Muncy in the seventh inning.