Dodgers vs Diamondbacks – NLDS Pick for October 9th
The Arizona Diamondbacks are facing elimination for the second time in a week. After toppling the Colorado Rockies in last Wednesday’s Wild Card Game, the D’Backs return to Chase Field on Monday night to take on the L.A. Dodgers, who have a 2-0 lead in this best-of-five series.
Fortunately for Arizona, they’ll have their ace on the hill in the form of Zack Greinke. Greinke struggled in the Wild Card Game (4 ER in 3.2 innings), but he’s put together a strong campaign overall. The veteran right-hander posted a 17-7 regular season record along with a 3.20 ERA in his 32 starts.
Greinke’s strikeouts were way up (26.8% this season, 20.1% last season), and he also saw an uptick in ground balls. While Chase Field is known as a hitter’s paradise, Greinke actually pitched far better in his home yard this season. The 33-year-old had a 13-1 record with a 2.87 ERA at home compared to a 4-6 mark and a 3.65 mark on the road.
The Dodgers are familiar with his work. Greinke pitched four times against L.A. during the regular season and went 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA. That marks a dramatic improvement over last season when he was blown up against his former club. In three starts against the Dodgers in 2016, Greinke went 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA.
L.A. is going to counter with the guy that was essentially brought in to serve as Greinke’s replacement. He even wears Greinke’s old No. 21 jersey. Yu Darvish was acquired from the Texas Rangers right before the trade deadline in late July, and he’s been a mixed bag since moving to the National League.
That said, his numbers have generally improved since joining the Dodgers. After going 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA with Texas, Darvish went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts with L.A. He was dominant in his first two outings – one of which came in Arizona against these Diamondbacks – before getting knocked around a bit in three straight starts.
However, he turned it back on toward the end of the regular season. In his last three outings against the Giants, Phillies and Padres, Darvish threw 19.1 innings and allowed just one earned run. He also struck out 22. Those are three bad teams, but it’s still a positive sign given the uncertainty surrounding his prior form.
This game is essentially a pick’em. Bovada has the Dodgers listed as slight favorites at -112 on the moneyline, with the D’Backs checking in at -108. The total of nine runs is low for a game in this ballpark, but it also makes sense given the quality of the starting pitchers in this one.
The Diamondbacks are going to have to get to Darvish early to really have a chance in this one. The deeper they get into that Dodger bullpen, the worse their chances of doing much damage become. We think Greinke will rebound after his aforementioned jittery Wild Card outing, and he’ll limit what has been a hot Dodgers offense through the first two games.