Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers have been running roughshod over the National League the past several weeks. We used to say that about the Colorado Rockies too, until the Rockies ran into these two! Clearly the two best teams “right now” in the Senior Circuit will square off in Chavez Ravine Tuesday night through Thursday night for a three-game set.
Sorry Washington Nationals fans…you haven’t been playing as well as the D-backs of late. And, NOBODY’S been playing as well as the Dodgers!
This series was already going to be a big attraction. But, the Dodgers’ creative use of their rotation has aligned Kershaw and Wood to go in this series. Zack Greinke of the D-backs will be in the mix too. This is definitely going to feel like a playoff series because both teams are feeling their oats and bringing their best arms.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this matchup…
Arizona: +110 runs, while playing 45 home games and 38 road games
LA Dodgers: +153 runs, while playing 44 home games and 40 road games
Yes, BOTH teams are better than +100 in run differential, with the Dodgers positioned to skate past +200 down the road unless they take their foot off the gas. Obviously each has been helped by home friendly schedules. That currently affects Arizona more but will flip by the time this series has completed. Great stuff from both. No pretenders here.
Arizona: 5.2 runs-per-game, .332 on-base, .450 slugging
LA Dodgers: 5.2 runs-per-game, .343 on-base, .447 slugging
Another situation where a great hitters’ park is creating illusions about a prominent team. Those full season numbers look pretty equal. But, the desert has been a hitting paradise this season (as usual). So much so that the franchise is talking about storing balls in a humidor the way Colorado does. If you only look at Arizona on the road, their runs-per-game drops to a disappointing 4.2 runs-per-game, with anemic on-base and slugging numbers of .307 and .390. Arizona is winning this year because of great PITCHING, with the ballpark creating illusions about their offense (a more extreme version of Texas).
Let’s run through the All-Stars who will be on the mound, as we run through the probable pitchers…
Corbin: 4.76 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 7.7 K’s per 9 innings
Kershaw: 2.32 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.4 K’s per 9 innings
Huge advantage for Kershaw, in a game that Arizona may mentally punt because Corbin is so overmatched. We’re not saying the D-backs will tank. But, if you’re hoping to take two of three in the series, it’s the two after this that offer the best chance. Kershaw has been home run prone this season…so maybe the D-backs will try to go deep early to give themselves a shot.
Godley: 2.67 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 8.3 K’s per 9 innings
Wood: 1.83 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.6 K’s per 9 innings
We talked about Godley in the Colorado series awhile back. He’s one of the big unreported stories of the season. Great stats so far, though the low K-rate is a concern (lower than the usual “ace caliber” threshold). Wood increased his velocity and movement this season, and has given the Dodgers rotation “a second Kershaw.” We’ll see a low Vegas total, but it might not be low enough.
Greinke: 3.05 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 10.2 K’s per 9 innings
Hill: 4.00 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 10.2 K’s per 9 innings
Greinke has a mindset that can get flustered in high pressure situations. Returning to Los Angeles in a big series will certainly offer that. But, he has a clear edge over Hill, and offers the D-backs their best mathematical shot to get a win in the series. Too bad for fans that he didn’t line up against Kershaw or Wood. Best for the D-backs that he didn’t!
This is going to be some series. We thought that when Colorado played both, but the Rockies crumbled under the pressure (and also got swept by the lowly San Francisco Giants!). Right now…you can’t get a better National League series than this. And, only involving Houston could somehow make it a better Major League series.
July Fourth fireworks INDEED!
JIM HURLEY will be considering this matchup very carefully both for winning opportunities now, and potential impact down the road when they meet again. It’s never too early to think about the pennant races and the postseason.
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We hope you have a great Fourth of July celebration that gets even better with BIG, LOUD WINNERS! Back with you later this week to preview what’s shaping up as a very interesting Interleague series between the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers and the dangerous but inconsistent New York Yankees. THE WINNING NEVER STOPS at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!