Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 7, 2017 at 12:00 PM
The National League playoff brackets aren’t exactly set in stone yet. But, it’s very clear that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be a #1 seed and a strong favorite to win the pennant. They could well be playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round, given the likelihood of Arizona and Colorado meeting in the Wildcard play-in game.
Tuesday night, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks begin a three-game series in the desert. This will definitely have a playoff feel to it. This has become a nice rivalry (even when Arizona is sub-par) in recent seasons. You know the stadium will be buzzing on every pitch with so much at stake. Note that Arizona has to keep winning because they’d like home field advantage in the play-in game (and because the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central may hang around the fringes of the Wildcard picture for awhile longer). We’d seen a lot of intense matchups in baseball the past few weeks. This might be the best one yet.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this high profile potential playoff preview.
LA Dodgers: +204 runs, while playing 60 home games and 51 road games
Arizona: +114 runs, while playing 54 home games and 57 road games
Wow, PLUS 200 RUNS and there’s still so much left in the season. Arizona’s run differential is excellent too…but the Dodgers are just one a whole different level than the rest of the sport at the moment. Though, the home/road differential shows that there is some air in LAD’s number. It’s not like they’re about to lose nine road games in a row! They’ve certainly had one of the most amazing three-month stretches in the sport’s history…and it’s still going strong. A true shame that Arizona or Colorado will miss the main brackets given that either would have dominated the NL Central this season.
LA Dodgers: 5.1 runs-per-game, .343 on-base, .455 slugging
Arizona: 5.0 runs-per-game, .330 on-base, .441 slugging
That’s a bit misleading, because Arizona plays its home games in a great hitter’s park, while Chavez Ravine generally favors pitchers. Arizona’s numbers on the road are a much less impressive 4.3 runs-per-game, .308 on-base, and.392 slugging. On a neutral field, LAD’s offense is much better. In a hitter’s park like this…Arizona rises to 5.0 runs while the Dodgers might rise to 5.7 or more. LAD is much better than everyone else in 2017 because they have a great offense, a great starting pitching rotation, and a great bullpen. The complete package. Arizona’s offense is sub-par once you adjust for the extreme impacts of its home ballpark.
Maeda: 3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 8.5 K’s per 9 innings
Godley: 2.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.2 K’s per 9 innings
You’re about to see that Arizona has a great rotation. The offense is getting too much credit for their stellar record. The rotation is posting great numbers despite pitching home games in a hitter’s park! Godley gets the nod here over Maeda. Though, Maeda has settled down from earlier shakiness. Good matchup for the hosts to end LAD’s win streak.
Wood: 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.7 K’s per 9 innings
Greinke: 3.10 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9.9 K’s per 9 innings
Wow…Greinke’s having a Cy Young caliber season when you adjust for the park. But, Wood is just as good in WHIP and K-rate while posting an ERA that’s hard to believe in a “juiced ball” season. We won’t get to see Greinke/Kershaw because the Dodgers’ ace is still out with back trouble. This will feel the same way. Think about the Under, even in this park. Tough pitchers to make contact against no matter how good your bats are.
Darvish: 3.81 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 9.9 K’s per 9 innings
Walker: 3.60 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.4 K’s per 9 innings
Walker’s been a very pleasant surprise for Arizona this season. Darvish is likely to pitch much better than that ERA moving forward because he just switched to the inferior league…because he just left a great hitter’s park in Arlington, and because he’s no longer tipping his pitches to hitters! If you believe that frontline pitching becomes even more important in the postseason, then you can see why Arizona has a chance to truly match up with the Dodgers in a playoff showdown. This full series will give us a taste of what October might look like, even without Kershaw’s availability.
JIM HURLEY will likely have at least one play in this series, and will obviously be scouting it with the playoffs in mind. Even though football is about to dominate the sports betting schedule, JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK will find BIG, JUICY WINNERS in any sport whenever they hit the board!
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We’ll be back in the NOTEBOOK Wednesday to talk more about handicapping the NFL Preseason. Nobody’s done that better over the last 30 years than PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!