Dodgers: Ignore the hype, the Diamondbacks are very beatable

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 31: A.J. Pollock (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 31: A.J. Pollock (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

The table is set: the Los Angeles Dodgers will square off against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. Arizona has been presented as the biggest challenge to the Dodgers.

The 104-58 Los Angeles Dodgers will be facing the 93-69 Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2017 NLDS. Arizona finished 11 games behind the Dodgers; even after the team had an 11-game meltdown. Los Angeles has dominated all throughout the year, yet for some reason, they are widely ignored in World Series talks.

USA Today has only two of their six staff members pick Los Angeles to make it out of the NLDS, both of which predicted the Rockies to win the Wild Card Game. ESPN only had three of 30 staff members pick the Dodgers to win the World Series. While the team doesn’t deserve VIP treatment, they were the best team in baseball for a reason.

There is one underlying stat that has caused many to lean towards the Diamondbacks. That stat? That the Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers in the season series 11 games to eight. While they did win the majority of the games in the regular season, that stat is immensely misleading.

Six of those 11 wins came when the Dodgers were at their lowest and the Diamondbacks were at their highest. In fact, the Dodgers have actually been the better team since their losing streak ended. Los Angeles finished the season 12-6, the Diamondbacks finished 10-8.

Outside of that six-game stretch that haunted the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks were just 5-8 against the Dodgers. Four of those wins came in the month of April, before Cody Bellinger, when the Dodgers went just 10-12. The rest of the season in between, the Dodgers were 7-1 against Arizona.

Everyone loves to talk about the 28 run differential that the Diamondbacks put up. However, 27 of those runs came during that terrible losing streak. Outside of that, the Diamondbacks outscored the Dodgers by one run, which can be pinpointed to the nine-run eighth inning that the Diamondbacks had in April.

The season record game is looking through a funnel, it is not looking at the whole picture of the season. In fact, in those six games against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers had Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill pitch. Two of those are not in the starting rotation in the NLDS. Hill, well, he threw six innings only allowing two runs against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

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As for the trio of Kershaw, Wood and Darvish, they have a 6-0 record with a 1.96 ERA against the Diamondbacks. The only reason it is that high is because of Darvish’s start, in which he allowed two runs in five innings.

Kershaw has a 0.57 ERA against the Diamondbacks in 15.1 innings pitched while Wood has a 2.57 ERA against Arizona in 21.0 innings pitched. For Diamondback fans, who are pointing at the season record, this has to be an eye-opener.

Plus, the DIamondbacks had both Zack Greinke and Robby Ray pitch in the Wild Card, moving Ray back to at the earliest game two and Greinke game three. With Kershaw on the mound, the Dodgers’ bats need to capitalize in game one and ride the momentum. Even with a game two loss, Los Angeles’ pitching has the ability to lock Arizona down in game three and four.

If it does reach game five, the Dodgers again have Kershaw on the mound, at home. His playoff demons may still be a question, but against the Diamondbacks in Dodger Stadium, he allowed just one run in those 15.1 innings pitched.

Next: Dodgers five worst NLDS moments

The Diamondbacks may be a very scary team on the surface, but for Los Angeles, all the cards are aligned in their favor.