Unfortunately, there’s no record of this. But our baseball staff at The Comeback originally intended to post some bold predictions before the MLB postseason began. I don’t know what my colleagues had in mind, but my slice of boldness was that the Arizona Diamondbacks would upset the Los Angeles Dodgers in their divisional series.
My reasoning was that Arizona went 11-8 versus the Dodgers during the regular season, scoring 99 runs against that vaunted pitching staff. Only two other teams allowed more runs facing the Diamondbacks this season. The D-Backs particularly seemed to have the Dodgers’ number late in the season, tagging Los Angeles with six of the losses they suffered during the surprising stretch during which they lost 16 of 17 games. Arizona overpowered the Dodgers in those six games by a combined score of 40-13.
So why couldn’t the D-Backs continue that success in the postseason? This could be a bad matchup for the Dodgers, putting them up against the one team that they probably didn’t want to face in the divisional series round. Arizona, led by the big bats of Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez, wouldn’t be afraid of the Dodgers.
Yeah, not so much. The Dodgers have a 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five divisional round following an 8-5 win over Arizona Saturday night. The D-Backs jumped out to an early lead with Paul Goldschmidt hitting a two-run homer off Rich Hill in the first inning. It was a nice bounce-back for Arizona’s star after going 0-for-4 in Game 1.
Robbie Ray was all over the place in that second inning. pic.twitter.com/f9BOT5QXw9
— Joshua Thornton (@JoshuaThornton_) October 8, 2017
But D-Backs starter Robbie Ray couldn’t hold that lead very long, largely because he couldn’t throw strikes. The left-hander walked three of the first seven Dodgers hitters he faced and a wild pitch led to Yasiel Puig driving in Los Angeles’ first run.
Ray escaped trouble in the third inning, despite continuing with his control issues. But those mistakes finally caught up with him in the fourth. Three consecutive hits followed by a wild pitch tied the score at 2-2, and Chris Taylor gave the Dodgers the lead for good with a RBI single.
For the second straight game, the D-Backs’ bullpen prevented any chance of stealing a game at Dodger Stadium before the series goes back to Arizona. Jimmy Sherfy took over for Ray in the fifth and gave up hits to the first four batters he faced (along with two stolen bases), resulting in four more runs scoring and the Dodgers effectively putting the game away.
Yasiel Puig continues to crush it in the postseason. pic.twitter.com/tI7nB2IaZj
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 8, 2017
Both the stars and role players have made an impact for the Dodgers in the first two games of this series. In Game 1, Justin Turner was the hero, going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBI. Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig each drove in two runs as well. But in Game 2, the Dodgers’ superior depth won out. Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes had the key hits in that pivotal fifth inning, and Puig followed up to drive in two more runs.
Is the embattled Cuban outfielder the best player for the Dodgers so far? He’s hitting 5-for-9 with four RBI thus far in the NLDS, penciled in the middle of the lineup and low in the batting order. Few teams can put a hitter of Puig’s caliber in the No. 8 spot, showing just how deep this Dodgers roster is.
The D-Backs could be encouraged by how they’ve handled the Dodgers’ starting pitching in the first two games. Clayton Kershaw was hardly dominant in Game 1 in what looked like a clear advantage for Los Angeles to begin this series. With the series going to Chase Field, Arizona might relish returning to their hitter-friendly home environment. Yu Darvish starting for the Dodgers presents a tough matchup, but the D-Backs are countering with Zack Greinke.
With the D-Backs facing elimination, Monday’s Game 3 is obviously extremely important. But if Arizona can pull out a win, this might become a new series, even if the D-Backs have no margin for error. It’s definitely worth staying up late to watch.