Wednesday, July 17, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (69-63) at Los Angeles Dodgers (81-49)

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS NOTES:

HEATING UP: The D-backs have won 7 of their last 9 games. The D-backs 12-4 record (.750) since Aug. 12 is tied for the third-best record in the Majors with the Mariners and Braves behind the Dodgers (12-3, .800) and Brewers (11-3, .786).

FIVE STRAIGHT SERIES: The D-backs have won 5 consecutive series (2-1 vs. Padres, 2-1 @ Rockies, 3-1 @ Padres, 2-0 vs. Rangers, 3-1 vs. Reds).

ANSWER-BACKS: The D-backs’ 35 comeback wins are tied for fifth in the Majors with the Dodgers, behind the Reds (41), Orioles (40), Phillies (38) and Red Sox (36).

MORENO IMPACTING THE BALL: Gabriel Moreno, among all catchers (min. 80 G), ranks second with a .292 average (1st: Yainer Díaz/HOU/.326), third with a .347 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), eighth with a .335 OBP (1st: Sean Murphy/ATL/.393) and tied for 11th with 76 hits (Cal Raleigh/SEA; 1st: Elías Díaz/COL/101).
In his last 12 games, since August 13, is hitting .364 (16-for-44)/1.073 OPS with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 12 RBI and 2 walks. Among all players since August 13 (min. 40 PA), is tied for 10th in average (.364), 11th in SLG (.682) and 13th in OPS (1.073). In his last 7 games vs. NL West, is hitting .360 (9-for25)/1.160 OPS with 2 doubles, 3 homers and 10 RBI.

LOTS OF BASES FOR WALK: Christian Walker’s 63 extra-base hits are tied with Ronald Acuña Jr./ATL for fourth in the NL behind Freddie Freeman/LAD (76), Mookie Betts/LAD (72) and Matt Olson/ATL (70). In his last 8 road games, is hitting .367 (11-for30)/1.272 OPS with 1 double, 4 home runs, 11 RBI and 6 walks.

THOMAS DOING IT ON BOTH OFFENSE AND DEFFENSE: Alek Thomas, in his last 10 games, is hitting .355 (11-for31)/.444 OBP with 1 double, 8 runs, 3 RBI and 5 walks. In his last 8 games vs. NL West, is hitting .391 (9-for23)/.960 OPS. His 8 defensive runs saved this year are fourth most by a D-backs outfi elder since 2016 behind Daulton Varsho (19 in 2022) and Jarrod Dyson (15 in 2019 and 9 in 2018). Earned MLB’s Electric Play of the Week award with his diving catch on Aug. 22 vs. Rangers (in the top of the ninth inning on Marcus Semien’s line drive to the right-center gap, forcing Thomas to cover 98 feet of ground to make a diving catch on the warning track and take away extra bases).

MOUND SUCCESS: Since August 17, D-backs pitchers have the Majors’ sixth-lowest ERA (3.56), trailing the Orioles (2.54), Mariners (2.73), Marlins (3.27), Phillies (3.34) and Brewers (3.50).

STARTING PITCHER – RHP MERRILL KELLY ♦ #29
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In 5 starts in August, is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA (7 ER in 30.1 IP, 37 K), 37 strikeouts, 1.02 WHIP and .209 opponent average. In 11 road starts in 2023, is 7-1 with a 2.98 ERA (21 ER in 63.1.0 IP)… the D-backs are 8-3 in those contests. His 2.97 ERA is third-best among NL qualifiers behind Blake Snell/SD 2.60) and Justin Steele/CHC (2.80).

LAST START: Tossed 7.0 shutout innings (1 H, 0 BB, 12 K) and set a season high and tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts on Aug. 24 vs. Reds. Also recorded 12 strikeouts on May 20, 2021 @ Dodgers. Became the second pitcher in franchise history with 10+ strikeouts, 0 walks and 1 or fewer hits allowed, joining Randy Johnson in his 2004 perfect game [Source: ESPN Stats & Info].

VS. DODGERS: In 3 starts in 2023, is 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA (4 R-2 ER in 15.1 IP). In 15 career starts vs. Dodgers, is 0-10 with a 5.03 ERA (44 ER in 78.2 IP). Tossed 6.0 shutout innings on Aug. 9, 2023 vs. Dodgers (ND; 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K).

VS. NL WEST: Including tonight, will have faced NL West opponents in 4 of his 6 starts in August. His last 3 starts against the NL West have been on the road (Aug. 14 @ Rockies and Aug. 19 @ Padres), going 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA (5 ER in 17.1 IP).

TAKING CARE OF RISP-Y BUSINESS IN AUGUST : In 5 starts in August, is holding runners in scoring position to a .083 average (1-for-12) with 5 strikeouts.

VS. LEFT AND RIGHT: In his last 2 games, is limiting lefties to a .115 average (3-for-26, 12 K). Limiting lefties to a .197 average (49-for 249) with 74 strikeouts while righties are batting .230 average (56 for-244) with 72 strikeouts.

PITCH TRACKING: In his last 4 starts, opponents are 2-for-23 (.087) with 6 strikeouts on his four-seam fastball. Is holding hitters to a .167 average (2-for-12) with 3 strikeouts on his curveball in his last 7 starts.

FIRST TIME THRU: Limiting batters to a .194 average (36-for-186) with 18 walks and 55 strikeouts the fi rst time through the lineup.

AHEAD IN THE COUNT : Holding batters to a .160 average (32-for-200) with 84 strikeouts when he is ahead in the count.

IT’S UNDER CONTROL: Has walked 1 or fewer batters in 3 of his last 5 road starts.

LEAD OFF SUCCESS: When leading off an inning, holding batters to a .199 average (26-for131) with 37 strikeouts.

IL REPORT: Placed on the 15-day injured list (right calf infl ammation) on June 27…reinstated on July 25.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS NOTES:

SECOND HALF SURGE CONTINUES: The Dodgers downed the Diamondbacks, 7-4, in the first contest of their three-game series last night, improving to an impressive 30-13 in the first game of a series this season. The club kept pace with Atlanta and remains 4.0 games behind the Braves for the best record in baseball. The homestand (1-0) continues this evening at 7:10 p.m. as the Dodgers try to win their ninth consecutive series. Following tomorrow night’s series finale, Los Angeles will close out the homestand facing the aforementioned Atlanta Braves from Aug. 31-Sept. 3. The Dodgers hold a season high 13.0-game lead over Arizona in the National League West division. The Dodgers are 6-5 vs. Arizona this season, splitting the season-opening series at Dodger Stadium (2-2) and going 3-3 at Chase Field. Los Angeles last lost a season series to Arizona in 2018 (8-11). Los Angeles is now 24-12 (.667) vs. the NL West after the win last night. The first 40,000 ticketed fans tonight will receive a Chris Taylor bobblehead, presented by Spectrum. The Dodgers would also like to wish a very happy 33rd birthday to Taylor, who will be celebrating with his family at the park tonight as his dad, Chris Taylor Sr. is throwing the ceremonial first pitch. The Little League World Series champions from El Segundo will be on the field during batting practice this afternoon. The boys walked off Curacao on Sunday and get to celebrate with the Dodgers today.

POWER PLAYERS: The Dodgers earned their 35th comeback win of the season last night (T-3rd, NL), rallying from behind in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run homer by Jason Heyward and a back-to-back solo shot by rookie James Outman. Those longballs turned a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 advantage and the bullpen shut the door from there as the Boys in Blue improved to a Major League best 30-11 (.732) in the season’s second half. Freddie Freeman (24) and Max Muncy (31) also homered for the Dodgers, who made a winner out of rookie right-hander Bobby Miller (6.0 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 4 K). Miller’s eight victories are tied with Cincinnati’s Andrew Abbott for second in the NL among rookies, trailing only the Mets’ Kodai Senga (10).

DOMINATING THE DOG DAYS: The Dodgers yesterday improved to 22-4 in August with just three games left to play in the month. The Boys in Blue started the month with a 17-3 mark, tying a franchise record for most wins in the first 20 games of the month (also, July 2022, July 2017, August 2013, July 2004, April 1977, July 1963, July 1920, June 1900, June 1899). With their win last Friday, the Dodgers recorded their fourth straight season of 20+ wins in the month of August and became the 15th team in franchise history to reach the 20-win mark for the month. The Dodgers currently hold the best winning percentage in the month of August in franchise history: The best Dodger record in a calendar month (min. 20 games) is July, 2017, when the club went 20-3 (.870).

DOUBLES PARTY: Dodger first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-5 last night, belting his 24th homer of the season and first since August 6 at San Diego. He is slashing .401/.465/.671 with 18 doubles, seven homers and 24 RBI in his last 38 games since July 17. Freeman was the first player in Dodger history with at least 20 homers and 35 doubles before the end of July and he is third in the Majors in runs scored (109), trailing just Ronald Acuña Jr. (119) and teammate Mookie Betts (110). Freeman’s Major League best 50 doubles are a new Los Angeles Dodger record, surpassing Shawn Green’s 49 doubles in 2003. He also leads the Majors with 176 hits and is tied with Shohei Ohtani for the most extra-base hits with 76. His .340 average ranks second in the Majors. Freeman is two doubles shy from tying Johnny Frederick (1929) for most in Dodger franchise history. The Major League record for doubles in a season is 67, established by Earl Webb in 1931

TONIGHT’S STARTER vs. DIAMONDBACKS: LHP CLAYTON KERSHAW (11-4, 2.52 ERA in 19 GS)
2023 SEASON NOTES:

  • In his last start against the Guardians on August 23, he tossed 2.0 innings, giving up one hit, one run and one homer while striking out four before the game was delayed due to rain Over 19 starts, the Texas native owns a 11-4 record with a 2.52 ERA (30 ER/107.1 IP) with 115 strikeouts against 26 walks and has generated a 1.02 WHIP Notched his 200th career win in his start on April 18 against the Mets, making him the only Los Angeles Dodger to win 200 games with the same franchise…joins Don Sutton (233) and Don Drysdale (209) on the Dodger all-time list…one win away from tying Drysdale Currently 21st all-time on the Major League strikeout
    list with 2,922…he needs 78 more to become the 20th player in Major League history with 3,000 strikeouts Has fired 6.0+ strikeouts in 12 out of his 18 starts this
    season • He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April after posting a 5-1 record with a 1.89 ERA (8 ER/38.0 IP) and 41 strikeouts and a 0.76 WHIP

VS. DIAMONDBACKS:

  • Will face Arizona for the 44th time in his career…is 21- 12 with a 2.75 ERA (80 ER/262.0 IP) and 289 strikeouts against 67 walks Last faced the club on April 7, 2023, tossing 6.0 innings, giving up seven hits, four runs, two homers and two walks while punching out four in the loss
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