The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently preparing for the winner of the National League Wild Card game that takes place Wednesday evening.
Arizona will apparently start Robbie Ray for Game 1 at Dodger Stadium, but Bud Black’s decision to go with German Marquez or Tyler Chatwood is still up in the air. However, it’s clear that Dave Roberts will call on Clayton Kershaw’s services, regardless of the opponent. Of course, that’s the obvious choice, but there are some things to emphasize before he takes the mound Friday night.
Both teams finished the season with an incredible sense of urgency, and gained more internal confidence within there respected clubhouses while the Boys in Blue went through that tumultuous slump throughout the August-September time period. During the post All-Star Break, the Dodgers went 2-7 against Arizona and 2-5 against Colorado. Momentum is an important trait for baseball teams, and numbers never lie either-unfortunately.
Let’s start with Kershaw’s statistics against Arizona. The NL Cy Young Award candidate is actually 2-0 against the Diamondbacks in 2017 (missed the road matchup in August due to a lower back strain), and fared well his appearances.
The Dodgers certainly like their chances to win in Game 1 because of Kershaw’s ability to take advantage of certain matchups against the Diamondbacks batting order.
Those numbers seem pleasing, but there are still factors to be wary of. There’s an asterisk, and no stats for J.D. Martinez featured in the table above.
Martinez was a huge pickup from Detroit, and changed the dynamic of the Diamondback offense. Arizona is averaging 5.20 runs per game, and have scored 10 or more runs in 9 games since inserting Martinez into the lineup. Kershaw is brilliant, but if the Dodgers want to win Game 1, then they need to make sure J.D. Martinez doesn’t go yard in Dodger Stadium like he did in August if they want to start strong in first round of the NLDS.
Colorado’s an interesting team because they finished the season with a 12-15 record down the stretch, but they’re entire batting order can get hot at any time during games. The Rockies offense contributes by committee, but they’re lead by National League MVP candidates Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. Kershaw started five games (2-2) against Colorado in 2017, and here are his results against this loaded batting order:
It’ll be important to pay attention to these numbers prior to Game 1 if Colorado wins the NL Wild Card game. These statistics portray the Rockies image and style of play very well, so much, that it depicts what the game plan will simulate against Kershaw. They’ll want to hit home runs at Dodger Stadium, especially at night, but the goal is to grind out at-bats against Kershaw.
Arenado and Blackmon are lethal hitters and ultimate competitors, but the key factor will be if other batters (Gonzalez, Story, Lucroy and LeMahieu) can either hit extra base hits or simply get on base. All these opposing batters will do whatever it takes to squeak out of Game 1 with a victory, permitting they make it past the elimination round first.
Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers defense will definitely be tested by either opponent, but it’ll only be a taste of what’s yet to come in another difficult postseason run. Nevertheless, the Dodgers will be ready for whoever tries to stand between them and a chance to make history in Blue October.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/mlb-network-releases-video-on-dodgers-season-and-journey/2017/10/03/”]MLB Network Releases Video On Dodgers’ Season And Journey[/button]