The Arizona Diamondbacks fended off a pesky Colorado Rockies squad with an 11-8 victory in the National League wild-card game on Wednesday to advance to their first NL Division Series since 2011. The victory sets up a showdown with Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
While most teams wold presumably be concerned with having to square off against the juggernaut Dodgers, who won an MLB-best 104 games in the regular season, the series may be a blessing in disguise for the Snakes and an absolute nightmare for L.A.
Here’s why the Dodgers should be concerned about their upcoming series with the Diamondbacks:
D-Backs had their number
Despite putting together the worst 25-game stretch since the team moved from Brooklyn to L.A. between August and September, the Dodgers were still a juggernaut during the regular season, losing just 58 games. Eleven of those losses, however, came against the Diamondbacks who’ve won the last six meetings between the two clubs and have outscored L.A. 99-71 during the season series. The Dodgers also couldn’t fashion a winning record at home versus Arizona, going 5-5, and were just 3-6 against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
A troubling bullpen
With bullpens thriving as starters struggled during Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s wild-card games, you’d think the Dodgers would be in good shape to continue the trend thanks to their NL-best bullpen. Too bad L.A.’s ‘pen was downright terrible against the Diamondbacks this season.
With the exception of Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ relief corps had no idea how to contain Arizona’s powerful offense, which could be a major talking point if the Diamondbacks can somehow force starters Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Yu Darvish out of the first three games of the series.
J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt
OK. Martinez and Goldschmidt would be a worrisome pair for any playoff team to have to contend with, but L.A. should be shaking in its cleats because this dynamic duo straight-up mashes against the Dodgers. While Goldschmidt’s .959 OPS and 13 RBIs during his career against his NLDS opponent may seem like an impressive mark, Martinez outdid his teammate against the Dodgers. The hot-hitting slugger had 10 hits against the NL’s best team in five career games, with five of them being home runs. He’s slugged a ridiculous .824 against the Dodgers and what’s even more frightening is he knows how to hit Kershaw, posting a 1.319 OPS against the ace in 10 career plate appearances. The pair are a terrible sign for your future, Dodgers.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)