Arizona beat the Colorado Rockies at home on Wednesday night in a thrilling National League wild card game.
The Dodgers lost the season series against the Diamondbacks, 11 games to eight, including a pair of sweeps by Arizona in the final five weeks of the year.
In games started by Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Yu Darvish — the Dodgers’ starters for the first three NLDS games — against the D-backs in 2017, the Dodgers were 4-3, with that trio posting a 3.15 ERA in those games, allowing more than two runs just once.
After going with Zack Greinke in the wild card game, the prevailing thought was that Arizona would likely have left-hander Robbie Ray start Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. He was 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers this season, and his 53 strikeouts were the most in a season against the Dodgers since Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson in 1908.
But that was before Ray was brought in to pitch in relief in Wednesday’s game. He pitched 2⅓ innings and threw 34 pitches against Colorado, which could make Ray’s availability for Game 2 on Saturday (which would still line him up to start Game 5, if necessary, on full rest) questionable, at best.
Greinke threw 58 pitches on Wednesday, so it is very possible the Dodgers won’t face either of Arizona’s top two starting pitchers until Game 3.
Ray is the only pitcher ever with four double-digit strikeout games against the Dodgers in a single year.
“We really haven’t cracked the code on Robbie Ray,” manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday. “If we do see him, we’ll have our hands full. It’s just a matter of having the right plan, and when he does make mistakes, we’ve got to be able to capitalize on it.”
When the Dodgers next get the chance to crack that code is anybody’s guess.
The NLDS starts on Friday night with a 7:31 p.m. PT start in Game 1. The series will be televised by TBS, with Brian Anderson calling play-by-play alongside analysts Dennis Eckersley and Joe Simpson, plus reporter Lauren Shehadi.
Dodgers-Diamondbacks NLDS schedule
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 6 at Dodger Stadium, 7:31 p.m. PT (TBS)
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 7 at Dodger Stadium, 6:08 p.m. (TBS)
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 9 at Chase Field, TBD (TBS)
Game 4*: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Chase Field, TBD (TBS)
Game 5*: Thursday, Oct. 12 at Dodger Stadium, TBD (TBS)