LOS ANGELES — As the Dodgers prepare for their NLDS with the Diamondbacks, much of the focus on the matchup has been centered on Arizona winning the last six games between the two teams.
The Diamondbacks won 11 of 19 games against the Dodgers in 2017, one of only two teams with a winning record against Los Angeles this season (the Rockies were 10-9). Arizona outscored the Dodgers 99-71 in those 19 games, including a whopping 41-13 in those last six wins, which came in a nine-day span from Aug. 29 to Sept. 6.
“This is a new season,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re going to start fresh. The record doesn’t matter. The head-to-head doesn’t matter. It’s who is better in that five-game series.”
That said, here are a few things that were worrisome about the Dodgers’ matchup against the Diamondbacks this season.
The Dodgers had a pretty good bullpen in 2017, all things considered. They ranked fourth in the majors in ERA (3.38) and FIP (3.55), were third in strikeouts (637) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.48), and strikeout rate (27.7%).
But against the Diamondbacks, Dodgers relievers had a 6.44 ERA and 5.05 FIP and allowed 13 home runs in 67⅓ innings.
Against Arizona in 2017, Dodgers starters allowed 50 runs in 101⅔ innings and the bullpen allowed 49 runs in their 67⅓ innings. The Dodgers bullpen allowed 22.1% of their runs just against the Diamondbacks, against whom they played 11.7% of their games.
There were a few blowup games that inflated the totals, but last I checked those still count. Dodgers relievers allowed nine runs on Apr. 21 in Phoenix, and allowed a whopping 11 on Sept. 4 in Los Angeles. Labor Day, indeed.
The LA bullpen had a 6.61 ERA at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks, and a 6.25 ERA at Dodger Stadium against them.
The home run gap
Justin Turner and Chris Taylor each hit three home runs against Arizona in 2017, tied for the team lead against the Diamondbacks.
J.D. Martinez hit four home runs in one game against the Dodgers on Sept. 4. Three of those were hit against relief pitchers, part of that 11-run outburst against the Dodgers bullpen mentioned above.
In all, Arizona out-homered the Dodgers in their meetings this season, 32-18. In nine games at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks hit 19 home runs while the Dodgers hit 11. In 10 games at Dodger Stadium, Arizona hit 13 home runs (nine against relievers; again, see above) compared to seven for the Dodgers.