In his final three starts of the season Darvish allowed two total runs, and just one earned run, with 21 strikeouts and one walk in 17⅓ innings. Now it’s time to see if those results were due to adjustments Darvish made, or from facing three of the four or five worst offenses in baseball — the Padres, Giants and Phillies — depending on your metric of choice.
It’s probably a little bit of both.
“I think that for him it was more of coming over here and trying to figure out why he can't be consistent,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He's a guy that came off surgery a couple years ago, and so to get that consistency back and a lot of the data that we had that we kind of dug into made things pretty clear for us, and to present it to him was very clear.
“So I think that buy-in was huge for him. You look at the small sample of three starts or whatever, but I think progressively it's continued to get better.”
Darvish faced the Diamondbacks once this season, on Aug. 10 at Chase Field, his second start with the Dodgers. He struck out 10 and got the win, allowing just two runs, but was also pulled after 106 pitches in five innings.
That seems like ages ago.
“I think it will benefit me because they haven't seen me pitch like I do now, like the last time we faced them, and then now how I pitch is different,” Darvish said. “So I think that's going to benefit me. Of course the pitches, like certain pitches were different, and then my approach is different too.”
Hindsight is 2-0/2-0
This is the fifth time the Dodgers have led a best-of-five series two games to none. They needed four games to finish off the Pirates in the 1974 NLCS and the Phillies in the 1978 NLCS, and completed the sweep in both 2008 against the Cubs in the NLDS and in the 2009 NLDS against the Cardinals.
Game 3 info
Time: 7:08 p.m. PT
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson, Lauren Shehadi)
Online: TBScom and the Watch TBS app
Local radio: AM 570 (Charley Steiner, Rick Monday)
National radio: ESPN Radio (Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone)