The Dodgers will host the Diamondbacks for the last time in 2021 when Arizona rolls into town Monday. It’s been a one-sided affair for much of the year, with the Dodgers taking 11 of the 13 previous meetings.
The two clubs will play six times in the next 14 days as the Dodgers simultaneously try to catch the Giants and get everybody ready for a postseason run.
It comes as no surprise to see Arizona in the bottom half of the league on offense in most categories, given the fact they are the second-worst team in baseball at 47-96. That leaves them just one game behind the Orioles (46-97). Arizona has an 85 wRC+ as a team and doesn’t hit for much power, hitting 128 home runs in 143 games.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t hitters to worry about in the Dbacks lineup. Outfielders David Peralta and Daulton Varsho have been hitting well since mid-August. Peralta is 27-for-77 (.351) with nine extra-base hits since August 14 and Varsho is 23-for-71 (.324) with five homers in his last 22 games (18 starts).
Another player to watch is Seth Beer after the Dbacks called him up for the recent weekend series with the Mariners. Beer went 4-for-8 with his first homer in the three-game set.
The Dodgers have feasted on Arizona pitching this season, scoring 97 runs in the 13 games. A total of six Dodger regulars have at least a 1.000 OPS against the Diamondbacks, including Albert Pujols hitting four of his 12 homers while with the Dodgers, going 13-for-34 (.382).
Monday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA): Clayton Kershaw vs. Zac Gallen
A familiar face takes the mound in the opener for the Dodgers, with Clayton Kershaw making his first start since July 3. The 33-year-old will likely have a target of four innings and around 60 pitches as he builds back up from a two-month absence.
Zac Gallen has allowed three or more runs to the opposition in 10 of his 19 starts this season and two of those saw the right-hander taken out before the end of the third. It’s been more consistent of late, allowing only six earned in his last four games (24.2 IP)
The 26-year-old has made one start against the Dodgers this year, limiting them to a pair of runs over six innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in a Diamondbacks win.
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA): Tony Gonsolin vs. Luke Weaver
Gonsolin should be somewhere in the same four-inning neighborhood of Kershaw when he takes the mound Tuesday. The right-hander has done well to limit the opposition to a low run total even if he doesn’t get deep into games, pitching to a 2.79 ERA in 11 games (10 starts).
The Dodgers haven’t seen Luke Weaver this season and the right-hander will make just his third start since May after sustaining a shoulder injury. Arizona has won five of Weaver’s 10 starts this season, which seems significant (it’s not) given their record.
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA, ESPN): Julio Urías vs. Madison Bumgarner
Urías has been excellent all year long and will look to continue that progress Wednesday. The left-hander has only allowed 15 earned runs in his last 75.1 innings pitched going back to June 26, pitching to a 1.79 ERA.
Though it hasn’t been made official at the time of this writing, it looks like Madison Bumgarner will get the ball in the series finale. The Dodgers faced him once this season at Dodger Stadium back on May 17. The lefty was lifted after four innings and two runs in a 3-1 Dodger win.
Bumgarner has allowed exactly five runs in each of his last three starts and 19 runs in his last four.