Dodgers Hope Hot Bats Stay Sizzling in Arizona

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So far, so good.

It’s very early in the postseason, but the Dodgers seem to have it together. All that worry about whether they would be able to get hot at the right time, if they feared the Diamondbacks, was all for naught. The bats look good, the pitching looks decent, and the Dodgers take a commanding 2-0 lead into Arizona.

Of course, there are still some holes. Cody Bellinger has yet to get things going at the plate. Same with Yasmani Grandal. Dave Roberts has not quite yet learned when to lift Clayton Kershaw from the game. The Diamondbacks are hitting way too many home runs.

And yet, the Dodgers have outscored Arizona 17-10, despite the Diamondbacks having five more home runs. That is a very good sign, indeed. Arizona is hitting solo home runs, capitalizing on a mistake pitch here or there. Los Angeles is seeing many pitches per at bat, and stringing together hits for multi-run innings.

Another good sign is the offensive output so far by both Yasiel Puig and Logan Forsythe. It has been well documented that Forsythe has not lived up to his caliber of offense for most of the this season. But none of that matters as long as he keeps up what he’s doing now. He is 4-for-8 with four runs scored, a stolen base, a walk, and an RBI so far in the NLDS. And what more can I say about Puig, with his tongue waggling, and his bat licking and bat flipping on a single. Oh, and his hitting has been OK, too—going 5-for-9, with four RBI, a double, a triple and a 1.444 OPS. Both are using this postseason to shine, and I am here for it.

Austin Barnes is also having a heck of a divisional series, going 3-4 with a double, two RBI, three runs and a stolen base. His inclusion in the lineup makes the lineup long, and dangerous throughout. If he plays tonight, Yu Darvish would seemingly be the only easy out.

Now the series shifts to Arizona, where tonight Darvish will face Zack Greinke. The Dodgers have the chance to be the only team in the four Divisional Series to pull off a sweep. It will be a tough task, as Greinke is 13-1 this year at home. That one loss is to the Dodgers, however.

After a rough start to his Dodgers tenure, Darvish finished up his regular season well, with a 2-0 record and  0.47 ERA in his last 19-1/3 innings. Greinke is coming off a start in the Wild Card game, in which he was pulled after 3-2/3 innings, after having a 6-0 lead and squandering it. His poor performance lead to the Diamondbacks having to use Robbie Ray in that game instead of saving him for Game 1 of the NLDS.

If the Dodgers can jump on him early, they can take the Arizona crowd out of the game, and let the thousands of Dodgers fans who will be there take over. With the way the first two games have gone, if the Dodgers can get an early lead, it could take the fight right out of the D-Backs.

Personally, I am very happy that Roberts came out and said that there will be no swimming in the pool at Chase Stadium should the Dodgers win the NLDS there. It was fun when it happened in 2013, but he is right—there are bigger goals for this team than jumping in a pool.  Soon they will have accomplished the first phase, winning the three games they need to move on to the bigger prize of winning the World Series.

So far, so good.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)

 

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