While there probably will be a few more critical series down the stretch of the 2018 regular season, none may have more of an impact than the four-game set between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers this weekend.
As it stands now, both clubs have 29 games remaining on their respective schedules, and Los Angeles finds itself one full game behind Arizona with Colorado sandwiched in between, just one-half game off the division lead.
Of those 29 contests, the Dodgers have plenty of divisional games remaining, as they will later head to Arizona for another showdown on September 24 for a three-game series with the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles also has six games remaining against Colorado (three away and three home), three contests against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, and the season finale, which is a three-game set against the Giants in San Francisco.
The Diamondbacks have held the first place spot in the National League West for the entirety of August, aside from two games. So far this season, Arizona has defeated Los Angeles in eight of the twelve games played. However, perhaps the Dodgers’ best overall hitter, third baseman Justin Turner, did not play in any of those games due to his early-season wrist injury.
The Dodgers are amid a five-game winning streak, albeit against two of the poorer clubs in baseball. It couldn’t have come at a better time, though, as Los Angeles was 4-1/2 games off the division lead before the San Diego series last weekend. Meanwhile, the D-backs have gone 5-5 over their last 10 games, allowing the Dodgers to sneak back into a very tight NL West race.
As far as the matter at hand goes, the Dodgers will send veteran lefty Rich Hill to the bump in the opener to oppose fellow southpaw Robbie Ray. In the second game on Friday, Hyun-Jin Ryu will square-off against Zach Greinke, while staff ace Clayton Kershaw faces lefty Patrick Corbin on Saturday. In the finale on Sunday, young righty Walker Buehler will face a resurgent Clay Buchholz.
Originally, many anticipated a blockbuster matchup between Kershaw and Greinke on Friday, but the Dodgers bumped CK back to Saturday so he would slot into a more impactful Colorado series instead of facing the Mets.
And while the Dodgers stiil do not have a pitcher with double-digit victories in the win column, the Dimondbacks have three—Greinke with 13, Corbin with 10 and Zack Godley with 14. Nonetheless, Los Angeles has a whopping 11 players who have hit 10 or more long balls this year opposed to Arizona’s six. In terms of power, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt leads the Snakes’ charge with 30 home runs and 76 RBI. Right fielder David Peralta leads the team with a .303 average.
Both squads may see roster reinforcements as soon as the third game of the series, as MLB rosters will see the first wave of roster expansion begin on Saturday, September 1.
The games on Thursday and Friday will both start at 7:10 p.m. Los Angeles time, while Saturdays first pitch will be at 5:10 p.m. Sunday’s finale is slated for a 1:10 p.m. start time.
The Dodgers are orchestrating their biggest ticket sale of the year this Labor Day Weekend, offering significant savings for all four games. Some tickets start as low as $5.00 for the opener on Thursday.