By Nate McMullen
Ah, here it is: the classic rivalry between the bug and the windshield. The Dbacks look to recover from a poor start to the season while the Dodgers are fighting to maintain dominance in the NL West.
Money Line: Los Angeles Dodgers -155, Arizona Diamondbacks +135
Run Line: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (+100), Arizona Diamondbacks +1.5 (-120)
Total: 9.5 (O -105, U -115)
First Pitch: 9:40 PM ET
Los Angeles Dodgers: Before the season started, in the midst of them pounding the Dbacks in two exhibition matches, I predicted ironically that the Dodgers, “might not lose a game” in 2020. Tongue-in-cheek as it was, there was some bit of truth to my claim: the Dodgers are probably the best team in baseball, as they showed in their two-game sweep of the infamous Astros. Mookie Betts came through with a big hit in last night’s extra-innings victory and if he starts coming around offensively, L.A. will only get tougher to beat.
Ross Stripling, who filled the David Price-shaped hole in L.A.’s rotation, came out firing in his first start. He allowed four hits and one earned run in seven innings against the Giants, earning himself a win and some recognition. This is a guy who hasn’t posted an ERA above 4.00 in four years in the bigs, including a 3.47 mark in 32 appearances last year. Stripling is just another example of L.A.’s ridiculous success in developing their own talent. He looks to continue his success tonight against a questionable Dbacks squad.
Arizona Diamondbacks: The Dbacks looked listless in their opening series against the Padres; unable to score, clueless on the basepaths, careless on the mound. They recovered slightly in Tuesday’s win over the Rangers, but collapsed again in yesterday’s loss. The offense seems to be heating up—Eduardo Escobar, David Peralta, and Carson Kelly finally each did something of note—but there just isn’t enough happening offensively to consider this team a true threat yet.
Starter Robbie Ray, with his revamped throwing motion and new, slimmer form, looked poised to dominate set himself up for a major payday this winter when the season began. His plans were derailed slightly by a disastrous collapse in the 4th inning of his last outing, in which he reached 97 pitches and allowed three runs. Both he and the Dbacks need a major bounce back from their #2 guy if either of them wants to do anything this year.
Analysis and Prediction: If the exhibition matches between these teams are any indication of how this series will go, Arizona might as well leave now and save themselves four days of humiliation. Unfortunately for Dbacks fans, that might just be the case. The pitching just has not been there, and the offense can’t seem to figure things out. Things won’t get easier against the dreaded Dodgers, so I’m taking the Dodgers on the run line -1.5 at +100. If Robbie Ray can’t keep his pitch count down and makes another premature departure, this could get ugly.