Two National League West rivals will face off in the first of a three game series on Friday as the Arizona Diamondbacks (9-3) travel to Dodger Stadium to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers (4-7), with first pitch scheduled for 10:10 pm ET. The Diamondbacks will send righty, Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.06 ERA), to the bump to take on the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
It’s been a tale of two different starts for these two teams in the first few weeks of the season. The Diamondbacks have surged out of the gates, having won 7 of their last 10 and currently 3 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies for first place in the N.L. West. The Dodgers, last year’s National League champion, are absolutely scuffling as they have lost five of their last seven, including a 6-16 drubbing by the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
The moneyline for the game is set at the Arizona Diamondbacks +120 and the Los Angeles Dodgers at -130. The over/under on total runs scored is set at 7.
Dodgers Look to Get Bats Going
To say the Dodgers have been struggling offensively might be the understatement of the season thus far. Prized shortstop Corey Seagar (.214/.298/.286 with 1 HR and 3 RBI), first baseman Cody Bellinger (.268/.302/.366 with 1 HR and 3 RBI), and outfielder Yasiel Puig (.205/.250/.250 with 0 HR and 2 RBI) are all in a major funk right now.
To make matters worse, all-star third baseman, Justin Turner, has been out all season with a wrist injury and one of their best hitters right now is a guy they looked to dump all offseason in Matt Kemp (.355/.412/.548 with 1 HR and 3 RBI). The bats won’t stay cold all season long, but while they are, they are digging themselves into a hole in a division that could see both the Diamondbacks and Rockies challenge for the lead all season long.
In his one start of the season, back on March 31 against the San Francisco Giants, Kenta Maeda threw 5 innings of dominant ball. He allowed no runs on 5 hits while striking out 10. The Dodgers still don’t seem completely positive on how they want to deploy Maeda, though. Last year, after coming back from injury, Maeda was dominant in the bullpen both at the end of the regular season and in the playoffs.
In fact, in 10.2 innings last year in the postseason, he only gave up one run, while striking out 10 and walking 2. However, as his last game indicated, he can still bring it as a starter, too. It will be interesting to see if he can reproduce the same success as his first game against the Diamondbacks, though, given that they are a far better team than the Giants and that he hasn’t started a game in about two weeks.
Diamondbacks Look to Get Greinke Back on Track
Through two starts, Zack Greinke has not shown the success that the Diamondbacks would expect to get out of the player that they signed to a 6 year, $206.5 million dollar deal a few years ago to be their ace. Greinke is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and opposing batters are hitting a whopping .311 against him. On a positive note, he has struck out 14 without a walk yet, but the 14 hits he has given up in only 10.2 innings leaves something to be desired. In his last start, against the St. Louis Cardinals, Greinke went 5 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits with 5 strikeouts.
Offensively, the Diamondbacks will look for Paul Goldschmidt to continue to turn around his slow start. Going into their last series against the Giants, Goldschmidt was hitting a putrid .100 (3 for 30) this season. He has now hit home runs in two consecutive games, though, and is starting to look like the slugger we have been accustomed to for years. If he can get going, it only makes this lineup even scarier.
Dodgers Get Snake Bit
Unfortunately for Dodgers fans, I am taking the Diamondbacks in this one. I don’t think that Maeda will have quite the same success against the Diamondbacks as he did the Giants and I think Greinke has his first quality start of the season. Take the Diamondbacks +120.
From an over/under perspective, I am going with the over. The Diamondbacks have been averaging 5.5 runs per game this season so they almost cover the 7 themselves. I think Greinke pitches better, but I think there are still plenty of runs scored on both sides. Take the over.