Photo courtesy of RotoExperts
By: Ross Sutton
After the first month of the season, the Diamondbacks (19-8) have control of the NL West division by five games over the Rockies (15-14), five and a half games over the Giants (14-14), and seven games over the Dodgers (12-15). Despite losing slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox in free agency, Zack Greinke not looking like his usual self on the mound, and not having Steven Souza Jr. available because of injury, the D-backs are playing great baseball. The Diamondbacks are playing as a team, as no one player is carrying the offense right now. The team leader in home runs is A.J Pollock with six, and the highest batting average on the team belongs to David Peralta who is hitting .309 thus far. Pollock is also leading the team in stolen bases with six, so he has been very important to this offense during their run. The leader of the D-backs’ pitching staff has been Patrick Corbin, who looks like the 2013 all-star version of himself that the D-backs can lean on during the year. Corbin currently has a 2.25 ERA and is 4-0 to this point in the season. As the Dodgers, Rockies, and Giants are not playing particularly inspiring baseball at the moment, the Diamondbacks need to continue their great play in order to grab an even more commanding lead of the division.
The Dodgers on the the other hand, have not looked like the team that reached the World Series last year and pushed the Astros all the way to game seven. The Dodgers currently have no one hitting over .300 and Yasiel Puig has struggled this year as he is only hitting .193. To make matters even worse, last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger was pulled from yesterday’s game against the Giants after not running out a double. Problems like these need to be corrected in order for the Dodgers to gain some steam. On a more positive note, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu have been great so far this season, as they have ERAs of 2.84 and 2.22, respectively. Unfortunately for the 2017 NL champs, starting pitcher Alex Wood has not been very effective this season as he currently has a 4.11 ERA. Fellow starter Rich Hill has also not helped the Dodgers much this year as he has only been able to pitch 15 innings for the team as he has battled a finger issue for most of April. The Dodgers have seen a bit of a power outage as well, as the team has only 24 home runs in 2018, which is tied for the third worst in the National League. The team has been missing star third baseman Justin Turner this season as he has been on the DL due to a broken wrist. Turner was probably the best offensive player on the team last year and the rest of the lineup has clearly not been able to pick up the slack during the first month of the season. The Dodgers need to get healthy and start performing how they are capable of performing before the rest of the teams in the division need to start worrying.
The D-backs and Dodgers will start a four-game series tonight in Arizona. The starting pitchers for the first game of this extremely important series will be Ross Stripling (0.63 ERA) for the Dodgers and Zack Greinke (4.80 ERA) for the Diamondbacks.
Stats courtesy of MLB at bat
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