The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are set to head into the series finale on Thursday night after splitting the first two games. The Dodgers through much of the season have been on roll currently posting the best record in the majors by a far margin prior to Thursday’s game.
Los Angeles Dodgers Form
Los Angeles has steamrolled to becoming the first team to reach 80 wins by early August in dominant fashion that includes winning at one point 43 out of 50 games. In fact, they have won 14 out of their last 16 games while earning victories in 14 out of their past 17 series and split the three others. They are also just the sixth team since 1913 to get to 80 wins in their first 113 games.
It has seen them become a highly effective club both at the plate and on the mound in 2017. The Dodgers lead the majors in team ERA (3.08), WHIP (1.11), and opponent batting average (.223). While they also rank among the top teams offensively being second in on-base percentage (.342), third in slugging percentage (.456), fourth in home runs (166), and fifth in runs scored (575).
On top of that, Los Angeles got stronger with the trade deadline addition of pitcher Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers to further bolster their starting rotation in the process. Darvish is set to make his second start in a Dodgers’ uniform on Thursday night after making his debut last Friday where he pitched seven scoreless innings while giving up just three hits and struck out 10 batters.
It hasn’t been the strongest 2017 campaign for Darvish, who currently holds a 7-9 record with a 3.81 ERA. However, the switch to the National League for the first time in his career could provide a major personal boost.
Darvish has two career appearances against the Diamondbacks to which he holds a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA along with 28 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched.
Arizona Diamondbacks Form
Beyond the Dodgers’ utter dominance in the NL West, the Diamondbacks have held more than their own in the National League being in the wild card picture.
Arizona has fared quite this season currently sitting a 0.5 game out of the first wild card spot behind the Colorado Rockies. This has also placed a greater importance on the series with the Dodgers as it gives them a chance to overtake the Rockies for the top wild card spot.
Although they split their last 10 games, the Diamondbacks do hold one of those wins over their NL West rivals in the series opener on Tuesday in a 6-3 win. It has helped improved their strong home mark to 37-19 on season, which is one of the best records in the league at this juncture of the season.
The Diamondbacks also hold of the league’s best pitching staffs ranking second in ERA (3.52), WHIP (1.25), opponent batting average (.238), and fifth in quality starts (60). Meanwhile All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been holding it down on the plate for Arizona currently leading the team with .322 batting average, 26 home runs, and 90 RBIs. This includes launching a solo home run on Wednesday night against the Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks are set to send their young left-hander Anthony Banda to the mound on Thursday for the first time in his brief career to face the Dodgers. He had his first major league win last Friday against the San Francisco Giants where he went six innings allowing just one run on three hits and seven strikeouts.
The Dodgers should provide him with a strong litmus test to see where Banda is at against hottest team in the league that has won 45 out of their last 53 games. The two teams still hold two more three-game series over the remainder of the regular season.
Despite the loss in the series opener, the bookmakers are still favoring the Dodgers at 20/37 odds over the Diamondbacks, who are at 33/20. The way that Los Angeles is rolling at this moment makes it’s the recommended bet to take them at 7/5 odds to clinch yet another series.