For the fourth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers will face a division rival in the NLDS. This year, it’s the Arizona Diamondbacks, an upstart team that swept the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round. Here’s our preview of the NLDS series between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
Probable Starters and Start Times
- Game 1: Merrill Kelly vs. Clayton Kershaw (9:20 PM ET)
- Game 2: TBD vs. TBD (9:07 PM ET)
- Game 3: TBD vs. TBD (9:07 PM ET)
- Game 4: TBD vs. TBD (9:07 PM ET)
- Game 5: TBD vs. TBD (9:20 PM ET)
- Diamondbacks: +180
- Dodgers: -215
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. As of October 6, 2023.
A Look at the Offenses
The Diamondbacks offense came to play in the Wild Card round, as Arizona belted four home runs in the team’s two-game sweep of the Brewers. Corbin Carroll batted .571 in the two games and belted his first career postseason home run, while Ketel Marte drove in three in the D-Backs sweep. Christian Walker racked up three hits in Game 1 and helped Arizona lock up Game 1 with a two-run double that scored Carroll and Tommy Pham.
The stars for Arizona came out to play, and the D-Backs will need them in order to help matchup against a formidable Dodgers offense.
The Dodgers boasted one of the league’s best offenses in 2023 despite the losses of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Gavin Lux, the latter of whom tore his ACL in Spring Training. Los Angeles ranked second in the league in runs scored, home runs, and OPS, behind only the Braves.
Much of that could be attributed to Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and J.D. Martinez. Both Betts (167) and Freeman (163) ranked in the top six of the league in wRC+, while Martinez belted 33 home runs and drove in 103 in what was a resurgent campaign for the veteran slugger.
Aside from those three, rookie James Outman cranked 23 home runs and Max Muncy hit 36. Los Angeles also made great use of Jason Heyward, who benefitted mightily from the platoon and seeing primarily right-handed pitching. Heyward hit .269/.340/.473 with 15 home runs and 38 extra base hits in 124 games (377 PA).
A Look at the Pitching
In the next section of our preview of the upcoming series between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, we’ll focus on the pitching.
Since Arizona swept the Brewers in the Wild Card, the D-Backs did not need to use Merrill Kelly. Instead, the veteran righty will take the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS. Kelly held his own yet again in 2023, thanks in large part to his changeup. Opposing batters hit just .180 off the change this season.
Expect Brandon Pfaadt and Zac Gallen to take the hill yet again in the NLDS. Both gave the D-Backs what Arizona needed in the Wild Card, but what might have been the brightest spot over those two games in Milwaukee was the bullpen. Arizona’s relievers three three scoreless innings, highlighted by a shutdown inning by Ryan Thompson and a scoreless frame in the ninth from Paul Sewald.
That came off the heels of 6.1 scoreless innings from the pen in Game 1, including four strikeouts and two scoreless frames from Kevin Ginkel.
Speaking of bullpens’ the Dodgers owned one of the league-best in 2023. Closer Evan Phillips picked up 24 saves for the Dodgers this season, while Brusdar Graterol was one of the game’s best setup men in MLB this season. The Dodgers also received strong results from left-hander Caleb Ferguson, Shelby Miller, and Ryan Brasier.
LA will need that pen should the Dodgers run into trouble with their starters. It wasn’t a clean season from the Dodgers rotation this year, thanks to the likes of Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin. Both of those names won’t factor into the Dodgers’ playoff roster this year for very different reasons.
Their ace Clayton Kershaw was dominant when healthy, but the Dodgers were very cautious with him over the last few weeks of the season. He’ll go in Game 1, with Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, and Emmet Sheehan among the Dodgers’ other options for bulk.
The Dodgers rotation is a concern, that much is clear. But as we pointed in our preview of the NLDS between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, Los Angeles has the bats to get past the D-Backs in this series.
We think this series will be closer than what Vegas thinks, but we’ll go with the Dodgers.