The Arizona Diamondbacks host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opening game of the three-game series on Friday night at Chase Field. The Dodgers enter as a series threat to win their second-straight World Series title but the race atop the NL West is still in doubt. With Arizona battling for the worst record in baseball, it's an opportune time for both of these divisional rivals to meet. The Dodgers need every win they can get to make sure they keep pace with the Giants or pace them over the next week, in order to help avoid the Wild Card game. For the Diamondbacks, the top pick in the draft is always a nice thing to have and losses to the Dodgers won't be hard to come by. Heading into this weekend, the two teams have already met 18 times. It's no surprise that the Dodgers have dominated the season series, winning 15 of those games. The Diamondbacks don't have the depth or talent to compete nightly and the Dodgers have one of the best lineups in baseball in recent memory. It'll be two opposites coming together on Friday but still a game worthwhile to turn into for fans of the MLB Playoff race.
Dodgers Eyeing Baseball's Best RecordThe Dodgers might have started the season a little slower than they would have expected, but a World Series hangover was bound to happen. Now, with only a few games left in the season, they stand toe-to-toe with San Francisco for the best record in baseball. The unfortunate reality is that one of those two teams will end up hosting the National League Wild Card game in a winner take all game. The Dodgers enter Friday having gone 8-2 in their last ten games and even though they'll be on the road this weekend, will still expect to come out with the win in all three games. They don't have many game-time injuries to worry about, as Chris Taylor (neck) is the only player who is operating on a game-to-game basis. That doesn't mean they don't have other starters that they'll be missing though. Cody Bellinger (ribs), Billy McKinney (hip), Cole Hamels (arm), and a handful of relievers, have all been added to the list of players at least out for the rest of the regular season. The good news for the Dodgers is that they're one of the deepest teams in baseball and they still shouldn't have any issues taking down Arizona on Friday.
"I smell it a little bit when I think I’m going to get in the game."— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) September 22, 2021
That moment arrived in the 10th inning for Albert Pujols, who is 13-for-32 as a @Dodgers pinch-hitter. Again, he delivered. https://t.co/doD3Dy9hlI
The Dodgers have one of the best offenses in baseball and rank fifth in runs per game, 13th in batting average, 12th in hits per age, and fifth in home runs per game. Gavin Lux hasn't waited long to take advantage of being trusted in the lineup, leading the way with a .467 average over the last week. Treat Turner isn't far behind him, hitting .333 over the same time frame. The power numbers have certainly dropped off, with the Dodgers only hitting four home runs over the last week, but it might still be enough against Arizona. The Dodgers would like to get Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner going as the postseason approaches, but with the situation they're in, getting wins is the key at this point, regardless of how the offense performs to get them there.
According to MLB.com, Tony Gonsolin will get the start for the Dodgers in what has been an impressive season for the righty. He enters with a 3-1 record and 2.93 ERA and has really established himself as a key part of the pitching staff heading into the playoffs. He hasn't lost a start since July 19th and has four starts already against Arizona on the season. He's gone 1-0 across those four starts and has combined to go 4.1 innings across those three starts, allowing only four runs. His confidence continues to grow with each start and as long as he's doesn't have the worst start of the season, should be able to keep the Dodgers in the game until the offense can take over.
Diamonds Eyeing Draft's First PickArizona's season seemed destined to be a difficult one before it started, especially given the lack of top-end talent on the roster. Things quickly became understandable why hopes were still slow, as the Diamondbacks have limped their way through the season and find themselves toe-to-toe with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball. They've only gone 2-8 in their last ten games and the struggles expect to continue into the end of the season. Injuries continue to be a concern, with Nick Ahmed (shoulder) questionable to go this weekend, adding to a growing list of players ut for the season. The big question mark is Ketel Marte (rest) who it will be interesting to see not only if Arizona's top player plays on Thursday but how much of the field he'll see down the stretch this season.
Arizona's offense has been bad all season long and ranks in the bottom ten of baseball in nearly every offensive category. They rank 25th in runs per game, 25th in batting average, 20th in hits per game, and 29th in home runs per game. Over the last week, Marte leads the team with a .350 average but just like it has been all season, hasn't had a ton of help. They only have five home runs in the last week and if the longball is working, the Diamondbacks really have no chance to stay involved with baseball's elites. Christian Walker continues to be a dangerous hitter in the middle of the lineup but even he appears to have his eyes shifted towards 2022. The Diamondbacks might need their best offensive night of the season to take down the Dodgers on Friday but fans shouldn't expect to see too much fight at this point in the season.
According to MLB.com, the Diamondbacks will turn to Humberto Castellanos to get the start on Friday and try to get the Diamondbacks a win in the opener. He enters with a 2-1 record and 4.11 ERA but is yet to appear against the Dodgers this season. Since taking over as a starter on July 7th he hasn't taken a loss and has only allowed more than three runs once in that span. Taking down the Dodgers is another task entirely to take on and while grabbing a win is possible, it's far more likely that the Dodgers make quick work of him on Friday.
The top team trends, according to covers.com, are: - Dodgers are 7-1 in Gonsolin's last eight starts with the total set between 9.0 and 10.5. - Dodgers are 5-1 in the last six meetings in Arizona with the Diamondbacks. - Dodgers are 37-14 in the last 51 meetings overall with the Diamondbacks.
The top team trends, according to covers.com, are: - Diamondbacks are 0-6 in their last six home games against a right-handed starter. - Diamondbacks are 0-7 in their last seven games against a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30. - Diamondbacks are 0-5 in their last five home games with the total set between 9.0 and 10.5.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Dodgers are heavy favorites on the road for Friday night and they won't disappoint against Arizona. Gonsolin has been a strong pitcher for the side despite all of the injuries that they've had to navigate and with Arizona's lineup looking more and more depleted as the end of the season nears, it's likely that he should be able to make quick work of their starting nine. Los Angeles' lineup is one of the best in baseball and has proven that season after season. Even with their current few injuries, it has been the mentality of someone else's opportunity to shine and that's helped to keep the younger players involved and pushing forward. The Diamondbacks already seem checked out on the season and the Dodgers have quite a bit to play for in terms of trying to win the NL West and secure the best record in baseball. Besides being the more talented team in every aspect of the game, expect the Dodgers to come in more focused as well and then close out the series opener with a solid win.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Dodgers' offense comes into Friday night as one of the best in baseball and given the lack of a strong pitching presence for Arizona, it's difficult to imagine them slowing down on Friday night. Betts, Turner, and Seager are all desperate to get going and the offense will be serious as they come in the series opener. For Arizona, getting a lot of runs might be tough but they do have the power themselves in Walker and Marte, if he plays, to add a few runs themselves. Additionally, according to covers.com, for the Dodgers, the over is 6-1-2 in their last nine road games with the total set between 9 and 10.5 and is 5-1 in Gonsolin's last six starts against NL West opponents. In meetings between the two teams, the over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Arizona and is 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings overall.