The Dodgers begin a six-game road trip on Friday starting in Phoenix and ending in San Francisco. The Dodgers return to Chase Field for the first time since last season’s pool party debacle. I’m not sure if the pool area will have extra security this time, but the Dodgers will not be bringing any swimming goggles on this trip. The Snakes were very bitter after the Dodgers took the plunge last year and celebrated in Chase Field’s pool after clinching the National League West title. The dip in the pool was a culmination of a long season worth of brawls, bat flips, and some baseball mixed in.
After splitting the two-game series with the Tigers, the Dodgers look to gain some ground in the West on this road trip. The heartbreaking loss on Wednesday night in ten innings against Detroit really brought into question the Dodgers’ defense, offense, and pitching. Even though the game was unfortunately lost in the tenth after Kenley Jansen allowed the winning run, there was a lot of excitement in the series which could be a preview of a Dodgers vs. Tigers World Series come October. The bottom of the ninth inning rally by the Dodgers was a great sign that this team has the heart and perseverance to comeback when faced with deficit.
Hyun-jin Ryu had a rough outing last time out against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Ryu was most likely fatigued from being the Dodgers go-to starter during this early period of the season after Clayton Kershaw was disabled and Zack Greinke had a calf strain early on. Ryu has already collected one win against the D-backs during the Opening Series in Sydney, and he will be looking to shut down the slithery Snakes again on Friday evening in Phoenix. Ryu allowed a disastrous 6 runs on 8 hits in 2 fateful innings against the Giants in his last start. He fared much better against the D-backs in Game 2 when he only allowed 2 hits over five shutout innings.
Other than a slight toenail issue and a bad start against the Giants last week, Ryu has been reliable for the Dodgers throughout Spring Training and during this early part of the season. In 6 career starts against the D-backs, the southpaw is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA. Ryu has made 3 starts at Chase Field with a record of 1-1 and an ERA of 4.74 in Phoenix. He’ll have to watch out for the usual danger to the Dodgers, Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy is hitting .500 against Ryu with 8 hits including a homerun. Aaron Hill has also hit a homerun off Ryu and is hitting .500 against the lefty as well.
Brandon McCarthy is still working on collecting his first win of the new season. The right-hander lost in his last outing against Colorado when he allowed 6 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings. He’s never lost against the Dodgers and is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA against L.A. in 3 starts. The Dodgers have hit well against him in the past. Yasiel Puig hit a homerun against him last September, and most of the starters are hitting at or above .300 against him. Even Chone Figgins has had success against McCarthy and is hitting .389 against him in 18 at-bats. Hanley Ramirez has never faced McCarthy.
You better believe that Arizona is still testy about last season’s foray into the deep end. The D-backs not only got swept by the Dodgers in
Sydney, but they also have had a bad road trip recently and now sit at the bottom of the standings. They are deflated.
The Dodgers should take advantage. This is a perfect opportunity to gain some ground in the West. The Dodgers should not take this series lightly however. The D-backs, while dispirited, still do have Paul Goldschmidt who absolutely reeks havoc against the Dodgers. Mark Trumbo is also a new threat in the league, and he has already collected 5 homeruns and 13 RBIs this season.
With the possibility of Yasiel Puig back in the lineup and Ryu on the mound, the Dodgers stand a good chance of rebounding from that disappointing drawn out loss to Detroit on Wednesday. Ryu will be looked upon to have a quality start, and the defense and offense will need to be more polished. It’s still early in the season, but some of the mental mistakes on the base paths and on the diamond are fundamentals which should not be overlooked.
Prediction: Andre Ethier, Mr. Arizona, fuels the offense.
The game will be broadcast on SportsNet LA or on FS-A+ in Arizona. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. PT