(Updated: CHANGED Greinke to playoff record in matchup)
The Los Angeles Dodgers have rolled to back-to-back victories over the Arizona Diamondbacks and look to wrap up the best-of-5 National League Division Series when the scene switches to Phoenix on Monday. Los Angeles racked up 17 runs and 24 hits in two easy wins as it resembled the squad that led the majors with 104 regular-season victories.
The Diamondbacks attempt to remain in the series behind ace Zack Greinke, the right-hander who won 51 games in three seasons with the Dodgers before signing with Arizona after the 2015 campaign. “If you’ve got to pick one guy to stop this situation we’re in, I think we’ve found the right guy in Zack Greinke,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said in a press conference. Los Angeles right fielder Yasiel Puig has been one of the hitting stars by going 5-for-9 with four RBIs as the Dodgers appear to have put aside their regular-season struggles (8-11) against Arizona. “We’re going to treat it like another game. We’ve been in Chase Field before,” Los Angeles infielder Logan Forsythe told reporters. “I know it’s probably going to be a little louder. But we’re going up against Greinke, who is their guy, and we’re going to do our homework, and go out there and prepare for the game the way we’ve been playing.”
TV: 10:08 p.m. ET, TBS
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers RH Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Zack Greinke (playoffs: 0-0, 9.82)
Darvish finished the season strong by going 2-0 in his last three outings, allowing just one earned run in 19 1/3 innings during the stretch. The 31-year-old from Japan has a 5.40 ERA while losing both his career postseason starts but the Dodgers acquired him from the Texas Rangers to boost up their playoff-caliber pitching. “To have that front-line guy to win a playoff game certainly that’s why you acquire a guy like Yu,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said in a press conference. “Outside of the first three or four (outings) once he came over, he’s been very good and continuing to get better.”
Greinke has been ineffective over his last three turns - giving up 14 runs in 11 2/3 innings - and lasted just 3 2/3 frames in the wild-card contest against the Colorado Rockies. The 33-year-old is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 10 career postseason outings with two of the wins coming during his six postseason starts for the Dodgers. “We’ve built around him. He set the pace for the entire pitching staff all year long,” Lovullo told reporters. “I know he loves challenges like this. Nobody prepares better. Nobody is going to work to make sure that on that day when he takes the mound that he’s going to be comfortable, confident and ready.”
1. The Diamondbacks have launched six homers in the series while the Dodgers have hit just one.
2. Los Angeles rookie 1B Cody Bellinger is only 1-for-10 with six strikeouts in the series.
3. Arizona 1B Paul Goldschmidt is just 1-for-7 in the series - the hit being a two-run blast in Game 2.
PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4