The Arizona Diamondbacks have proven themselves to be a team of ups and downs in the 2023 season. From a promising start to a rollercoaster middle, they clinched the last NL wild card spot with 84 wins, setting up a matchup against the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series. While regular-season records can be deceiving in October, here are nine concerns the Dodgers should keep in mind as they prepare to face the Diamondbacks.
1. Corbin Carroll’s Power and Speed
Corbin Carroll, a left-handed-hitting rookie, has made history by hitting 25 homers and stealing 50 bases in a single season. Beyond power and speed, he boasts a .285 batting average, an .868 OPS, 30 doubles, and 10 triples. His dynamic presence on the field, combined with his outfield skills, makes him a formidable threat to the Dodgers.
> "Carroll’s performance in 2023 has been nothing short of remarkable, and his agility and hitting prowess make him a key player to watch." – Dodgers Analyst
2. Diamondbacks’ Stolen Base Mastery
The Diamondbacks ranked second in the majors with 166 stolen bases, showcasing their ability to pressure defenses. Leadoff man Corbin Carroll alone stole 54 bases. To counter this, the Dodgers need to secure early leads and maintain their offensive dominance, limiting Arizona’s opportunities on the basepaths.
3. Christian Walker’s Consistency
Despite the lack of All-Star selections, Christian Walker has quietly become one of the game’s top first basemen. With impressive back-to-back seasons, Walker has contributed both defensively and offensively, hitting 36 homers and tallying 94 RBIs in 2022, followed by 33 homers and 103 RBIs in 2023. The Dodgers must keep an eye on Walker’s consistent performance.
4. Zac Gallen’s Cy Young Caliber
The Dodgers may have roughed up Zac Gallen in their last encounter, but the right-hander’s 17-9 record with a 3.47 ERA in 34 starts, along with 220 strikeouts, cannot be overlooked. Gallen is a legitimate NL Cy Young Award candidate, and the Dodgers will need a solid plan to counter his pitching prowess.
5. Merrill Kelly’s Six-Pitch Mix
Merrill Kelly’s last outing against the Dodgers resulted in seven earned runs. However, his season performance speaks otherwise. Kelly’s six-pitch mix led him to a 12-8 record with a 3.29 ERA in 30 starts. His versatility and repertoire could pose a challenge for the Dodgers’ hitters.
6. Paul Sewald’s Closing Skills
Acquiring closer Paul Sewald bolstered Arizona’s bullpen. Sewald, known for his fastball-slider combination, recorded 13 saves in 15 opportunities with a 3.57 ERA. The Dodgers must be cautious in the late innings, as Sewald can be a game-changer.
7. Kevin Ginkel’s Dominance
Kevin Ginkel has excelled in a setup role, boasting a 9-1 record and a 2.48 ERA in 60 games. His reliability in high-pressure situations could be a valuable asset for the Diamondbacks, making it crucial for the Dodgers to find ways to navigate through his appearances.
8. Ryan Thompson’s Remarkable Performance
Ryan Thompson, signed in August, has been a surprise addition to Arizona’s bullpen. With an impressive 0.69 ERA in 13 games, he adds depth and stability to the relief corps. Dodgers hitters should prepare for the challenge presented by Thompson’s unorthodox sidearm delivery.
9. Strong September Performance
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen boasted a 2.31 ERA in September, ranking third-best in baseball. They carried this momentum into the wild-card series against Milwaukee, where they combined for 6 ⅓ scoreless innings. The Dodgers need to be aware of Arizona’s late-season resurgence and the bullpen’s reliability.
In conclusion, while the Dodgers may have had success against the Diamondbacks during the regular season, they should approach this postseason matchup with caution. The Diamondbacks’ versatile roster and late-season improvements present nine notable concerns that the Dodgers must address to secure victory in the division series.
Additional Points of Interest
What does it mean when the Dodgers tap their head?
In Dodgers culture, when they tap their head, it’s akin to a basketball move, much like a dunk over an opponent. It’s their unique way of celebrating a successful play on the field. Dodgers announcer Joe Davis clarified this during a recent broadcast, confirming the association with basketball. This gesture serves as a creative and expressive means of acknowledging a job well done in the world of baseball.
Who will Dodgers play in NLDS?
the Arizona Diamondbacks
Who will the Los Angeles Dodgers face in the 2023 NLDS? The answer is a familiar one—none other than the Arizona Diamondbacks. In an impressive turn of events, the Diamondbacks swept the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card round, setting the stage for an exciting showdown between these division rivals.
What does the tap on the head mean in baseball?
What does the tap on the head mean in baseball? This unique gesture is frequently employed by players to celebrate when things are going well for their team. It symbolizes a ‘slam dunk’ in basketball, a universally recognized sign of excellence in the sport.
What are the Dodgers dodging?
What are the Dodgers dodging? The club’s name has an interesting history dating back to 1896 when they were known as the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers. The story goes that extensive construction of electric trolley tracks near Eastern Park led fans to dodge these trolleys to get to the park safely. These fans became known as the "Trolley Dodgers," and the team adopted this name, which was later shortened to "Dodgers."
Who will Dodgers face in playoffs?
Who will the Dodgers face in the playoffs? It’s the Diamondbacks, set to square off in the best-of-five NLDS. Get ready for Game 1 at Dodger Stadium, scheduled for this Saturday.
Will the Dodgers make the playoffs this year?
Will the Dodgers secure a playoff spot this year? The 2023 MLB playoff field has been determined. The Atlanta Braves clinched their postseason berth first by winning the NL East. Shortly after, the Los Angeles Dodgers secured their spot as NL West champions, while the Milwaukee Brewers claimed the NL Central title.