It is hard to believe that the last series of the regular season begins tonight. It seems like only yesterday when the Diamondbacks were preparing for the season at their new spring training home at Talking Stick.
Arizona will face the Dodgers in these last three games. All the talk surrounding the LA this season has been more off the field than on it because of their pending ownership issues. Despite that, the Dodgers find themselves two games over the .500 mark after putting together a 15-8 record in September.
You can’t mention the Dodgers without discussing the years that Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw have put together. Both players are leaders in the MVP and Cy Young award discussion respectively despite Los Angeles being out of the playoff picture for the last couple of months now.
For awhile, Kemp was in position for winning the Triple Crown, but it looks like he is going to fall just short. Kemp is tied with Albert Pujols in home runs, leads the NL in runs driven in and is third in batting average behind Ryan Braun and Jose Reyes. Still a hell of a season nonetheless.
Kershaw has been just as important in the Dodgers owning better than a .500 record on the year. The stud left-hander is tied with Ian Kennedy in wins and leads the league in strikeouts and ERA. Kershaw has been exceptionally good the past couple of months. He has allowed four runs or more only once during the months of August and September.
Luckily for the Diamondbacks, Kershaw is done for the season and won’t be pitching in this series.
If it weren’t for Kemp and Kershaw, it is hard to see where the Dodgers would be. On offense, they are 22nd in runs scored and 23rd in runs in all of the game. You take away Kemp and the Dodgers have arguably the worst offense in all of baseball.
The Dodgers have the sixth best ERA in baseball thanks in large part to Kershaw as well as Hiroki Kuroda, who will be going in Game Two of this series. When those two aren’t on the mound, LA is throwing out guys like Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly to the mound. Both of them have ERA’s well over four. Career minor leaguer Dana Eveland will go in tonight’s game.
No matter what the Dodgers problems are or how many youngsters they will throw out there in the final three games of the season, you can expect them to play the Diamondbacks hard over these next couple of nights. Nothing would be better for them to ruin Arizona’s chances at getting homefield advantage in the NLDS.