Walker versus Kershaw
With the Diamondbacks blowing through their top two pitchers to win the play-in game on Wednesday it seems likely the Diamondbacks will turn to Taijuan Walker who wasn’t even on the play-in game roster. Something that MLB needs to correct. If you want to limit the advantage of the wild card team, they need to put in their 25-man roster for the play-in game and the NLDS. I would be saying this even if the Dodgers were in the play-in game. Jon Weisman back in 2016 put me onto the loophole of the play-in game 25 man roster.
Proposed: Wild Card teams should have to set 25-man roster now through Division Series, instead of picking 25 players for just one game.
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) October 4, 2016
On paper, this was the best possible outcome for the Dodgers as Robbie Ray loomed like a potential season killer if the Dodgers had to face him two times in a five-game series. Now it looks as though he will start game two but probably have a very short least, and hopefully, there won’t be a game five for him to complete his mastery over the Dodgers.
Taijuan Walker will be another young pitcher with a great future who had a good year that will be making his first postseason start. That has not bode well for the pitchers he will follow this postseason with Severino and Gray combining for only four outs, eleven hits, and seven earned runs as starters for their respective teams.
Clayton Kershaw needs to pitch well enough to beat Taijuan Walker for the Dodgers to have any chance in this series. If he can’t do that, he will need to beat Robbie Ray in a game five. It would be a good idea to do the former so he won’t have to deal with the latter. Actually, I think he has to do the former just so he will have a shot at the latter.
I have no idea what to expect from Kershaw. He will be facing a very potent offensive team, one that has more firepower than the Dodgers. The gauntlet of Goldy/Martinez/Lamb is somewhat offset by Lamb not being able to hit lefthanders, but Martinez and Goldy feast on them so I’ll call it a draw. Iannetta is no slouch and neither is Pollock. Against left-hand pitching there is not an easy out in the Diamondback lineup.
The Diamondbacks are built to beat the Dodgers strength, the left-handed heavy rotation.
Player Split Year HR PA BA OBP SLG OPS J.D. Martinez vs LHP 2017 6 65 .309 .400 .745 1.145 Nick Ahmed vs LHP 2017 2 53 .396 .453 .625 1.078 Paul Goldschmidt vs LHP 2017 10 162 .311 .422 .591 1.013 Chris Iannetta vs LHP 2017 6 94 .300 .404 .563 .967 A.J. Pollock vs LHP 2017 7 152 .277 .329 .525 .854 Brandon Drury vs LHP 2017 3 139 .271 .302 .436 .738 Ketel Marte vs LHP 2017 2 76 .242 .342 .379 .721 David Peralta vs LHP 2017 2 148 .269 .338 .373 .711 Jeff Mathis vs LHP 2017 1 54 .213 .315 .362 .677 Adam Rosales vs LHP 2017 2 59 .200 .237 .382 .619 Daniel Descalso vs LHP 2017 2 90 .169 .289 .299 .588 Jake Lamb vs LHP 2017 5 156 .144 .269 .288 .557 Gregor Blanco vs LHP 2017 1 63 .217 .242 .283 .525 Chris Herrmann vs LHP 2017 2 47 .156 .191 .311 .503 Rey Fuentes vs LHP 2017 0 22 .190 .227 .190 .418
However, Kershaw/Hill are not ordinary left-handers and it would behoove them to pitch like it.