Following a thrilling Wild Card win over the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks are headed to the National League Division Series for the first time in six years.
Awaiting them is their National League West division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who posted the best record in baseball during the regular season. The good news: The D-backs are 11-8 vs. the Dodgers this year, including a current six-game winning streak.
Can the D-backs keep the momentum going as they prepare to open their series in L.A. on Friday night? Here are ABC15's predictions for the best-of-five matchup.
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
Expectation vs. momentum. The Dodgers are fresh off one of their greatest regular seasons in team history. The Diamondbacks are fresh off one of their greatest wins in team history. In many cases, the latter has proved to be more effective in October.
How many times have we seen the “hottest” team hoist the trophy rather than the “best” team? Not to mention, the D-backs head into the NLDS with momentum against the Dodgers, sweeping LA in their final two series of the season.
Prediction: Zack Greinke takes a page out of Lloyd Christmas’s book and totally redeems himself. Players of his caliber (and paygrade) don’t have two bad outings in a row (at least they shouldn’t). Goldschmidt returns to MVP form, J.D. Martinez drops a few more dingers, and the Dodgers do what they do -- disappoint their fans in the postseason.
Diamondbacks in four games
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
Everything the Diamondbacks do well, the Dodgers do a little bit better. The D-backs were the second-best team in the National League this season in both starting pitcher ERA and bullpen ERA; the Dodgers were No. 1 in both categories. The D-backs hit a team-record 220 home runs this year; the Dodgers hit 221.
The key to this series for Arizona could be J.D. Martinez, who's one of baseball's best hitters vs. left-handed pitchers. The D-backs will rely on Martinez to come through against the Dodgers' lefty trio of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood, who will likely start four out of five games in this series if it goes the distance.
Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and is likely to win it again this year, but he's looked human since returning to the rotation following a back injury. However, he's owned the D-backs during his time in LA, including in two starts this season (one earned run allowed in 15 1/3 innings pitched). If the Dodgers get more of the same from Kershaw in this series, the D-backs' incredible 2017 run will soon come to an end.
Dodgers in five games