Diamondbacks @ Dodgers May 18, 2022: Looking for a four-game sweep

Winners of four straight games after dropping five of six games to the state Pennsylvania, the Dodgers are going for a four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks and continuing to push them further under .500 as the NL West has lost its ability to claim that all five of its teams are above .500 (though the Rockies have also hurt that now).

Adding on a three-game sweep from last September and a pair of wins to end a series in July, a win this afternoon would make it nine straight in Los Angeles against Arizona. Adding in an 8-2 record in 2020, a 16-3 record in 2021 and a 4-2 record this season, that’s 28-7 over the past two+ seasons with another four-game series in Phoenix next week.

Image Image
1:10 PM Los Angeles
C Varsho (L) RF Betts
3B Rojas (L) 1B Freeman (L)
RF Smith (L) SS T. Turner
1B Walker C Smith
LF Peralta (L) 3B Muncy (L)
DH Hummel (S) DH J. Turner
SS Perdomo (S) CF Bellinger (L)
CF Thomas (L) LF Taylor
2B Hager 2B Lux (L)
P Davies (R) P Buehler (R)

It’s Walker Buehler vs. Zach Davies to end the series this afternoon.

Buehler won the lone game in Arizona back in April, throwing his first career complete game shutout while Davies is seven starts into his first season with his home state team.

Davies faced the Dodgers in Phoenix on April 26, the day after Buehler’s shutout, and “held” the Dodgers to 3 runs in 4 IP, walking 4 and allowing 3 hits. Two of those walks and a single by Max Muncy loaded the bases for Will Smith, who is in the lineup this afternoon, with a ball sent to right-center for all three runs. From there, Davies allowed four more baserunners over the next three innings but a pair of double plays and a pickoff at second base kept the Dodgers off the scoreboard.

Pitching in Chicago during the 2021 season, San Diego for 2020 and Milwaukee for the first five years of his career, Davies is pretty familiar to the Dodgers. You may remember him allowing four runs in 5 IP back in the 2020 postseason as the Padres lost Game 2 of the Divisional Series to the Dodgers.

Through his 7 starts and 35 1/3 IP this season, Davies is at a 3.57 ERA/3.88 FIP/4.06 xFIP/4.37 SIERA with a 19.3 K% slightly up from his career average and a 48.5 GB% the highest for him since 2017. A pretty steep jump in FanGraphs’ Soft Contact%, at 22.5 from last year’s 14.8% and his career average of 17.5%, may be coming from the fact that his cutter’s exit velo is at 72.6 mph from 86.2 mph a year ago and his curve is at 74.4 mph from 85.3 mph last year.

Neither pitch is used a ton, with the cutter almost exclusively to lefties at 7.7% and the curve primarily to righties at 4.7%, but the numers seemed to stand out. The D-backs have him using his change slightly more often, and it’s been much more effective overall so far this season while also keeping a pretty strong Whiff% of 35.7. Of Davies 28 strikeouts this season, 17 have come with the changeup.

——

A few updates from the beat today, primarily on the state of the rotation.

It appears as though Julio Urias is in line to start on Friday, TBA (bullpen) on Saturday and Tony Gonsolin on Sunday.

——

Unfortunately, there’s a COVID outbreak among the Dodgers’ broadcasting team and they will not be heading out on the road for the next two series.

Hopefully everyone recovers quickly. As of now, no one on the roster or coaching/training staff has shown any symptoms.

——

First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM and will be shown on Sportsnet LA or unfortunately Bally Sports Arizona if you are in this state like I am.

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He now works for the university’s athletics department after spending seven years with the local newspaper.