Dodgers @ Diamondbacks April 29, 2024: Paxton opens the series as Dodgers return to scene of NLDS sweep

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers saw their six-game winning streak snap in the finale in Toronto. The bullpen game actually went pretty decently as Michael Grove was the only pitcher to allow any runs (three, in the second inning). However, the Dodgers couldn’t figure out Kevin Gausman and Toronto’s defense made enough plays to hold on to a 3-1 victory.

It was still a much better week for the Dodgers, who return west to Arizona to kick of their first meeting with the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers in the NLDS last season en route to a World Series appearance. The series never really felt in reach for the Dodgers despite two of the three games ending with a score of 4-2. Arizona scored nine runs in the first two innings of game one and four in the first inning of game two. In the decisive third game in Arizona, they hit four solo homers in the third inning off Lance Lynn and ended the Dodgers’ season.

This season has been a struggle for the Diamondbacks (13-16). Merrill Kelly is expected to be out until late May at the earliest with a shoulder strain, and Eduardo Rodriguez has yet to make his Arizona debut after suffering a lat strain in Spring Training. He’s on the 60-Day IL and can’t return until May 25. Reigning Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll is also struggling, as he has a .531 OPS and more strikeouts than hits so far. Arizona hasn’t won any of their last four series (three series losses and a four-game split), but when they win they tend to win big. Their +29 run differential is the third-best in the NL and they’ve won games 17-1, 16-1 and 14-1 already this season.

6:40 P.M. Phoenix
2B Betts DH Alexander
DH Ohtani (L) LF Gurriel Jr.
1B Freeman (L) 2B Marte (S)
C Smith 1B Walker
RF T. Hernández 3B Suarez
3B Muncy (L) RF Grichuk
LF K. Hernández C Moreno
CF Pages CF Carroll (L)
SS Rojas SS Newman
P Paxton (L) P Henry (L)

James Paxton makes his fifth start of the season and looks to get back on track. He’s done a pretty good job of preventing runs, but it’s been ugly in his last two starts. After allowing three runs and eight walks in his start against the Padres, he got the ball in DC and failed to complete the fifth inning. He only ended up allowing one run, five hits and three walks, but needed 89 pitches to get through 4 2/3. Paxton has always been a strikeout pitcher, but has only struck out one batter in each of his last two games and only 11 overall in 2024. His 12.4 percent strikeout rate is the fifth-lowest among all pitchers with 20+ innings pitched. Not a great matchup tonight, as Arizona has the third-best strikeout rate among all teams (19.2 percent). Today is the first time Paxton has faced the Diamondbacks in his 11-year career somehow.

Tommy Henry gets the ball for Arizona tonight. He made nine starts in 2022 and 16 (and one relief appearance) in 2023, but has yet to face the Dodgers. He had a 4.57 ERA/5.23 FIP in 136 career innings entering this season, but has struggled out of the gate. He has a 5.55 ERA/4.58 FIP and has a 1.603 WHIP in 24 1/3 innings so far. A lot of that damage came in two of his five starts. In his season debut, Henry allowed five runs and six hits in four innings. In his fourth start, he allowed five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. In his other three starts, he’s allowed five earned runs (six runs total). He’s coming off his best start of the season in St. Louis, where he allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He allowed a run in the first, but settled in and watched his offense score 14 runs in his six innings, which likely helped him pitch a bit more freely. Over his career, Henry has been a reverse splits pitcher. Righties are OPSing .767 off him while lefties are OPSing .868. In 2024, righties are OPSing .907 and lefties .843.

It could be a tracking issue, but Baseball Savant has Henry throwing a sinker 20.9 percent of the time and a four-seamer 28.2 percent of the time. He’d only thrown one pitch classified as a sinker before this season in the Majors and his four-seamer was thrown about 50 percent of the time in both of his other seasons. The pitches classified as sinker have averaged 90.4 MPH and 21.6 inches of drop while his four-seamers have averaged 90.3 MPH and only 17.5 inches of drop. Henry also mixes in a curveball (24.1 percent), changeup (18.5 percent) and slider (8.3 percent) of the time.

Max Muncy gets the start against the lefty with Enrique Hernandez in left and Chris Taylor on the bench. Carroll hits eighth for the Diamondbacks for only the second time in the last two seasons (the first being Saturday).


Jason Heyward was initially supposed to meet the team in Arizona. That isn’t happening.

Heyward potentially has yet to be cleared to start baseball activities. That should give more time for Andy Pages to show what he can do. He’s posted a .302/.326/.535 line through his first 11 games. He also hasn’t drawn a walk yet, he’s just like me in MLB The Show fr fr.


First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PT and will be shown on SportsNet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.