The two best teams in the National League will close the 4th of the July in style for those of us betting baseball. Arizona makes the short trip over Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in a three-game series starting tonight.
Manager Dave Roberts club has been sizzling, winning 20 of their past 24 contests, yet, has only picked up two games in the standings on the Diamondbacks. Roberts will send out his ace Clayton Kershaw, looking to grab the series lead and with how these teams feel about each other, there could be fireworks during the game along with afterwards.
Tonight’s tilt features a pair of left-handers, one still the best in the game and the other trying to rekindle the magic. For Patrick Corbin (6-7, 4.76 ERA), 2013 seems like a lifetime ago. That was his first full season as a starter and he was 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA. The following spring he was taking over as the ace of Arizona, then blew out his elbow and missed all of 2014. He actually threw fairly well in 2015 in 16 starts, but nothing close since. Corbin lacks that third pitch to be an ace, as his fastball does not have the movement it used to, while the slider is still deadly. Plain and simple, he gives up more than a hit an inning, unable to go through the batting order three times without getting batted around. Corbin is 3-8 with a 4.58 ERA against the Dodgers as a starter.
For those who have nothing better to do than nitpick, yes, Kershaw (12-2, 2.32) has already surrendered a career-high in home runs with 17. Nevertheless, let’s look at the whole package. His ERA, WHIP and batting average allowed are all at or below career norms. Kershaw’s walks conceded are typical (as in very few) and he’s on pace for his second-largest strikeout total. Thus, when Superman is not perfect every day, some people wonder why. Kershaw is 13-8, with 2.66 ERA vs. Arizona.