2017 NLDS Game 3 Preview: Austin Barnes Starts, Dodgers Go For Sweep...

2017 NLDS Game 3 Preview: Austin Barnes Starts, Dodgers Go For Sweep Of Diamondbacks

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With a win on Monday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers will sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series and advance to the NL Championship Series for the second consecutive year.

The two clubs have combined for 27 runs and seven home runs over the first two contests of the series, but the pitching matchup in Game 3 looks to calm things down on the offensive side. The Dodgers have won each of their last seven potential series-clinching games on the road and hope that trend continues when they send Yu Darvish to the mound.

Darvish is making his third career postseason start and first with Los Angeles. In 11.2 combined innings as a member of the Texas Rangers, he posted a 5.40 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 11 strikeouts to one walk.

In nine starts with the Dodgers this season, Darvish pitched to a 3.44 ERA, 3.38 FIP and 1.15 WHIP in 49.2 innings with 11.1 strikeouts per nine.

The right-hander ended his regular season on a strong note, giving up just one run over his final 19.1 innings (three starts). During that span, Darvish yielded nine hits and one walk — good for a minuscule 0.52 WHIP.

Darvish has just three career starts under his belt against the Diamondbacks, with his most recent one coming in August. In that outing, he allowed five hits and two runs over five innings with 10 strikeouts.

He’s yet to face the Diamondbacks since implementing mechanical changes, which Darvish believes may give him an advantage in Game 3.

Taking the mound for Arizona is old friend Zack Greinke, who struggled against the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game. Over just 3.2 innings, he allowed six hits and four runs with one strikeout.

Greinke allowed 10 runs over his final eight innings of the regular season (11.25 ERA), but otherwise had an excellent campaign. In 202.1 innings, he posted a 3.20 ERA, 3.31 FIP and 1.07 WHIP with 215 strikeouts to 45 walks.

In his career against the Dodgers, he owns a 3.74 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over 67.1 innings (11 starts) with an 8.8 strikeouts per nine ratio.

Justin Turner has dominated at the plate in the early going, slashing .500/.600/.875 with one home run and five RBI in 10 plate appearances. In 12 NLDS games since 2015, he’s 20-for-52 (.385) with six doubles and two homers.

What’s more, Turner has reached base safely in 17 of his last 18 postseason games dating back to Oct. 9, 2015 and owns the highest batting average (.455) in NLDS history.

Of note for the Dodgers, Austin Barnes is making the start behind the plate. He spent much of this season only starting against a left-handed pitcher. Elsewhere, Chase Utley makes his 2017 postseason debut.

J.D. Martinez, one of baseball’s hottest hitters since joining Arizona in July, is batting .500/.500/.875 with four hits during the NLDS — including a home run in Game 1 against Clayton Kershaw. The Diamondbacks’ lineup is the same from their Game 2 loss.

“I feel like this group, the whole team does, but this group in particular links things together very, very well, and I thought it was the best chance for us to score runs,” manager Torey Lovullo explained.

Dodgers lineup:

CF: Chris Taylor
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
1B: Cody Bellinger
RF: Yasiel Puig
C: Austin Barnes
LF: Curtis Granderson
2B: Chase Utley
P: Yu Darvish

Diamondbacks lineup:

LF: David Peralta
SS: Ketel Marte
1B: Paul Goldschmidt
RF: J.D. Martinez
3B: Jake Lamb
CF: A.J. Pollock
2B: Daniel Descalso
C: Jeff Mathis
P: Zack Greinke