The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers wrap up their four game series in California on Sunday with a pair of well-traveled veteran starting pitchers looking for a strong start to 2023.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-180, 9)
After spending much of the 2022 season in Los Angeles, Noah Syndergaard is back, only this time on the other side of the city as he began last season with the Los Angeles Angels before ending the season with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Syndergaard’s strikeout numbers were down in 2022, registering a 10-10 record with a 3.94 ERA and 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings after logging a 47-31 record with a 3.32 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings in six seasons with the New York Mets.
Part of the explanation for the drop off is that Syndergaard was coming off of pitching a total of two innings between the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to Tommy John Surgery and typically the second full year after the surgery is when a player returns to their old form.
For the Diamondbacks, Zach Davies will look to build off of a strong second half of the season, posting a 3.66 ERA and .235 opponents batting average in his final 17 starts of the 2022 season after registering a 4.84 ERA and .250 opponents batting average the first 10 starts of the season.
There also should be more bullpen support for Davies that last season, as he recorded a lot of no decisions with a 2-5 record despite making 27 starts. After ranking 25th in the league in bullpen ERA last season, the team signed Andrew Chafin and Miguel Castro to help in the backend.
While the Dodgers experienced some offseason loses with Justin Turner going to the Boston Red Sox and Gavin Lux suffering a season-ending ACL injury in the offseason, most of the teams losses came at the expense of the offense.
While these losses will affect a Dodgers offense that led the league in runs per game with 5.2, a bullpen that led the National League in ERA at 2.87 last season is largely the same aside from Craig Kimbrel going to the Philadelphia Phillies after posting a 3.75 ERA with five blown saves on 27 opportunities last season.
The Dodgers should expect Syndergaard to be closer to his pre-Tommy John Surgery and with the lineup missing a number of pieces from last season, it sets up for a Sunday pitcher’s duel at Dodger Stadium.
The Play: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers Under 9