Many circled this National League Division Series between the Dodgers and D-backs as one that could surprise people. But to this point, Los Angeles' offense has shaken off the rust and displayed the relentlessness that spurred the club to the Majors' best regular-season record.
The Dodgers' 8-5 win on Saturday night gave them a commanding 2-0 lead over their NL West rivals heading to Arizona, and Los Angeles has never blown a 2-0 lead in a five-game postseason series. The D-backs will have a lot of work to do, but the task is not impossible. Remember, Arizona won the final six regular-season meetings between these two clubs; the winning formula is out there.
Before these two clubs square off again in the desert, here are five things to know about the Dodgers' Game 2 win:
1. Paul Goldschmidt began Saturday's game with a bang, cranking a 108.6-mph home run with a projected distance of 430 feet to left field, according to Statcast™. Goldy's homer is already the 11th blast in the first inning of a postseason game this fall, tying 2008 for the fifth-most first-inning homers hit in any postseason in history. The record for most first-inning home runs in one postseason is 19, set in '04.
2. Control was an issue all night for D-backs starter Robbie Ray, who had fared well against L.A. in the regular season, but also possessed one of the higher walks rates among starters.On Saturday night, the struggle went beyond bases on balls, as Ray threw three wild pitches, tied for the second-most ever in a postseason game. Four other pitchers have thrown three wild pitches in a postseason start, including the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in the 2009 NLCS, Tommy John, Juan Guzman, and most recently Yovani Gallardo (2011 NLCS). The record for most wild pitches thrown in a playoff game belongs to Rick Ankiel, who famously threw five in Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS.
Guzman and Ray are the only pitchers to throw at least three wild pitches and also hit a batter in a postseason start.
3. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled starter Rich Hill after four innings with a chance to jump on Ray, as Hill's turn in the lineup was due up in the fourth. Abbreviated starts are nothing new for Hill over his postseason career. Four of his five career playoff starts have lasted shorter than five innings, but Hill's team has now won three of those five games.
4. Justin Turner went 1-for-4 on Saturday, but that one hit was enough to make him the 11th Dodger in franchise history to record a postseason hit streak of at least eight games. Turner's career .455 batting average in Division Series games is the highest of any player in history with a minimum of 25 plate appearances in LDS contests.
5. Kenley Jansen was asked to record a five-out save Saturday, and the Dodgers' All-World closer came through as usual. Jansen's save in Game 2 marked the fourth save of at least four outs that he's recorded in his postseason career, following Games 1 and 2 of the 2016 NLCS against the Dodgers, and Game 4 of the 2015 NLDS against the Mets. No other pitcher in the Dodgers' long and storied history has ever recorded more than two postseason saves of at least four outs.