I loooove baseball, and I loooove gambling on sports. I also love combining the two come playoff time. Typically, I search for underdogs in a series. This is for a couple of reasons. One, we get better odds with underdogs but also because the playoffs are *somewhat* random. Does game strategy and the ability to perform under pressure matter? Obviously, just look at the Cleveland Indians last year. The decision to use Andrew Miller in the middle of games (before anyone else thought to do this) was a major reason the team made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
In a 162 game regular season will the better teams likely wind up with the better records? I would say so, but in a five or seven game series anything can happen. Anyone can get a little lucky and get hot at the right time. This takes us to the Diamondbacks, who just yesterday clinched home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game. Should they win that game (likely pitched by Zack Greinke) they will face the Dodgers in the NLDS, and aside from "randomness" there are some reasons to think they could #BeatLA.
The Dodgers epic losing streak to begin September isn't a huge deal, at least I don't think. The 2006 Cardinals limped to October in a terrible slump and won it all. Still, that's just one example, and people would certainly be feeling better about the Dodgers if they entered the tournament red-hot. Isn't that why we're all so high on the Indians right now? Anyways, part of what made the Dodgers so great this year was their insane pitching depth. Yes they have Clayton Kershaw (and now they have Yu Darvish too) but what allowed them to remain so remarkably consistent for so long was having 7-8 legit big league starters they could cycle through. That depth matters less in the playoffs.
Additionally, the team's best position player is slumping hard right now, and there are whispers he's dealing with a lingering elbow injury. Since Corey Seager's first missed game with the issue on August 28th (he's since returned) the 23-year-old shortstop is batting .159 with a 23 wRC+, which means he's been 77% worse than league average. Justin Turner suffered a bruised left thumb last week (never a good sign), and Cody Bellinger is as streaky as they come. It's conceivable to envision this lineup going completely cold against good pitching, which the Diamondbacks have (3rd best starters ERA in baseball).
The Diamondbacks actually won their season series against LA, so it's not as if they'll be intimidated by a group that was on track to become "the best team ever". They'll think they can (and maybe should) win. They have two plus starters in Greinke and Robbie Ray to match Kershaw and Darvish. Yes, Greinke will have to pitch the Wild Card game, which leaves Ray with NLDS game one, but he has been great against the Dodgers this year. In five starts and 31 2/3 innings, Ray has allowed just 8 earned runs, good for a 2.27 ERA.
The Diamondbacks also have Paul Goldschmidt, who is a top five player in baseball, and has been for years. There's still a week left in the regular season and I have to look into things more, but my early thoughts are that he's my NL MVP choice. As September draws to a close Goldy has 36 homers, 120 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, and a .306/.412/.579 triple slash line. Then there's JD Martinez, who has absolutely raked since being acquired by the Tigers. The trade deadline acquisition seemed to be a good move for Zona at the time, but now it's looking like a steal. In 57 games with the D'Backs, Martinez has an INSANE 27 homers with 58 RBIs.
Remember when Manny first got traded to the Dodgers in 2008 and he went nuts down the stretch? He only hit 17 homers with LA, 10 less than J-Mart currently has. This makes it fitting that it was Martinez who got the walk-off hit to clinch home field advantage in the NL Wild Card game yesterday:
This just looks like a fun fucking team who most people are sleeping on since they're never on prime time or receive much national recognition. They're coming into the playoffs with a little momentum and nothing to lose, and if they make it to the NLDS they're guaranteed to have even more momentum from winning the Wild Card game. I'm not saying the D'Backs will definitely beat the Dodgers (you know, because of randomness), but they check a lot of the boxes for underdogs who can "make some noise" come October.