In Part 1, we began a look back at the offensive fantasy history of the two teams in the 2014 MLB Opening Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers since the D-Backs first season in 1998. The Dodgers were the better team in three of the five standard categories heading into pitching.
Given that four players from these teams have combined for eight different NL Cy Young Awards since 1998, this should be an interesting battle.
It is important to note that even though we have five open starting spots and two open relief spots, there are no repeats allowed. So, each team will have seven different pitchers.
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers: SP
|Dodgers||Chan Ho Park||2001||234||183||91||91||218||15||0||3.50||1.171|
Analysis: I admittedly haven’t gone over this, but I doubt that any team could rival the Diamondbacks in wins and strikeouts over this stretch. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were just throwback pitchers with the number of innings they threw and games they finished.
Still, the Dodgers quintet of Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Brown, Odalis Perez (didn’t expect to see his name, did you?), Chan Ho Park, and Zack Greinke was actually good enough to fight Johnson, Schilling, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and Ian Kennedy to a 2-2 draw in the starting pitcher categories. The reverse of the hitting played itself out here, as Arizona was a lot closer to Los Angeles in the Dodgers wins than the Dodgers were to the D-Backs in their wins.
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers: RP
Analysis: Jose Valverde and J.J. Putz certainly had some good years in the desert, but Eric Gagne and Takashi Saito form a lethal duo. As a person who saw a lot of Gagne’s 2003 season, I’m a little surprised that his ERA was even that high. He didn’t put the complete body of work together as guys like Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley, but I’m not sure that anyone had a better three-year stretch than Gagne from 2002-2004, and 2003 was the best year. Throw in what Saito did, and I’m not sure many teams could rival this run.
Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers: Pitching
Analysis: The Diamondbacks are probably a little more complete, but the Dodgers win more categories. In a best-of-five series, if one team wins two games 10-0 and the other teams wins the other three 2-1, the team with the close wins gets the edge. That’s the case here.
Edge: The Dodgers have a 3-2 edge in the pitching categories. When you combine that with the 3-2 edge the Dodgers had in the offensive categories, they’ve had the better fantasy team from 1998 to the present day by a 6-4 margin.
I suppose that’s about right. I could imagine Dodgers fans may not be in love with the fact that many of their greats such as Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershieser, Fernando Valenzuela, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and many, many others were disqualified since they played before 1998. Even without them, they still win the fantasy edge over their opponents.
Enjoy the Opening Series.