Diamondbacks-Dodgers preview: David Peralta faces former team, Kershaw’s pitch count

Oct 7, 2023, 4:58 PM

David Peralta...

David Peralta #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two-RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The last time the Arizona Diamondbacks played in the National League Division Series in 2017, David Peralta was a staple in the outfield and the lineup.

The D-backs were swept by the Dodgers, and six years later, Peralta is on the other side of the rematch.

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers face each other in Game 1 of the NLDS on Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

Peralta is in his first season with Los Angeles after spending 2014-22 with Arizona. He kept his answer succinct on Saturday when asked what he remembers about the 2017 series.

“Losing against the Dodgers, that’s what I remember in ’17,” Peralta said. “Now I’m on this side. We’re going to do the same thing.”

Peralta said he’s approaching the series the same way he would against any opponent, despite the familiarity. Arizona traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays at the deadline last year and Los Angeles picked him up as a free agent.

The Dodgers slated him in the seven-hole as the starting left fielder in Game 1 against D-backs starter and longtime teammates of Peralta’s, Merrill Kelly.

“I don’t care who is over there,” Peralta said. “The D-Backs or another team, we just have to play the game. And when we step inside the lines, I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win.”

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo called Peralta a player he gravitated to over the 5.5 seasons they worked together.

He expressed how well Peralta connected with the Valley and became a fan favorite.

Lovullo has been close with a couple starters in the Dodgers’ lineup, including Mookie Betts from their time with the Boston Red Sox. Betts crashed Lovullo’s press conference on Friday to give him a hug.

“We try to figure out how to get them out at all times, but when I’m seeing them from afar and their having success and helping the team win, I get pretty excited for them,” Lovullo said.

Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw pitch limit vs. Diamondbacks

Future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw will make his 39th postseason appearances for the Dodgers on Saturday as the Game 1 starter. He missed more than a month of the season with a shoulder issue and has not throw more than 85 pitches in a game since he returned in August.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he’ll read and react to Kershaw’s outing but gave an estimate on his likely pitch count.

“I can’t see him going more than 85 pitches,” Roberts said. “But I think that playoff pitches, the stress, what his stuff is doing, I think that matters more than a hard pitch count. I don’t really have a hard pitch count, but I think that 75-85, I think that is fair for me as a guideline.”

Gabriel Moreno starting for D-backs

Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno was cleared to start for the D-backs on Saturday and he will bat fifth. Moreno was removed from Wednesday’s series-clinching D-backs victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round after getting hit in the helmet by a backswing.

Lovullo said Moreno has not experienced the dizziness or nausea he felt after getting hit since leaving Milwaukee.

“A major sigh of relief,” Lovullo said. “He’s an offensive-minded catcher who can separate it and go back behind the plate and do his job there and get dirty and throw runners out.

“We believe in our understudies, but he’s an impact player that we dearly needed for this series.”

Torey Lovullo explains D-backs’ roster move

The D-backs’ NLDS roster mirrors their NLWS roster almost exactly. The only change was substituting left-handed reliever Kyle Nelson in for right-hander Bryce Jarvis.

“We know the Dodgers well,” Lovullo said. “We understand the reason why they’re stacking their lefties. What it looks like, the first line of substitutions. The second line of substitutions.

“I just felt when I was talking to the front office about some versatility, to have that extra lefty would give me a little bit of an advantage with some of the moves.”

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Diamondbacks-Dodgers preview: David Peralta faces former team, Kershaw’s pitch count