Tommy Henry to Begin Challenging Series vs Dodgers

The left-hander will face a gauntlet of dangerous hitters as the Dodgers come to Chase Field.
Apr 23, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Tommy Henry (47)
Apr 23, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Tommy Henry (47) / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks will begin a three-game set against their NL West rivals and powerhouse superteam Los Angeles Dodgers tonight. First pitch is at 6:40 PM. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since the D-backs swept the Dodgers in dominant fashion in the 2023 NLDS.

Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker reflected on Arizona's postseason matchup with the Dodgers last season.

"It was great. A really good team to take a series when it meant the most to us. I feel like that team, in the public's eye, has the upper hand on us, and to play them as tough as we could at the end was good, I was proud of the guys," Walker said.

Walker emphasized that the D-backs prepare for every team the same, and while the Dodgers may be one of MLB's exceptional squads, it would be "irresponsible" to prepare differently for teams that might appear lesser than the loaded LA team.

"We understand how good they's not really about who a team is on the year, or what their record's going to be at the end of the year. At any given time, anybody can beat anybody, and that's how you have to prepare," Walker said.

Arizona is looking to right their currently struggling offense and get back to the .500 mark, but the road doesn't get any easier with a couple of potentially unfavorable matchups with LA on the docket. Tonight, the first of those contests will feature young left-hander Tommy Henry on the mound for the Snakes.

Henry has made five major league starts this season, pitching to an unsightly 5.55 ERA and 1.60 WHIP over 24 1/3 innings. He was sent down to Triple-A Reno after a particularly bad outing against the Chicago Cubs, but injuries to RHPs Merrill Kelly and Ryne Nelson necessitated a swift return.

Henry will certainly have his hands full with the top of the Dodgers' order. The Big Three atop LA's order is hitting about as well as could be expected--if not more so. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani are all hitting above .300 on the season. Betts is slashing an astonishing .387/.482/.655, while Ohtani also sports an above-1.000 OPS.

While Arizona's offense has been lackluster, starters Slade Cecconi and Brandon Pfaadt have delivered back-to-back Quality Starts, and Zac Gallen looked as if he was on his way toward one, but had to leave in the sixth inning with a hamstring cramp. Henry will look to continue this trend but must be very sharp in the face of such competition. LA's hitters rarely miss mistake pitches, so Henry cannot afford to leave balls over the plate.

Across from Henry will be Dodgers left-hander James Paxton. Paxton has pitched to a 2.61 ERA this season, but his 5.84 FIP suggests he might have been the benefit of good defense and batted ball luck.

Starting lineups for the Los Angeles Dodgers (18-12) and Arizona Diamondbacks (13-16) on April 29, 2024 at Chase Field.
Starting Lineups for the Los Angeles Dodgers (18-12) and Arizona Diamondbacks (13-16) on April 29, 2024 at Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona. / Alex D'Agostino

The Dodgers are staying true to their tradition of their top three hitters, but will sprinkle in a handful of righties to combat the left-handed Henry.

The D-backs lineup will look a little different, although Arizona will also load up on right-handed hitters against the southpaw Paxton. The hot-hitting Blaze Alexander will take a shot in the lead-off spot, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., will follow him in the 2-hole. Notably, Gurriel has had plenty of success against Paxton, with a .308 average and 1.323 OPS, including a walk, two doubles and two home runs. RF Randal Grichuk also has four hits in his career against Paxton, including a home run.

Corbin Carroll continues to slump, and will hit down in the eighth spot as he looks to get back on track at the plate. The D-backs desperately need production from the reigning NLROY, and from their offense as a whole, as Arizona managed to score just five runs over the three-game series in Seattle, and it's safe to assume that kind of production is a recipe for disaster against the high-powered Dodgers.

Alex D'Agostino


Born and raised in the desert, Alex is a lifelong follower of Arizona sports. Alex also writes for Sports Illustrated/FanNation's All Cardinals, and previously covered the Diamondbacks for FanSided's VenomStrikes. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexDagAZ