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Arizona Diamondbacks 5, Los Angeles 8: Robbie Ray throws it away

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The return of the 2016 version of Robbie Ray happened at the worst possible time.

Divisional Round - Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

So, how do we feel now about using Robbie Ray in relief for the wild-card game? It’s hard not to feel that the appearance had an impact on his performance this evening in Los Angeles, where he continued the recent painful struggles of our rotation. What was a monumental strength in the regular season has become an Achilles’ Heel in the three playoff games so far. Here are the lines of our starting pitchers:

  • Wild-card game, Greinke: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
  • NLDS 1, Walker: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
  • NLDS 2, Ray: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
  • TOTAL: 9 IP, 14 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 7 BB, 10 SO

While there’s certainly a consistency about the number of runs allowed - four by each man - that’s an ERA of 12.00 for our starting pitchers in the post-season so far, and an average of three innings thrown. At the risk of returning to the “Stating the Obvious 1.0.1.” class from last night, that isn’t a recipe for likely success.

And it had started an awful lot better than last night, too. With one out in the top of the first, A.J. Pollock had walked, and Paul Goldschmidt proceeded to give the D-backs their first lead of the Division Series, with a 430-foot home-run to the left-field bleachers, quieting the Dodger Stadium crowd:

Unfortunately, that was the high point of the game for the Diamondbacks. They had some chances to break through further in the early innings against Rich Hill. A lead-off single from Jake Lamb in the second; two on with one out in the third, courtesy of a Goldschmidt walk and J.D. Martinez single. But as yesterday, Arizona were not able to get the hits with runners in scoring position: they have managed just one such over the first two games of the series combined. In contrast, Los Angeles had five last night, and five more tonight. We’re batting .125 with RISP; the Dodgers .333.

The problems on the other side of the ball were no less apparent, as Robbie Ray reverted to the wild pitcher of intermittent effectiveness he was in 2016. He walked three through the first two innings, and a wild pitch in the second frame led to Los Angeles trimming the deficit in half, one of those walks coming in to score on a groundout. In the fourth inning, another wild pitch allowed the Dodgers to tie the game, and an infield single gave them the lead. Ray was done, one out into the fifth inning. As noted above, it was four earned runs on four hits and four walks, with three wild pitches. Ray had never previously thrown more than one in any outing.

The struggles of the usually reliable members of our bullpen is another theme. Tonight, it was Jimmie Sherfy’s turn to struggle. He came in to relieve Ray, and failed to retire a batter, allowing three hits instead. Jorge De La Rosa ignominiously relieved Sherfy, and finally escaped the inning, though not before allowing the runner he inherited from Sherfy to score. That was the fourth Los Angeles man to cross the plate, and the Diamondbacks found themselves at the bottom of the well once more, now staring up at a 7-2 Dodgers’ lead after five innings, though Hill had been chased from the mound.

As last night, the team was not dead yet. While the sixth inning was quiet, the seventh started off with singles by Jake Lamb and Ketel Marte. Brandon Drury came off the bench to hit for De La Rosa, and the Dodgers went to their set-up man, Brandon Morrow. Drury won that battle, ambushing the first pitch from Morrow 422 feet for a three-run homer. [All nine runs the Diamondbacks have scored this series have come by way of the long-ball, from five different hitters] It was the third post-season pinch-hit HR in team history, the others being by Erubiel Durazo, in Game 5 of the 2001 NLCS, and Turner Ward, in Game 3 of the 1999 NLDS.

That would, however, be the last hurrah for Arizona. Archie Bradley was used for the seventh and eighth innings, and allowed a run on an error by Ketel Marte, when he let a hard-hit smash get right through him. A one-out double in the eighth by Daniel Descalso brought the tying run the on-deck circle. Unfortunately, it also brought Kenley Jansen out of the Dodgers’ bullpen for a five-out save opportunity, which he converted into a save with absolutely no fuss. He retired the last five D-backs’ hitters, three by the save, and the Dodgers will take a 2-0 lead on the flight to Arizona, for Game 3 on Monday.

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Paul Goldschmidt, +18.0%
Heinrich Himmler: Jimmie Sherfy, -22.6%
Simon Cowell: Ray, -19.5%: Peralta, -11.2%

Thanks to those in the GDT, led by Xerostomia’s 107 comments. Full rollcall was: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BigSmarty, Brandon Winchester, DORRITO, DeadManG, DesertWeagle, Diamondhacks, Fangdango, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Juvi Juice, LOLBochy, LambChop85, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, Mr Butterworth, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, RMHSVoice, Re Tired, SongBird, Sprankton, The so-called Beautiful, TinySarabia, Xerostomia, aldma, asteroid, coldblueAZ, datr22, edbigghead, gamepass, hotclaws, luckycc, noblevillain, samath, shoewizard, smartplays, and soco.

Comment of the night to Sprankton, for his note-perfect imitation of the shameless bias of the TBS commentators - which, it turns out, is unimpacted by the score, as I was assured was the case last night...

Fortunately, we had better things to do at OHSO. Specifically, in my case, beer, a pastrami sandwich and a rather lethal chocolate cake. Thanks to the asteroids, edbigghead, edbigghead jr and John the lurker - who promised to delurk in the comments here! - for joining us. Shame the game couldn’t quite live up to the company. Here’s to better things on Monday, when Zack Greinke will take the mound for the D-backs, who will put their perfect record in elimination games at Chase Field on the line once again.