Record: 21-9. Pace: 113.5 - 48.5 (that’s for you ISH). Change on 2017: +4.
Before we get started:
Dave Roberts: “Tonight is the night it turns.”— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) May 2, 2018
It is evident that Dave Roberts is grasping for anything to jumpstart his struggling ball club before the Diamondbacks’ division lead grows any larger. Therefore, when Dodger lefty starter Hyun-Jin Ryu exited the game with a groin strain after retiring the first batter of the 2nd inning, it appeared that tonight most certainly would not be the night it turned for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles got out to an early lead in this one. After retiring the first batter faced, Zack Godley surrendered a double to Alex Verdugo followed by a walk to Yasmani Grandal. Cody Bellinger drove Verdugo in from 2nd base with a single to right field. Needing to limit the damage there Godley induced a double play on the first pitch to Matt Kemp to end the inning allowing only one run to score.
David Peralta was back in the starting lineup after a pinch hit appearance on Tuesday because he was hit by a pitch on his right wrist on Monday. During his first plate appearance, he lost the grip of his bat on a swing. It did not appear to be related to the wrist as he quickly adjusted his batting glove to suggest that it was loose. He drew a lead off walk, but Nick Ahmed and Paul Goldschmidt failed to advance him. However, NL Player of the Month for April, A.J. Pollock, was able to push the Freight Train to third with a single down the left field line to put runners on the corners with two outs. Chris Owings struck out to end the inning unable to even the score.
As mentioned above, the Dodgers starting pitcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu, had to be lifted in the 2nd inning having retired the first batter of the inning. On his second pitch of the at bat to Deven Marrero, he hobbled awkwardly after planting to make the pitch. The training staff came out to check on him, and he was in clear discomfort after throwing one light effort evaluation pitch. Ryu limped into the dugout, so Dave Roberts was forced to go to his bullpen early and call upon Pedro Baez. Baez entered the game having not thrown more than an inning and a third in a single appearance this season. Good news for the Diamondbacks, right? Wrong. Los Angeles’ bullpen combined to pitch 7 & 2⁄3 innings allowing only one run, five hits, nine strikeouts and three walks in this one.
Arizona had plenty of opportunities to tie the game and even take the lead before all was said and done. They had the bases loaded with one out in the 4th inning after a double, single, and walk from Pollock, Owings, and Marte respectively. Baez was able to strike out Marrero on three pitches and induce a pop out from John Ryan Murphy to squash that threat. Murphy had a two out ground rule double off of Tony Cingrani in the 7th to bring right handed slugger Christian Walker to the plate as a pinch hitter. He was unable to replicate his monster home run from last night and struck out looking, the Diamondbacks’ first run evading them still.
Godley continued a trend this season of producing an attractive box score by not giving up an extreme amount of earned runs, but that would serve as a mirage against his continued inability to find the strike zone with consistency. Only 56 of his 100 pitches in this game were strikes. Thankfully, he had his ground ball working for him when it mattered by registering three double plays to end an inning, once with the bases loaded.
T.J. McFarland came on in for relief in the 8th inning, likely ruling him out for the start on Friday for the injured lefty Robbie Ray. He gave up a one out double to Verdugo, his second of the game, and allowed him to advance to third on a wild pitch. A sac fly from Grandal made it 2-0 Dodgers, but McFarland was able to avoid any further scoring in the inning.
Arizona had another opportunity to get on the board in the 8th with a lead off double from David Peralta, suggesting that the wrist is indeed just fine. Ahmed moved him over to third with a fly out, and Paul Goldschmidt walked to reach base for the first time in the game to put runners on the corners for Pollock. Pollock hit one right on the button, but unfortunately it was hit right at Kike Hernandez who was able to convert the double play to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen was brought in for the 9th looking for only his fourth save of the season. He notched the first two outs of the inning quickly on ground outs from Chris Owings and Ketel Marte (his third of the game). Daniel Descalso took a walk in a pinch hit appearance. With the Diamondbacks down to their final out and at risk of being shutout for the first time this season, John Ryan Murphy drove in Descalso from second, who had advanced to second on defensive indifference, with a single to left field. Dyson came in to pinch run for Murphy and quickly stole second to represent the tying run. Alex Avilia was in to pinch hit and hit a long fly ball to left field, but it was caught at the warning track to end the game.
So indeed it did turn for the Dodgers tonight, that being their relievers’ ability to avoid giving up runs. One night after riding out the Clayton Kershaw storm to jump on their bullpen for the victory. Such is baseball. Arizona will attempt to win its tenth consecutive series tomorrow during a matinee finale.
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