I was a huge fan of DBacksEurope’s guest recap recently, so I’m going to steal a quick page out of his book without completely robbing him of his style.
Although this is a reasonable assumption, many times we have groaned after the D’backs are stymied by a rookie starter, it wouldn’t be the case today. Tony Gonsolin made his MLB debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers and was knocked around for four runs before recording even a single out. I use the word “knocked” lightly because the first three D’backs didn’t even manage to get the ball out of the infield. Jarrod Dyson opened up the contest with a beautifully placed bunt to the left side of the infield for a single and then stole second base shortly thereafter. Tim Locastro followed with a bouncer to Joc Pederson at first base. Locastro was called safe on a head first slide because Gonsolin could not cover the bag quick enough placing runners on the corners with no outs. Like his speedy outfield partner, Locastro also stole second base with ease. David Peralta continued the small ball strategy by targeting Pederson again, and the hit clanked off of Pederson’s glove allowing Peralta to reach on an error also scoring Dyson. The D’backs already had a 1-0 lead with no outs and not a single hit outside of the infield.
The small ball strategy came to a scorching halt off the bat of Eduardo Escobar. He bounced a home run off the fence in right field pushing Arizona’s lead 4-0 still with no outs in the game. Gonsolin escaped the first without further damage but not before throwing 33 pitches total.
Taylor Clarke corrected course today from his recent starts against a challenging Dodgers lineup. Clarke retired the side in order in the top of the first, but did allow the blue man group to scratch a run across in the second. He walked Cody Bellinger to start the second, not the worst decision in the world, but Bellinger was able to take second on a wild pitch. Max Muncy pushed him to third with a ground out, and Chris Taylor drove in the Dodgers first run with a sacrifice fly bringing the score to 4-1 in favor of Arizona.
The D’backs answered right back in the bottom half of the second, again courtesy of contributions from Dyson and Locastro. Dyson knocked Clarke to third base on one out with a double down the right field line. Locastro then hit a sacrifice fly to left center resulting in a 5-1 D’backs lead. That score held until the fourth inning when Clarke surrendered Bellinger’s 26th home run of the season on a deep fly into the center field camera well.
That would be the last of the Dodgers runs for the game, and the D’backs counter punched and then some to ensure a series victory. In the bottom of the fourth, Caleb Joseph and his catcher’s legs hobbled out a first pitch double down the left field line. After moving to third with two outs, man of the hour Jarrod Dyson brought Joseph in on a single to right field. That was Dyson’s third hit in as many at bats, and for good measure he stole his second base of the game, nineteenth of the season, immediately after. In total, Arizona would swipe four bags off of Los Angeles this afternoon.
The snakes tacked on two insurance runs in the following fifth inning. Peralta reached first base on yet another error from Joc Pederson for the second time in the game. Escobar singled to left giving Arizona runners on the corners with no outs. Ildemaro Vargas drove both men in on a loud one out double in the left center field gap pushing the game to the eventual final score of 8-2.
For the first time since June 4th, Taylor Clarke was able to complete the fifth inning and allow less than two earned runs. It didn’t come without some pressure against him in the fifth inning. He had recorded the first two outs of that frame easily enough with two harmless flyouts. However, the next two batters, Pederson and Alex Verdugo, reached on a double and a walk, respectively. Instead of Torey Lovullo emerging from the dugout with the hook Mike Butcher paid Clarke a visit on the mound. It was one of those moments where Torey was demonstrating faith in his young rookie to complete the task. It worked as he struck out Matt Beaty on four pitches to end the inning, and his start at 93 pitches. Andrew Chafin, Stefan Crichton, and Archie Bradley held down the final four scoreless innings of the game. Crichton took the lion’s share, 2 & 1⁄3 innings, allowing only two hits.
As if we needed any more reasons to gloat about Jarrod Dyson’s stellar performance today, he took over the MLB lead for stolen bases on the season, check out this highlight reel catch to rob Pederson of a home run.
This was a victory that Arizona needed desperately to conclude this home stand. After being swept by the Colorado Rockies, and dropping two of three to the last place San Francisco Giants, they successfully scored a series victory against the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona now embarks on another road trip, this time only six games, with a four game series beginning against the Giants tomorrow.
Lightning: Jarrod Dyson- +14.9% WPA, 3-for-5, two stolen bases, highlight reel defensive play
Thunder: Eduardo Escobar- +12.9% WPA, 2-for-4, three run home run, double
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