Merrill Kelly got the start today for the Diamondbacks, giving up 6 runs, 4 of them earned, in 4+ innings of work. He gave up 8 hits, including doubles to Mookie Betts and Gavin Lux. Among the 6 mostly hard hit singles he gave up, even LA starter David Price got a base hit on a sharp line drive single to left. It should be noted that Price is a poster boy for the DH, with only 4 hits in 50 career at bats.
Kelly did look a little sharper as the game wore on, but was also victimized by some poor defense. In the second inning with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs Corey Seager lifted a fly ball to centerfield. Trayce Thompson had some trouble picking up the ball, and by the time he did he stuck out his glove one handed and the ball clanked off it for a 2 base error scoring the two unearned runs.
In the 3rd inning there was a ball that got between Asdrubal Cabrera and Josh Rojas that looked like one of them should have caught, and three batters later Gavin Lux drove a ball to deep left that David Peralta lost in the sun and was not able to handle as the ball bounced into the wall for a double.
In all it was not a great outing for either Merrill or the defense. Asked if it was more location or movement that caused Kelly to get hit hard today Torey said “It’s hard for me to say, I haven’t had any chance to look at any of the data”. I found that somewhat interesting, as I’d think from his dugout view he’d have an idea. Torey felt he threw the ball well and made adjustments and did some damage control, and then cited the defensive lapses.
Fortunately after a quiet first couple of innings against Price, the offense woke up in the 3rd. Merrill Kelly of all people got it started. Despite going 1 for 52 in his rookie season in 2019, he roped a single to right to lead of the inning. (This lead to an offline discussion between Jim and I about whether we needed to have further debate on the DH ;)
Singles by David Peralta and Nick Ahmed, newly returned to the lineup, loaded the bases with nobody out . Cabrera then poked an 0-2 changeup that got a little too much plate for a bashit, scoring Kelly. Eduardo Escobar hit into a double play, but a run scored and at that point it was 5-2. Stephen Vogt followed with a walk and that ended Price’s day.
In the 4th the Diamondbacks exploded for 4 runs off of Dennis Santana. Trayce Thompson hit a double and Pavin Smith singled, putting two men on. One out later, David Peralta went down and got a slider and lined it out to left for a 3 run homer. Asdrubal Cabrera also homered later in the inning and that made it 6 to 5 at that point.
Two dingers are better than one. pic.twitter.com/pOoDwbkHne— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) March 18, 2021
Kelly started off the 5th by walking Max Muncy, and was visibly frustrated. That ended his day, and two singles and an AJ Pollock sac fly off of reliever Joe Mantiply tied the game for the Dodgers.
Kevin Ginkel got in a scoreless 6th., but in the 7th Keury Mella gave up a towering homerun to right off the bat of Cody Bellinger. In the D-backs half of the inning Bryan Holaday doubled, came out for pinch runner Juniel Queracuto. Josh Rojas promptly knocked a groundball base hit to right scoring Juniel, tying the game. The game ended on a Trayce Thompson ground ball double play, as this one only went 7 innings
After a quiet night in surprise last night it was nice to see the offense come alive.
Peralta went 3 for 4, with a homer and 3 RBI. Cabrera went 3 for 3, with a HR and 2 RBI. Josh Rojas continued his good work at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI. In all the DBacks responded to the Dodgers 12 hit onslaught by rapping out 14 hits of their own.
One other note: Nick Ahmed interviewed after the game said he felt great and would have plenty of at bats to get ready for the season. Asked the specific nature of the knee issue, he said it was Patellar Tendintis and acknowledged it’s something he’s probably going to have to work with the training staff all year to stay ahead of. So that’s something to keep an eye on.