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Diamondbacks @ Dodgers, 5-6. Wasted opportunity in first doubleheader.

The Diamondbacks squandered an opportunity to win a game against the Dodgers with some bad bullpen pitching and some lousy defence at 3B from Josh Rojas.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Good thing about such a doubleheader is that Europeans like me get to watch the D-Backs at a “normal” starting time. Another good thing is that Jim’s puzzle to get a recap at such an early starting time is resolved and just an even better thing is that you probably thought you wouldn’t have to watch this since I would, but you were wrong there: you should have seen it. Post 8-inning edit: and you were right.

The Dodgers pretty much showed in this game that they are just human and multiple times didn’t look like that all dominating team at all. Good to see the D-Backs could take advantage of that today. Post 8-inning edit: Eventually we were even worse than them, like we are supposed to be.

Since Bally Sports doesn’t have a pregame show that is broadcasted on I was stuck with listening to some Dodger pre-game commentary. What stuck to me is that Roberts was dancing yesterday in the dugout during the game and that they consider the NL West a “by-product”. They have a terrific defence and the players really like each other a lot. You can see that, according to the Dodgers’ TV analysts.

So, all I could do was to hope that by-product Diamondbacks would be able to do some damage against a team that was without Mookie Betts nor Will Smith (and a couple of others).

Inning 1: Early troubles...

Well, Grove starts the game. I see Varsho taking a strike before my kids all of a sudden appear in the living room while the game has just started. I am pissed and completely miss the entire at bat, but maybe they wanted to save me from seeing Varsho striking out. After barking them back into bed I am just in time to see Corbin Carroll getting a double on a check swing, a ball hobbling down the third base line. BABIP .999 or what? But the gift is wasted as McCarthy (batting third?) and Walker strike out swinging. Three strikeouts in the first inning, looks like there will be lots of fun in this game. On the other hand, maybe an acceptable bedtime as well. Always look on the bright side of life, amigos!

Zach “No Decision” Davies with 2 wins in 24 games gets Trea Turner to pop out, although the pitching doesn’t look really great. That is evidenced by a 5 pitch walk to Freddie Freeman. Then after 14 pitches Turner finally gets a hit when his grounder gets lifted by the mound into center field to get 2 Dodgers on base. Let’s see if we can get Joey Gallo to strikeout...nope...he is walked and Brent Strom decides to take the field with the bases loaded. Davies keeps on throwing balls and he looks like the pitchers in this mobile baseball game I play who walk batters endlessly. Oh man, he is throwing balls to Trayce Thompson, who had a stint in our minors not that long ago...we can at least get him out, I hope? Yes, we can, but not like we would like to. Thompson hits a sac fly into center field and Freeman crosses home plate. Dodgers score, 1-0. Chris Taylor walks up under “All The Small Things” from Blink 182. Terrific song that reminds me of my early 20s. He shows that all the small things matter by laying down a really good bunt, but future AZFL star Cooper Hummel picks it up and nags him at first for the final out. Phew, dodgered a bullet here in the first inning.

Inning 2 to Top 3: Venom strikes back.

Ketel Marte starts the second inning with a big hit that misses velocity and wind to go out for a tying homerun and has to settle for a nice double. Rojas reaches for an impossible ball and strikes out, but a first pitch grounder from Thomas is able to move Marte over to third. Cooper Hummel hits a fastball to the opposite field for our third (extra) base hit of the game on a ground rule double and we’re tied! Diamondbacks score, 1-1. Unfortunately, Alcantará grounds out to end the top of the second.

Davies continues to do a bit of this and a bit of that in the second inning but gets Lux looking at a third pitch strike. Miguel Vargas and his .327 OPS strike out swinging in a rather efficient at bat pitched by Davies, but he is unable to repeat this feat against Barnes, who hits a ball into center field after going full count. The fun might start all over again with Trea Turner who hits a ball sharply to third, but Josh Rojas and Ketel Marte complete a wild play at second for the final out of the inning. Davies at 54 pitches after two innings.

Varsho leads off the 3rd inning and gets a fastball low in the strike zone he sends straight back to Compton into right field bleachers. Diamondbacks solo homerun, 2-1!

Corbin Carroll sends a beautiful hit into right field to keep the pressure on the Dodgers, and then steals second easily for his first MLB career stolen base.

Nicely done, although not really necessary because McCarthy is walked. Two on base, no outs and Walker is ready to launch a big one for a 3-run homerun...well, he gets a big swing but the out is made in left field. Poor at bat from Ketel and his hammies for the second out. Some nice pitches from Grove get Rojas to ground out to first and the inning is over. But the D-Backs take the lead though!

Bottom 3 to Inning 5: Dodgers are human.

Davies returns to the mound to continue troubles. Both Freeman and Turner start the inning with single base hits, so this is once again looking like Zach Davies will have an early exit. Gallo strikes out, before Trayce Thompson hits one into left field to load the bases. Heavy traffic on the basis with Chris Taylor in the batter’s box and I really don’t like this situation. Davies goes full count here so we really start to sweat here and while I am desperately drying my body with a towel, Taylor pops out. Then a grounder from Lux to right leaves the Dodgers stranded and we are still in the lead. Yet again, we dodgered another bullet and lead after 3, but it is impossible to stay alive this way.

Thomas starts the fourth inning with a hit on the very first pitch he sees. Freeman misplays the ball and Alek keeps on running at full speed to second base. Gallo misplays in right field as well, dropping the ball so Thomas reaches second easily. Hummel strikes out after that, and Alcantará is called out on strikes, although unlucky with that third pitch. Varsho looks to fly out to left field, but bad communication between Turner and Vargas lead to yet another Dodger misplay and Thomas crosses home plate for an unexpected third run. Diamondbacks extend the lead, 3-1. Varsho even steals second in the following at bat, but Carroll grounds out and the top 4th is over.

Bottom fourth and we are already in our bullpen with Taylor Widener taking the mound for Zach Davies and his no-decision. Vargas flies out to Varsho, but after that Barnes reaches base on a line drive and Turner as well, on a grounder into the gap behind 2nd. Dodger Stadium goes loud on a deep fly ball from Freeman that is caught by Carroll in left. Widener is also able to get Turner to fly out, to right. It might not have been pretty, but despite allowing two runners, it was a very efficient inning from Widener on 15 pitches.

For the first time today, the Diamondbacks start an inning with an out when McCarthy grounds out to start the 5th inning. That is a shame because in the following at bat Christian Walker hits a big bomb into left field and under Dodger boos, he trots the bases to complete a homerun. Diamondbacks walk even further away, 4-1.

Ketel Marte also gets a big swing in his at bat, but his drive is caught by Vargas in left field. Rojas hits a line drive as well into left field for a base hit. Grove struck out 7 but is also starting to give up some real hard hits now. The D-Backs keep on punishing when Alek Thomas hits a blooper into left field. Rojas makes a run from first to third in an ultimate effort, and while the Dodgers try to get the out there, they throw the ball past Turner and Rojas is able to get up and run easily over home plate for yet another run. Diamondbacks with a gap lead, 5-1. Hummel finally grounds out to stop the blue bleeding.

In the bottom 5th Widener strikes out Gallo on a terrific final pitch and then lets Thompson whiff on a bunch of fastballs. He plunks Chris Taylor before striking out Gavin Lux. That is what I call pitching! Let’s see if we can speed up the pace of play now.

Innings 6 to Top 8: Little silence.

Hello Pepiot! He replaces Grove, but Hanser Alberto also enters the game as a substitution for Trea Turner at short. Do the Dodgers already give up on this first game of the doubleheader? I’ll take it...but Alberto not, as he miscues a grounder from Alcantara for another D-Backs’ basehit. Varsho strikes out after going full count, Carroll walks on 4 pitches. McCarthy runs into a grounder at first base, but Pepiot isn’t that quick to put his foot on base and while McCarthy is called safe on-field to load the bases with one out, the Dodgers challenge. They get the out after review and mask yet another poor defensive play that way. Still, Walker could get another run in with runners on 2nd and 3rd, but strikes out to end the top 6th. Hardly any good work from Pepiot, but he escapes the inning.

Caleb Smith is the third Diamondbacks’ pitcher in this game and sees Vargas bobbling a ball to third, but Rojas makes a bad throw and the first man reaches base. A bunt from Barnes moves Vargas over to second and after Hanser Alberto looks at a meat ball over the middle of the plate (and even makes a little jump backwards like he would have otherwise been hit by it LMAO) but then fouls out (nice catch by Hummel), Freeman sends a fly ball to Varsho to end the bottom 6th.

Not much to talk about the top 7th either. Pepiot strikes out Marte, Rojas flies out and Thomas grounds out.

Caleb Smith is getting bored in the bottom 7th and starts to bring some life into the game. He allows a base hit to Turner before walking Joey Gallo. Brent Strom runs onto the field again and it helps, as Smith gets Thompson to strike out on a slider. But inefficiency starts to take over Caleb again although he gets Taylor to fly out. In the final at bat of the inning a little scare with a line drive from Gavin Lux, but easily caught by Carroll in left.

Pepiot is back for the 8th as well, clearly doing mop-up duties to save the Dodgers some arms for the second game today. He gets some quick outs as Hummel, Alcantará and Varsho fly out, ground out and strike out.

Bottom 8 to end: The bullpen shit show.

Ah, to my surprise Caleb Smith also returns for the 8th. I see in the game thread that I am not the only one who is surprised by that...Smith quickly gives up a base hit to Vargas followed up by a homerun from Austin Barnes on the very first pitch he sees. Ouch, all of a sudden the game gets interesting again...Dodgers make it a ball game again with 2 runs, but Diamondbacks still lead 5-3.

Kevin Ginkel replaces Smith. Hanser Alberto grounds out to Rojas, but Rojas spikes the ball into the dirt and Walker isn’t able to make the catch on the throw. Walker then fumbles the ball for a second time and Alberto reaches second. He even reaches third on a wild pitch from Ginkel in the following at bat, with still no outs. Ginkel can’t turn the tide either and walks Freeman. Now Justin Turner takes the plate and I don’t know if my sleeping family is hearing the alarm bells that are going crazy in my head. Ginkel starts throwing ball after ball and walks Turner to load the bases with no outs...this is going to be terrible. The organist is kicking ass at Dodger Stadium and Dodger blue goes woo woo woo.

Lovullo has seen enough for the second time this inning and he removes Ginkel. But he will need not just Joe Mantiply but also a miracle of the first degree to escape a bases loaded situation for the third time this evening, but now with no outs. Mantiply allows a blooper to center field to pinch hitter Will Smith and Alberto crosses home plate. Dodgers closing the gap, but Diamondbacks still lead 5-4. Thompson hits a hard drive to third and Rojas isn’t able to stop it. While Thompson reaches base, Freeman crosses home plate and we’re tied. Dodgers tie the game, 5-5.

Still no outs, disaster is announcing itself. Diamondbacks get the first out of the inning after the eighth batter of the inning, Taylor, strikes out. Mookie Betts replaces Gavin Lux to kill the snake, but Mantiply strikes out Betts as well and now we have just one batter left to eliminate. Vargas returns for his second at bat this inning and he hits a ball towards Josh Rojas who makes yet another poor play and is not able to control the ball. No play and Justin Turner crosses home plate. Dodgers take the lead, 6-5. Austin Barnes grounds out though, so the hurting stops there.

Now all of a sudden, the Dodgers can close out the game, didn’t see that coming thirty minutes ago. It is Chris Martin who makes quick work of Carroll, McCarthy and Walker and so the D-Backs lose a game they shouldn’t have lost.

Bells and whistles

Wow, that Dodger win probability is steeper than any rocket ascent to outer space.

  • Real Madrid: Daulton Varsho, +20.0%
  • Liverpool: Taylor Widener and Alek Thomas, +9.6%
  • Slavia and Sparta Prague: Jake McCarthy, -8.2% and Josh Rojas, -8.4%
  • Dinamo and Steaua Bucarest: Joe Mantiply, -33.3% and Kevin Ginkel, -35.8%

Click for details at

There were well over 200 comments in the GDT, and probably still counting. On a positive note, we had fun for 7 innings and there was just one bad inning. Sadly, that inning cost the Diamondbacks dearly.

You can’t load the bases 3 times in a game and think each time you can escape with minimal damage. I don’t think it was a good idea to bring out Caleb Smith for the 3rd time, but we have to admit that Kevin Ginkel was terrible and Mantiply wasn’t the solution either, although his situation was tougher than tough.

Maybe we have more luck in the second game today. Kudos to all you people who watched the game and spent some time in the GDT and let’s try and get that second doubleheader.

Now me sleepy and bye! Let’s go D-Backssszzzzz....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz