No need to sugarcoat this one friends... the Arizona Diamondbacks blew their wad early in a stunning National League Division Series game one victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It has become sort of a running joke for D’backs fans when Torey Lovullo mentions the game plan against opposing teams, but the fact of the matter is that they had one and executed flawlessly against Clayton Kershaw tonight. Simply put, Kershaw was hapless against the D’backs offense tonight. If Los Angeles thought that they would be able to walk all over Arizona in the post season as they did six years ago, tonight showed them they had another thing coming.
Clayton Kershaw did not survive the first inning tonight. In fact he recorded only one out before Arizona chased him from the game having thrown 35 pitches and giving up six runs on six hits. Seven of the first eight batters of the game reached base safely, four of them on extra base hits.
Ketel Marte got it started with a lead off double on the second pitch of the game. Two pitches later Arizona took the lead on a Corbin Carroll single to center field and never looked back.
Tommy Pham singled for the first of his four hits on the night putting two runners on in front of Christian Walker who has absolutely owned Clayton Kershaw in his career. Christian worked a seven pitch at bat before doubling to left field to score Carroll. That brought Gabriel Moreno to the plate, and if you had any doubts that the blow to the head he suffered behind the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers would linger into this series he emphatically quelled those doubts with a thunderous three run blast to give Arizona a five run lead.
Dodger Stadium WiFi may be slow, it's good thing our offense starts fast! pic.twitter.com/m9CfLwNpdy— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 8, 2023
Hoping to get some sort of length out of Kershaw and save his bullpen Dave Roberts elected to keep his southpaw on the mound with the bases now clear of traffic. Clayton finally recorded his first out by retiring Lourdes Gurriel on a ground ball, but it would be the only batter he retired on the evening. Alek Thomas drew an eight pitch walk, and Evan Longoria put the nail in Kershaw’s coffin with a one pitch double making it six to nothing in favor of Arizona.
6 runs to 1 out feels like a good ratio to us. pic.twitter.com/RK2qNtN4Ct— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 8, 2023
That was enough for Roberts to finally go and hook his starter calling on Emmet Sheehan in relief finalizing what would be Kershaw’s worst start in his career. Out came Merrill Kelly with a six run lead looking to correct course against a Dodgers team that has had tremendous success against him before tonight. The commanding lead allowed him to go out on cruise control playing downhill baseball and he gave up no breathing room at all. Lovullo allowed Merrill to pitch into the seventh inning before pulling him having thrown only 89 pitches with a shutout intact having given up just 3 hits and two walks.
Corbin Carroll added to Arizona’s lead in the second inning with a leadoff solo home run making the score seven to nothing.
Corbin Carroll, you are not from this world. pic.twitter.com/XWYx8T9TUp— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 8, 2023
Tommy Pham notched his second single of the game to follow, and then Christian Walker was hit by a 2-2 pitch putting runners on first and second with no outs. Moreno could not replicate his three run home run, but Gurriel hit a one out double to left field pushing the score eight to nothing. Alek Thomas walked to load the bases, and Evan Longoria followed with a sacrifice fly for his second RBI of the game giving Arizona a nine run lead in the second inning.
That score held until the seventh thanks to Merrill keeping the Dodgers off the board while Los Angeles went through a rotation of bullpen pitchers. Arizona hit solo home runs in the seventh and eighth innings courtesy of Alek Thomas and Tommy Pham giving them a very safe eleven run lead. Miguel Castro took the mound for the Diamondbacks in the eighth inning surrendering a pair of walks to Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Will Smith tripled giving the Dodgers their first two and only runs of the game. Luis Frias pitched a clean bottom of the ninth cementing a dominating game one 11-to-2 victory for Arizona.
A plethora of Sedona Red comments for me to choose from tonight, but this is the one that resonated with me the most. The narrative from national broadcasters after the defeat of the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are that the best teams in the playoffs are at a disadvantage with the current playoff format. In the second inning after David Peralta had doubled, Merrill Kelly was criticized for his pickoff attempt with a nine to nothing lead. I don’t give a flying %^&# if the score was 54-to-0, I want the Diamondbacks to destroy the Dodgers. Nothing matters when the playoffs begin. If you’re the better team, go out and win it. No sympathy from me. Peace, love, and FTD.