A decade ago a primetime NL West contest featuring Madison Bumgarner against Clayton Kershaw would have been a must watch pitching matchup. Fast forward to the present day and both pitchers are no longer even the Opening Day starter of their respective pitching staffs. As we saw tonight with at least MadBum, time remains undefeated unfortunately.
The Los Angeles Dodgers got to work on immediately putting the Diamondbacks in a significant deficit in the first inning. As quite a few pointed out on Twitter this evening, Bumgarner’s velocity has fallen even further from where it was last year. In the 2022 season, he averaged 91.2 MPH on his fastball. Tonight in the first inning? 89.1 MPH. Some pitchers can overcome that obstacle by reinventing themselves. Take Zack Greinke for example who as he lost velocity we watched him become one of the craftiest pitchers of all time. The problem is that Madison Bumgarner hasn’t done that. He is trying to get by on the same formula that he has used his entire career and as a result has pretty much been figured out.
After Arizona went down in order in the top of the first, Mookie Betts began the Dodger half with what appeared to be a a leadoff home run. However, the call underwent official review (not a challenge) and was rather surprisingly ruled a double due to fan interference. Regardless, it was loud contact to begin the game that would be a forecast of things to come. Freddie Freeman followed with a soft rolling infield single, and then Madison hit Max Muncy with the very first pitch of his at bat to load the bases with one out. Chris Taylor brought in Betts on a sacrifice fly, and Madison wasted no time loading the bases again with another walk. Enter the man of the evening, Trayce Thompson, the same guy who couldn’t stick on the Diamondbacks roster, who promptly deposited an 0-1 changeup right down the heart of the plate into the center field bleachers for a grand slam. Yeah, that Trayce Thompson. It would be the first of his three home runs and four of his eight RBI’s on the evening.
The ONLY offense to speak of for Arizona came from another showdown between Christian Walker and Clayton Kershaw which can be described as nothing short of comical at this point. Walker in his career against the southpaw was already 8-for-28 with four home runs, and launched another long ball against him tonight continuing his dominance. Unfortunately, that was all Arizona could manage off of him all evening. Following the Walker solo home run to begin the top of the second, Kershaw struck out the next three in order en route to tallying nine punch outs over the evening.
Bumgarner managed to prevent further scoring until he was relieved in the bottom of the fifth inning by Kevin Ginkel. J.D. Martinez started off that half inning with a double. Ginkel nearly got out of it without any damage by retiring Muncy and Taylor, but Miguel Vargas continued the frame with his millionth walk of the series. That brought Trayce back up to the plate, and he paired his gran slam in the first with a three run shot making the score 8-to-1. Martinez and Thompson added a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings against Cole Sulser and Carlos Vargas, respectively, resulting in a final score for 10-to-1.