To be fair to Merrill Kelly, his Spring Training has not gone as planned. While his teammates had scheduled starts and bullpen sessions, Merrill had to ramp up for the WBC where results were mixed, and on his return he was still working on his length. We saw a glimspe of that in his debut as he went just under 4 innings and 75 pitches. He looked okay in this one, getting both length and duration, but as we’ll get to he’s still looking for his out pitches.
Merrill isn’t the only one trying to adjust to the regular season, as D-backs hitters just haven’t found their way just yet. They struggled in their first go around with today’s pitcher Dustin May allowed only 3 hits in a victory and today was similar, this time getting only 2 hits against the red baron. They fared better in the run department, but it took them 6 innings to do any damage as Perdomo walked and Rojas doubled to score him from 1st. Before then it was an embarrassing affair, with a walk and single all the offense could muster. May left after his 6 innings, allowing just the single run and two hits.
The Dodger bullpen was shaky to start, with a McCarthy triple and double to start the 7th, giving the D-backs their second run, but that was it. A leadoff double by Marte in the 8th at least showed some fight, but he was stranded at 3rd thanks to two strikeouts and a weak pop out to the catcher and the 9th inning was a clean inning by Evan Phillips for the save.
That’s not to say the offense isn’t the only blame here, as Merrill Kelly couldn’t end innings to save his life. Each of his 4 earned runs allowed came with two outs as he just couldn’t get that final out when he needed it the most.
Each of these hits occurred with two outs: Chris Taylor singled on a 2-2 count for the game's first run, a Perdomo throwing error on a potential double play allowed Freeman to score in the 2nd, and J.D. Martinez doubled immediately after to score Muncy after his fielder’s choice, and James Outman singled for his fourth earned run allowed.
All told, 4 earned runs in 5.2 IP. He walked and struck out 4, and allowed 6 hits in the loss. The other run came off the bat of Freddie Freeman, as he homered off Kyle Nelson in the 7th to give us our final score of 5-2. We’re now at only 21 runs through 7 games. You won’t win much with that kind of output.
The good news is it’s still very early in the season and these are the first home games of the year for these guys, but it remains to be seen what this team actually is. You could squint and see the outline, but we’ll see how it shapes up going forward. Maybe playing someone other than the Dodgers will help turn things around. 3 more games against them though with first pitch at 6:40pm tomorrow. Stop on by.