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Dodgers 2, D-Backs 0: Compounding Misery on Ignominy

TL;DR: Lack of execution on offense doomed an otherwise excellent pitching performance from Merrill Kelly and the bullpen.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks
Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious and won’t keep Kelly out too long.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

These past six weeks of misery for the D-Backs have contained nearly every possible loss a team can endure: blowout, walkoff, blown lead, you name it - they’ve seen it. There’s been bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching, sloppy defense, lifeless offense. It has been one of the most frustrating periods as a fan simply because of the highs this same team provided a scant five weeks ago when the team finished the day three games up on the Dodgers for the NL West. Through all of that teeth gnashing - even as their playoff chances have absolutely cratered - maintaining a .500+ record seemed like a surety that we needn’t consider as fans. Unfortunately, whatever bad karma this team has managed to collect, it has manifested itself with yet another demoralizing loss that dropped the team below that seemingly sure mark.

Even still, every baseball game is slightly different and it offers an opportunity to refresh the vibes around the team and clubhouse. Tonight’s game held plenty of promise both before and during with Merrill Kelly - one of the most consistent performers for the team - taking the mound opposite a relatively untested youngster in Bobby Miller. The two starters went on to exhibit an excellent, if messy, pitcher’s duel across six scoreless innings. They combined for 16 baserunners across their respective outings, but managed to keep the other side just off-balance enough to put up a zero.

Unsurprisingly, the scoring chances came quickly and often, with the Dodgers combining a pair of singles from Freddie Freeman and Will Smith with a Max Muncy walk to load the bases for David Peralta in the fourth inning. After robbing a home run last night, it was another opportunity for Peralta to hurt his former club, but Kelly induced a double play ball that extinguished the threat and the inning. The D-Backs would have their first real scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the fifth when they got a leadoff walk from Jose Herrera followed by a Geraldo Perdomo double that flipped the lineup over to Corbin Carroll. Frustratingly, Miller collected a pair of strikeouts from Carroll and Lourdes Gurriel Jr along with a Ketel Marte rocket into Freeman’s glove to close the inning.

In the visiting half of the seventh, Kelly pumped a slider just below the zone and, according to Torey Lovullo after the game, grimaced before looking down to the Arizona bullpen. He would throw one more pitch before the Arizona training staff approached him and quickly extricated him from the game after 83 pitches. After the game, both Lovullo and Kelly confirmed that it was a cramping situation and that there’s “minimal” health concerns going forward. Regardless, Lovullo would bring Kevin Ginkel into the game in relief who induced a popout from Jason Heyward before striking out James Outman at the same time as Taylor was caught trying to steal second ended the threat before it materialized.

The D-Backs would immediately threaten in the next half inning with a leadoff single from Alek Thomas leading into another Herrera walk to put two runners on with no outs that finally chased Miller from the game. Dave Roberts called on Caleb Ferguson to replace him and made Roberts look like an absolute genius. Perdomo, as the nine-hole hitter, was instructed to bunt to push the runners into scoring position. Inexplicably, he offered at a fastball well out of the zone and popped the ball just enough to allow Ferguson to get under the ball, catch it, and double up Thomas who was two-thirds of the way to third base. Carroll would weakly groundout to short to close the book on yet another promising inning foiled by a lack of execution.

Lovullo kept Ginkel in the game for the top half of the eighth and he rewarded him with two quick outs of Mookie Betts and Miguel Rojas. After nearly 25 pitches though, Lovullo would yank him for Kyle Nelson to face Freeman. Sadly, Freeman would not be stopped as he rudely greeted Nelson with a ground rule double that just evaded Carroll’s glove. Arizona decided to intentionally walk Smith to face Muncy, but Nelson would let Muncy wriggle loose for a walk that loaded the bases for who but David Peralta. Unsurprisingly for this losing streak, Peralta seized the opportunity and shot a misplaced fastball into right field to score Freeman and Smith for the final of 2-0. The D-Backs would whimper their way into the night with just one baserunner in the final two innings against the Dodger bullpen.

You can see the moments when the hope rises - and ultimately crashes.