Did I speak too soon when I talked about the bullpen being terrible right now? Apparently I did…for the moment. The first two games against the Diamondbacks went as normal with the Diamondbacks winning both. Then the Dodgers bounced back and won the last two games of the series. This weekend the team heads to Monterrey, Mexico to face the San Diego Padres.
As I mentioned, the Dodgers split the series with the Diamondbacks. This doesn’t seem like a big accomplishment but the Dodgers put an end to the Diamondbacks nine series win streak. Meaning, for the last nine series the Diamondbacks have played, they’ve either swept the other team or taken two of three or three of four. Now, the Dodgers ended that streak by splitting the series. That’s really the only positive thing you can say about the team that hasn’t had much success against the other this season.
Monday night’s game was started by Ross Stripling and was bound to be a full bullpen game. This was the first time that Stripling had started a game this season and maybe he should just stick to the bullpen. He made it out of the first inning with no damage but the second inning got out of hand. Aj Pollock led off the inning with a Solo Home Run and then Daniel Descalso followed him with a double. Two batters later, Nick Ahmed singled with one out and drove in Descalso. The scoring ended in the second inning with Zack Greinke lacing a single to left field scoring Nick Ahmed from second base.
The game remained quiet until the bottom of the fourth when Nick Ahmed hit a 2-out Solo Home Run, increasing the lead to 4-0. After that, Jeff Mathis singled, followed up by a Zack Greinke ground-rule double, then Stripling intentionally walked David Peralta. With bases loaded Ross Stripling managed to get out of the jam by having Jarrod Dyson pop out to third baseman Max Muncy.
Once again, the Dodgers could not get any sort of offense going during the game. Then came the bottom of the fifth inning. Enter the next reliever, Brock Stewart who had been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Stewart struck out Goldschmidt to lead off the inning and hoped that would be the tone of the rest of the inning. Then came one of the hottest hitters in baseball, Aj Pollock. Pollock crushed his second Home Run of the game and his eighth of the season. Finally in the sixth inning, Grandal singled and Chris Taylor scored for the Dodgers first run of the game. Then Joc Pederson tripled to score Grandal. The score now, 5-2.
In the top of the seventh inning, Max Muncy hit his second Home Run of the year, a solo shot to right. Unfortunately, that would be the only good thing from the seventh inning. In the bottom of the seventh, the Diamondbacks scored two more runs.
The top of the eighth inning would be the final offensive push for the Dodgers on Monday night. They scored two runs on a Sacrifice Fly from Joc Pederson and on a single from Matt Kemp. Just as he did two other times, Aj Pollock hit his third Home Run of the game off of hard throwing Josh Fields. The final score on Monday night would be 8-5.
Tuesday night was the day all Dodger fans look forward to, Kershaw Day! Kershaw pitched really well, his only blow was dealt to him by Aj Pollock and Christian Walker. Pollock hit his fourth Home Run in the past two nights. Kershaw managed to go six innings and struck out six batters. It wasn’t an overly dominating performance but at least he didn’t get crushed.
Kershaw left the game after the sixth inning and he had the lead. A small lead, 2-1 but it was a lead nonetheless. The Dodgers gained that lead via a Cody Bellinger 2-Run Home Run. Its always nice to see Bellinger blast Home Runs, part of the reason why I instantly became a big fan of him and why he is my favorite player on the Dodgers. After this, Max Muncy grounded out to score another run. The Dodgers now leading, 3-1. Until Christian Walker homered off of Clayton Kershaw to cut the lead to 3-2.
Now that the Dodgers had the lead, all of us fans had to close our eyes and hope the bullpen would be able to come in and seal the deal. We were wrong. Adam Liberatore came into the came and instantly blew it. The Diamondbacks got a couple of singles and then Daniel Descalso tripled to drive in two runners. Diamondbacks take the lead and the Dodgers would drop the second game to the Diamondbacks.
Remember on Tuesday when I basically ranted the entire time about the Dodgers being a bad team at the moment and that the bullpen was garbage? Well I guess that changed the team’s performance somehow. The Dodgers would come back on Wednesday and win the game 2-1.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was the starter on Wednesday night and in all honesty, he’s been the most consistent Dodger pitcher this season next to Clayton Kershaw. That was until he suffered an injury in the second inning of the game. Ryu was diagnosed with a Grade 2 groin strain in which the muscle was torn from the bone. With that being said, Ryu came out of the game and will stay out of the game until after the All-Star break. Barely in the second inning and the ball was turned to an already worn out Dodgers bullpen.
Pedro Baez, everyone’s favorite Dodger came in and proved a lot of fans wrong, at least for now he did. Baez pitched nearly three innings and didn’t surrender a run to anyone. In fact, Baez only gave up two hits, one walk and struck out four batters. Then Daniel Hudson came in for two perfect innings, striking out three. Cingrani and Fields came in the game for a combined two innings. Finally, the big man, Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth inning and got the save. Unfortunately, Kenley wasn’t perfect as he allowed a run to score but he managed to keep the scoring to only one.
Cody Bellinger singled in the first inning off of Zack Godley and scored Alex Verdugo. The scoring would be stagnant and nonexistent until the eighth inning when Yasmani Grandal drove in Alex Verdugo with a Sacrifice Fly. Then as I said, Kenley Jansen gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Diamondbacks catcher, John Ryan Murphy singled with two outs to score Daniel Descalso. Fortunely, the Dodgers would tread heavy waters and win the game, 2-1.
In the final game of the series, the Dodgers were able to pull through and win the game 5-2. The pitching matchup was a good one, Patrick Corbin VS Alex Wood. Corbin has been pitching out of his mind this season but the Dodgers were able to attack him early and take advantage of the situation. Alex Wood was being worked during the game, having thrown nearly fifty pitches through the first two innings. The takeaway to that is that he struck out eight batters in his five innings of work. In my opinion, Wood pitched his best game of the season.
Austin Barnes got the scoring started in the second inning when he hit his first Home Run of the year. This gave the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t be enough cushion for Wood though. The Diamondbacks quickly tied the game in the bottom of the second inning. It wasn’t until the sixth inning when another run was scored. The Diamondbacks scored on a Ketel Marte single that drove in Paul Goldschmidt. Then, the eighth inning came around and the Dodgers took full advantage of bad pitches and errors.
Beginning of the eighth inning, Taylor walked, Utley singled and Kemp followed up with his own single. With the Dodgers down 2-1, Bellinger drove in Taylor via Sacrifice Fly to tie the game and 2. Then a balk by Jorge de La Rosa let Barnes and Utley move up to second and third. Shortly after, with bases loaded, Utley scored on a wild pitch. During that same at-bat, Matt Kemp scored on a wild pitch. Now the Dodgers lead, 4-2. Kyle Farmer wanted in on the party and singled to score Austin Barnes.
Kenley Jansen would come into the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and close it out. Securing the Dodgers second consecutive win over the first place Diamondbacks, Jansen also recorded his fifth save of the year. The final score on Thursday was 5-2.
Now, the Los Angeles Dodgers head to Monterrey, Mexico to play the San Diego Padres. This is the first time in nineteen years that baseball is returning to Monterrey. Top prospect Walker Buehler is scheduled to start Friday night and looks to improve to 2-0. Kenta Maeda takes the mound on Saturday night and Rich Hill (hopefully) returns to close out the series on Sunday. I look forward to seeing if the Dodgers can continue to ride the momentum into this weekend. Surely, it would be great to win this series or even sweep it from the Padres. The Dodgers need to get on a roll and this is the team to start with!