I won’t focus too much on another late inning bullpen meltdown that almost ruined a great day for the Dodgers and Zack Greinke. I don’t want to talk about Hacther’s horrendous pitching, or Mattingly’s weird bullpen management. The Dodgers finally won a game, so I’ll focus on the positives.
Dodgers 7 16 1
Dbacks 4 10 2
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Zack Greinke gave the Dodgers exactly what they needed on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field in game three of their weekend series against the Dbacks. He gave them a strong pitching performance going deep into the game. Greinke was spectacular in the Dodger’s 7-4 win over the Snakes. The long haired feathered right hander painted the corners the entire afternoon for the Dodgers. Greinke threw seven frames, allowing just five hits and no walks, while whiffing seven. He becomes the first Dodger starter to go past the sixth inning in 2015. Zack consistently beats Arizona. He is now 5-0 with a sub 2.00 ERA against the Snakes.
The win saves the Dodgers the embarrassment of being swept by one of the worst, if not the worst club in the National League. Losing two of the first three games were bad enough. Losing two of three is merely a total embarrassment. Getting swept would have been a complete shamefest. I can deal with just a total embarrassment, I draw the line when shame enters the equation.
Greinke definitely had the stuff working today, but the offense was lively. The Dodgers scored seven runs on 16 hits, scoring single runs in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. I can’t believe they left eleven men on base.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
I find it funny it took multiple injuries to Turner and Uribe to get Alex Guerrero into a game. I was beginning to question whether he had disappeared or not. In his first MLB start this afternoon he went 3 for 4 with three hits, a two-run homer, an RBI single, and a two-run double.
Yasiel Puig hit his first home run of the season. Everyone can stop worrying about him! The game also featured Joc Pederson and Guerrero’s first Major League home runs. Pederson hit a solo home run in the sixth inning, and went 3 for 3 on the day with a double and a single. Guerrero’s two-run blast came in the ninth inning against Oliver Perez. Adrian Gonzalez stayed hot, collecting two more hits, in a 2 for 4 game. Everything finally went well for the Dodgers in this game. The club even held Paul Goldschmidt hitless. Little miracles happen every day.
The game started off slowly. Neither club did much on offense the first two innings. Greinke’s mound opponent over the top Josh Collmenter held the Dodgers to just a single from Rollins, and a triple from Andre Ethier through the first two frames. The Dodgers got to him in the third inning. Pederson led-off with a double, and Greinke’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third. Rollins plated him with a sacrifice fly to center. The Dodgers took the lead 1-0.
After the Dbacks were retired in the bottom of the third, the Dodgers scored again in the top of the fourth. Grandal and Ethier reached base on consecutive singles, and then Alex Guerrero’s bloop single to right scored Grandal to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Pederson followed with an infield single to third that Jake Lamb misplayed, but Greinke whiffed, and Rollins grounded out.
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Greinke whiffed Goldschmidt and retired the Snakes in order in the bottom of the fourth. The Dodgers score another run in the top of the fifth. Puig smashes his first home run of the season, a booming bomb over the right center field wall. The Dodgers lead 3-0.
After making an error in the bottom of the fourth, Rollins makes his fourth error of the season in the bottom of the fifth. After Pennington lines out to left, Greinke whiffs pinch-hitter Aaron Hill, and Pollack to end the frame.
The Dodgers score again in the top of the sixth. This inning Collmenter is out of the game, and replaced with reliever A.J. Schugel. Collmenter finishes the game with three earned runs on nine hits across five frames and just one whiff. Pederson slugs his first home run of his Major League career. Check it out below. The Dodgers increase their lead to 4-0. Greinke sets the Snakes down again in the bottom of the sixth.
The Dodger’s offense kept on chugging away in the top of the seventh. Gonzo and Kendrick start the inning with ground ball singles. Grandal grounded into a double play, but the Dbacks intentionally walk Ethier, who by the way was 2 for 3 in left field with a triple and a single. Guerrero then doubles in Gonzalez and the Dodgers take a 5-0 lead.
Arizona third baseman Jake Lamb (19) gets tagged out trying to steal second base by Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick (47) in the forth inning. Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Pedro Baez relieved Greinke in the bottom of the eighth inning. The flamethrower whiffed Pacheco and Goldschmidt to hold the Snakes scoreless. In the top of the ninth, Grandal singled, and then Guerrero smacked his first home run of his career, a two-run shot to left. The Dodgers extend their lead to 7-0.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Paco Rodriguez enters the game to pitch with the Dodgers leading 7-0. He whiffs Peralta looking for the first out, but Lamb reaches base when Scott Van Slyke (who was inserted into the game at first base in the eighth inning) slips and falls down while fielding Lamb’s grounder. Mattingly then removes Paco and brings in Chris Hatcher to get the last two outs. I still don’t know why Mattingly refuses to let Paco pitch to more than two batters, but even Eric Stephen mentioned something about it. Well put Eric
Hatcher then gives up a double to Chris Owings, and a walk to Pennington to load the bases. He recovers to whiff Ahmed for the second out. Then the meltdown ensues. Pacheco singles, and Pollack doubles into the corner to clear the bases. Now it’s 7-4 Dodgers. Mattingly has to actually remove Hatcher and bring in Joel Peralta to get the last out. Peralta retires Inciarte on a fly out to center, but these bullpen meltdowns have to stop.
The Dodgers won, but again this did not leave a good taste in our mouths. The relief pitching is still horrible, and the defense and base running sloppy. The club is having the exact same problems as they did a year ago, yet with a different roster. Maybe this points to more of a lack of coaching and management? It’s too early to say anything for sure, but the club needs to figure some things out. We still have no idea who is going to pitch Tuesday’s game, although Scott Baker seems to be the favorite. if this game taught us anything, and it probably didn’t but if it did, it taught us that Greinke is very important to the success of the Dodgers.
One thing I know for sure, the Dodgers have to stop, and I mean STOP using the shift on every hitter. For the love of god please stop. It’s not intended to be used on every batter. A few times per game is fine, but it loses its effectiveness when used every at-bat.
The Dodgers return home weary, but intact. They’ll open a six game home stand with three games against Seattle, followed by a weekend series against Colorado. James Paxton will face Brandon McCarthy in the series opener Monday evening at 7:10 PM.