Dodgers 2, Diamondbacks 4: Bullpened

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Apr 12, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) in the sixth inning of the game Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (18) in the sixth inning of the game Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dodgers’ finally held their home opener, and it was great for the most part. LOOK AT THAT PITCHER FACE!!

After a 4-3 road trip, the Dodgers finally returned home to celebrate their home opener and take on the offseason champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

For starters, the ceremonies were awesome. There were tributes to Vin Scully, a very cool Kendrick Lamar hype video, and Dodger Dogs. Basically, unless the Dodgers would go on to lose the game in frustrating fashion, it would be a great day.

The Dodgers went on to lose the game in frustrating fashion. Kenta Maeda was a bit wild and his pitch count got tested, but he shut the Diamondbacks out through six innings and held Dodger slayer Paul Goldschmidt to an 0-3 day against Maeda. He got in and out of trouble and went on to pitch an eerily similar line to his debut in San Diego. Six innings, no runs, five strikeouts, one walk. Most of the time, that’ll be good enough for the win.

The Dodgers struck first on the small balliest play of all, a perfect suicide squeeze bunt laid down by A.J. Ellis to score Howie Kendrick from third. That was the only run the Dodgers could muster off Patrick Corbin, which proved to be costly when Maeda was taken out. Before we get to the depressing part, your reminder that Puig is the best.

On to the bad stuff, Maeda was replaced by Pedro Baez, who was breezing along in the inning. He had number nine hitter Nick Ahmed down 1-2 and honestly threw a good pitch, but Ahmed just lined it over the short wall in left field to tie the game. Chris Hatcher came in for the eighth, and after a groundout he fell behind previously mentioned Dodger slayer Paul Goldschmidt 3-0. Rather than giving him the unintentional intentional walk, Hatcher grooved one in there, and Goldy hit it to the Sunset Strip. He then gave up a double and walked the bases loaded (one intentionally, one unintentionally), but Louis Coleman bailed him out. Coleman came back for the eighth, and a HBP, a triple and a groundout plated two more to put the DBacks up 4-1. The Dodgers got a run back in the ninth, but the bullpen blew another winnable game.

The Dodgers could be 8-0 right now. The fact that they’re 4-4 is extremely frustrating. Manager Dave Roberts said all the right things in the postgame presser, as he told reporters it was too early to be changing roles in the bullpen. He’s absolutely right. Using these eight games to determine anything is a bad idea, but that doesn’t change the frustration. Hatcher, Baez and J.P. Howell have looked pretty terrible to start the season, and when the Dodger bullpen is blowing leads almost on schedule it’s easy to be upset. But what can we do right now? No team is going to be trading a reliever in April. Something maybe could have happened in the offseason, but at what price? Acquiring Aroldis Chapman was risky as hell and he won’t be helping any bullpen until May. Jake McGee would have been a nice addition, but the Rockies paid a heavy price for him. They absolutely should have done more to help the bullpen and watching Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen and Tony Sipp sign elsewhere was annoying, but they aren’t guaranteed to be any better than Hatcher or Baez or Howell right now. Baez and Hatcher have shown glimpses of being dominant late-inning guys, so they probably just need to pitch through their struggles. Unless the Dodgers do something knee-jerky and call up different unproven relievers, they’re pretty much stuck with what they have until Frankie Montas is healthy and Yaisel Sierra is ready.

Also, scoring more than two runs would probably help the cause.

The Dodgers look to get back in the win column tomorrow at 7:10 PST. Alex Wood will get the ball hoping for better results in his second start. The DBacks will counter with old friend Rubby De La Rosa.

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