Dodgers 1 Diamondbacks 2: Futility At The Plate
Dodgers’ righty Brandon McCarthy watched his six dominating shutout innings go to waste with futility at the plate and a rare blown save by Kenley Jansen.
From the first inning, McCarthy looked like he was going to have a great night on the mound even if there was a 15-minute delay after he threw just two pitches to his first batter when home plate umpire Dale Scott took a foul tip off his mask and had to be replaced. But nothing could ruffle McCarthy tonight, as he struck out eight Diamondbacks in a very efficient 78 pitches.
The 1-0 score that carried the Dodgers into the ninth would seem to suggest a pitcher’s duel, but really, the Dodgers should have scored at least three or four runs off of D-Back starter Archie Bradley. The lone run they plated tonight came in the third inning when Chase Utley lined a lead-off double over the head of centerfielder Brandon Drury. Corey Seager moved Utley to third with Justin Turner continuing his recent RBI ways with a nice flare to right.
But leaving 15 runners on base and going 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position on the night can come back to haunt you. And it did, big time. Howie Kendrick‘s third straight game of three or more hits was wasted (three singles and a double off the center field wall). In the second inning, Yasmani Grandal led off with a walk and Kendrick scorched a single to right to give the Dodgers their first chance of the night. However, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles, and McCarthy could not execute, beginning the long night of futility at the plate.
McCarthy smoked the D-Backs inning after inning only facing two over the minimum due to an awesome pick-off of Nick Ahmed who reached on a single in the third, and then a perfect throw from Grandal to nail Paul Goldschmidt trying to steal second after a single in the fourth.
You had to feel badly for McCarthy as the Dodger hitters just couldn’t bring runners home in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. The one at-bat where Kendrick didn’t get a hit was maybe their best chance to score (before the extra innings) when they loaded the bases in the seventh only to have Kendrick strike out.
Relievers Paul Liberatore and Joe Blanton pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings, but then the unthinkable happened. Jansen blew his first save since June 11th against the Giants and his fourth of the season. After Jansen retired Jean Segura, Michael Bourn singled with Dodger killer Goldschmidt coming up with a chance to win the game. Amazingly, Goldschmidt missed a pitch that Jansen left up and then fouled out to Turner. Jansen didn’t really look like his dominant self, and Jake Lamb proved it with a double to deep center that scored Bourn and ruined McCarthy’s brilliant night. The Dodger hitting was really to blame, though, as Jansen can’t be expected to work with a one-run margin every time he comes into the game. Jansen retired the next batter to keep the game tied and send the game into extras.
A pair of base running blunders in the eleventh and twelfth innings kept the Dodgers from scoring yet again and ultimately doomed them. Pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke was picked off of first base after singling in the eleventh, but even worse, after singling and getting to second on a wild pitch in the twelfth, Seager took off for third on Turner’s hit to short stop and was hung out to dry. The Dodgers eventually loaded the bases with walks to Grandal and Kendrick, but with a 3-1 count, Puig hit a weak grounder on what was likely ball four and the go-ahead run.
The D-Backs finally made the Dodgers pay the price for their pathetic hitting tonight when Lamb tripled down the right field line off of Casey Fien to lead off the bottom of the twelfth. Dave Roberts elected to walk Welington Castillo and Yasmany Tomas to set up forces at every bag and bring in Kendrick from left field as a fifth infielder. This desperate move by Roberts was defeated by Drury when he hit a clean single to right to score the winning run, and send the 800-plus traveling Dodger fan group (the Pantone-294, named after the famous Dodger blue color) back grumbling to their hotel rooms.
Hopefully, tomorrow the bats will look more like they looked last night and the Dodgers can take the rubber game with Kenta Maeda facing Robbie Ray. First pitch will be at 1:10pm on SportsNet LA.