The Dodgers scored all the runs they’d need in the first inning of game two in Arizona
The Dodgers took game two, 3-2. The offense went quiet, but they scored just enough as their pitching held on to an early lead.
Kenta Maeda cruised through the first inning. However, the second inning might have been Maeda’s worst inning in a while.
Maeda is a pitcher without overpowering or overwhelming stuff. The tool that allows him to thrive is his incredible command. His 18.3 percent K/BB rate is 15th among qualified starters, but his stuff isn’t necessarily good enough for him to survive without his control.
He did not have his control in the second inning. It started innocently enough, as Maeda got Jake Lamb to ground out. Wellington Castillo became the DBacks’ first baserunner of the game with a single, and then Maeda lost it. He walked Yasmani Tomas and Brandon Drury to load the bases. Mitch Haniger grounded weakly into a fielders’ choice to score a run, and Maeda got Zack Greinke to fly out to end the threat. He only allowed one run, but it was the most un-Maeda-like I can remember seeing him.
Maeda turned it around and got through the fifth rather easily. It wasn’t efficient, as he needed 94 pitches to finish off the fifth. However, he gave the Dodgers five innings of one-run ball and got them into the sixth with a lead.
His final line was mostly fine. Another inning or two would have been nice, but five innings of three-hit, one-run ball is definitely passable with a billion relievers. He walked three batters, which he’s only done five other times this season. However, he made sure they didn’t hurt him too badly.
The Dodgers got off to a quick start offensively, as they needed all of three batters to take a lead off Greinke. Chase Utley hit the first pitch of the game down the line for a double. After Corey Seager struck out, Justin Turner tripled to plate Utley. Castillo allowed a passed ball to make it 2-0, and Greinke got Yasmani Grandal to ground into a double play.
Greinke turned it around, but his defense didn’t do him any favors in the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez singled and Josh Reddick walked with one out. Greinke got a double play ball, but Jean Segura threw the ball away, allowing Gonzo to score. Segura redeemed himself with a nice diving play to rob Maeda of a single, but his throw cost Greinke a run.
The Diamondbacks’ achilles heel has been their bullpen, but they did a good job keeping the Dodgers off the board after Grienke departed. The Dodgers only had one baserunner in the final three innings.
J.P. Howell was the first reliever out of the pen tonight. He came in for one batter and allowed a double to Lamb. That’s not his finest outing. With the emergence of Grant Dayton and Adam Liberatore, his LOOGY role could be in jeopardy.
Josh Fields took over for Howell. Fields walked the first batter on four pitches, but buckled down and got two strikeouts and a flyout to end the inning.
Pedro Baez got the seventh inning. He allowed a one-out double, but struck out Paul Goldschmidt to strand the runner and keep the 3-1 lead. I was definitely calm and not at all yelling at my computer about Roberts’ decision to let Baez face Goldy.
Dayton came in to face Jake Lamb in the bottom of the eighth and struck him out. He was pulled for Joe Blanton, who nearly messed up everything. He walked the bases loaded, but got a groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Kenley Jansen got the ninth. Blanton’s rough inning turned the lineup over, so Jansen had to work through the top of the DBack order. Jansen gave up a one-out triple to Chris Owings, who scored on a deep sac fly by Goldy. Lamb battled, but Jansen got him to ground out to end the game
The Giants are currently crushing the Cardinals, so the division lead will stay at four. The magic number shrinks to 12.
Brett Anderson threw a rehab start for OKC and allowed one run in five innings. That’s promising, and he might be back in time for a start or two, especially if the Dodgers clinch early. Brandon McCarthy will throw a simulated game on Tuesday.