On Saturday night the Dodgers took control of their series with the Diamondbacks by taking a commanding 2-0 lead.
Much like the Dodgers took control of game one early, the Diamondbacks appeared to be following the same blueprint as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. That would be the only runs they would score until a three-run home run in the seventh inning by Brandon Drury. The Dodgers offense scored in a myriad of ways including a wild pitch, infield single, ground out, double, and an error by Ketel Marte. After the Dbacks got two runs by a Paul Goldschmidt home run, the Dodgers scored seven unanswered runs before hanging on for the win.
Three Key Ingredients of Victory
Smart base running – Outside of Puig being caught attempting to steal, the Dodgers were very smart on the base paths. In the fifth inning, Curtis Granderson singled to right field, and Bellinger went first to third on the single while Granderson snuck into second base. This put two runners in scoring position, and both runs would score on the double by Austin Barnes. Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes also stole bases that put added pressure on the Diamondbacks pitching staff. While these base running moves won’t be seen in the box score, they helped the Dodgers get in a better spot to score and helped pressure the Diamondbacks into making pitching mistakes.
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Bottom of the lineup comes through – The Dodgers sixth, seventh, and eighth hitters produced and came up big on Saturday. Forsythe, Barnes, and Puig combined to go 8-11 with five runs batted in and four runs scored. Yasiel Puig continues to produce this postseason and shows just how far he has come along this year. Logan Forsythe is also off to a good start this post-season after struggling offensively for a majority of the season. If he can continue to drive runs in, there won’t be a better offense in the National League this playoff. Austin Barnes also continued to drive in runs and is putting the starting spot of Yasmani Grandal in serious jeopardy.
Relievers shut down the middle of the Dbacks order – Despite the home run allowed by Brandon Morrow to Brandon Drury, the Dodgers relievers shut down the middle of the Dbacks lineup. Kenta Maeda came into the game in the fifth inning when it was only a one-runz game and retired Pollock and Goldschmidt in order. He started off the sixth inning by retiring JD Martinez before getting pulled in favor of Tony Watson. Maeda could be a big boost to the Dodgers bullpen if he can come in and get right-handed hitters out. Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani also combined to limit David Peralta and Jake Lamb. While the Dodgers bullpen was nicked by Drury, they shut down the big bats in the middle of the Diamondbacks lineup.
In a bit of poetic justice, the Dodgers have a chance to end the Diamondbacks season with Zack Greinke on the mound for the snakes. Yu Darvish will make his post-season debut with the Dodgers and look to give the Dodgers a shot to clinch an NLCS berth in the desert. Much like the first two games, the Dodgers will need to work the count in order to get Greinke out of the game and get to the Diamondback bullpen that has been a weakness. Greinke should be much better than he was for the wild card game but the Dodgers are very familiar with Greinke and will look to use that to their advantage in game three.