The Dodger bullpen rode to the rescue and rose from the ashes of mediocrity on Wednesday night to lead the Dodgers to an improbable 2-1 win over the Dbacks in Phoenix. Ironically the phrase is fitting considering the Dodgers were finally able to defeat the one team they haven’t been able to beat in such a long time. After starter Hyun-jin Ryu was forced to exit the game in the second inning with a strained groin the Dodger bullpen gave a sterling performance with 7.2 innings of one-run ball to halt the Dodgers four- game losing skid.
The redemption was led by the most unlikely of heroes, Pedro Baez and Daniel Hudson. Arguably the two worst relievers in the Dodger pen combined to toss 4.2 shutout innings allowing just two hits and striking out seven. The bullpen was fantastic, even another shaky outing from Kenley Jansen and a two-out ninth inning rally from the Dbacks didn’t diminish their efforts.
Dodgers 2 6 0
Dbacks 1 6 0
But they wouldn’t have even been in there that early had it not been for the injury sustained by Ryu. The Dodgers gave the ball to their ace, (not Clayton Kershaw) in hopes that he could turn around the Dodgers misfortunes. He’s been the ace this year. Coming into the game the big hulking Korean warrior had a 3-0 record with a 2.22 ERA. With one out in the second and nobody on base he looked uncomfortable after making a pitch to Deven Marrero. The Dodgers training staff yanked him out of the game and we later learned that he suffered a strained groin.
Before the game Dodger’s manager Dave Roberts made a statement that……
Dave Roberts: “Tonight is the night it turns.”
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) May 2, 2018
Of course it would take more than just confident talk from the skipper to turn things around for the Dodgers in Phoenix. It would take real actual pitching. The Dodgers got that in a surprising twist. If the Dodgers can win tomorrow they’ll escape with a series split. That’s more than we could ask for.
The offense couldn’t do much against Arizona starter Zack Godley who is the lone Snake hurler to lose to the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers did not help their own cause very much by hitting into three double plays. Matt Kemp was responsible for two of them in the first and sixth inning and Alex Verdugo hit into one in the top of the fifth. The Dodgers were 1 for 4 with runners in scoring position and two of their six hits were for extra bases. Notably Verdugo’s two doubles were both of those.
The Dodgers scored a run in the top of the first and had a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game. Verdugo’s first double and a Godley wild pitch set the stage for Cody Bellinger’s RBI single and the Dodgers went ahead 1-0. The Dodgers had the bases loaded in the fifth after a walk to Enrique Hernandez and a Max Muncy line drive single to right. After Chris Taylor struck out (he does that a lot) Joc Pederson walked to fill the bases with Dodgers. Unfortunately Verdugo’s double play squashed the threat and the Dodgers didn’t get anything in that frame.
Godley took the loss but pitched well. He allowed one earned run on five hits and struck out three over six frames. He walked three and made 100 pitches. He is not a god, merely a man. The Dodgers scored a much needed insurance run in the top of the eighth that proved to be vital. Verdugo reached on his second double of the night. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch from T.J. McFarland and Yasmani Grandal’s sacrifice fly to right plated Verdugo to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
The story of the night was the bullpen. Normally Baez entering the game in the second inning would be a cringe-worthy experience. However he found some kind of inner strength tossing 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck out Deven Marrero and John Ryan Murphy to end the second inning. Then he notched another whiff in a 123 bottom of the third inning.
The fourth inning was a fight for Baez and instead of it turning into the usual disaster; Baez pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam. With one-out AJ Pollack doubled and Chris Owings singled on a grounder that took a bad hop deflecting off of Muncy’s shoulder. After Baez walked Marte we all put our face in our hands and cried “here we go again!” But Baez was resilient tonight as he whiffed Marrero and got Murphy to pop out. That’s four strikeouts for Baez.
Next up on the hero train was Daniel Hudson. He pitched a 123 fifth inning and then tossed a 123 bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt. Hudson struck out three and retired all six hitters he faced. Tony Cingrani pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh giving up an opposite field double to Murphy but striking out Marrero and Christian Walker.
Arizona would not make it easy on the Dodgers though because nothing is for the Dodgers in 2018. Josh Fields tabbed with getting the bottom of the eighth (now given a 2-0 lead) gave up a lead-off double to David Peralta. Nick Ahmed’s line out to Kemp moved Peralta over to third. Goldschmidt was walked which brought up the annoying Pollack. This time things worked out for the Dodgers as the scorching Pollack grounded into a double play. Note that Hernandez made a great play to turn the inning ending double play.
Finally the ninth inning was given to Kenley Jansen. In any other year it would be an automatic save. This year is such a different story. After getting two quick outs, pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso walks. He takes second on defensive indifference and then comes around to score on an RBI single to left from Murphy. Now the Dbacks are within one. Pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson steals second base, but Alex Avila flies out to left with Verdugo catching the final out near the warning track. Dodgers win 2-1!
Alex Wood gets the nod for the Dodgers in Thursday’s series finale. The Snakes will send Patrick Corbin to the mound with first pitch scheduled for 12:40 PM PST. Remember the game is only on facebook live so if you don’t have a facebook account then you better create one.