The Dodgers closed out their first two games, home field advantage tonight with an 8-5 victory over the suddenly reeling Arizona Diamondbacks. The series now shifts over to Phoenix, with the boys in blue firmly planted in the driver’s seat of their Big Blue Steamroller.
That said, although the Dodgers have scored 17 runs across the first two games, I haven’t been all that comfortable myself. I’ve been feeling like they needed every one of those 17 runs, and could have used a few more. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m running paranoid in the postseason.
Rich Hill added to my playoffs paranoia tonight when he gave up a first inning, two-run home run to Dodger-Killer Paul Goldschmidt before the seats were warm. On the bright side, those were the only runs Hill surrendered in his four – yes, four – innings of work. His mound opponent, previously scary Robby Ray, only went a little more than four innings himself. Luckily, being forced to pitch in the wildcard game against the Rockies sapped Ray’s mojo, and he gave up four runs in his short stint.
The Dodgers’ offense was on the mark again tonight, and they tapped Ray for a run in the second inning. After a couple of walks and a wild pitch put Enrique Hernandez in scoring position, Yasiel Puig brought Kike home with a ground out to make the score 2-1 in favor of the D-Backs.
After the Goldschmidt home run, Rich Hill settled down and held the Snakes scoreless. The Dodgers struck again with two more runs in the fourth inning. After three straight singles loaded the bases, Ray uncorked a wild pitch, and Logan Forsythe came home to tie the score. Chris Taylor hit the fourth single of the inning and Austin Barnes came home to give the Dodgers the 3-2 lead. The boys held on to the lead for the rest of the night.
The Dodgers’ big offensive inning was the fifth. They scored four runs, including an Austin Barnes 2-run double to put the Dodgers up 7-2 after five. The trouble was, these snakes just don’t die that easy. Or is it manager Dave Roberts still hasn’t learned how to manage a bullpen in the postseason?
After lifting Hill for Tony Cingrani at the top of the fifth, he lifted Cingrani after one out and he gave the ball to Kenta Maeda with the task of handing A.J. Pollack and Goldschmidt. Maeda shone in the spotlight and did his job, striking out Pollack and getting a ground out from Goldy. Maeda stayed hot with a strike out to start off the sixth, and then Roberts got cute with bullpen bingo. Instead of sticking with a hot pitcher used to pitching multiple innings, he went to a spot reliever and asked him to do that job.
Roberts brought in Tony Watson for the next two outs, and mission accomplished, he sent him out again for the next inning. Watson couldn’t hold up over multiple innings, Roberts went to Brandon Morrow, and Morrow promptly gave up a pinch-hit, first pitch, three-run home run to let the Diamondbacks right back into the game at 7-5, with two and a half innings to go.
The Dodgers caught some big breaks, got cheated by an extra-wide strike zone, and benefited from an excellent at bat by Andre Ethier in the bottom of the seventh, to tack on an insurance run and expand the lead to three runs, 8-5. It was a wild and wooly, slightly satisfying, but deeply frustrating inning.
That Duck Dynasty escapee Archie Bradley was tagged to pitch. Hot bat Logan Forsythe started it off with a single. Barnes struck out, but Puig singled. Two men on. Andre Ethier came up for his first at bat of the series, and expertly worked a walk to load the bases. Bradley was missing the strike zone, going through way too many pitches, and Chris Taylor hit a sure out shot to the SS, but Ketel Marte Bucknered it for an error and Forsythe scored the insurance run. 8-5 Dodgers.
Duck Dynasty was still lost, the bases were still loaded, and there was only one out. There was a chance for the Dodgers to bust the game wide open, but Corey Seager and Justin Turner completely helped out Bradley with stupid at bats. A strike out and a first pitch pop up let the Snakes off the hook.
Josh Fields came on in the eighth. He got one out and then gave up a double. Roberts went into “take no chances” mode, and brought in the Big Man for the five out save. Jansen delivered, the snakes went down beneath Jansen’s heater, and the Dodgers took the second game of the series. Everyone in LA let out a huge exhale.
No Dodgers baseball tomorrow. The elimination game will take place on Monday. Don’t miss it!
Logan Forsythe went 3 for 5 with one RBI. He’s batting .500 for the series.
Yasiel Puig went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. He’s batting a red-hot .556