Dodgers One Step Away From NLCS, Beat Snakes 8-5

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

 

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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19 thoughts on “Dodgers One Step Away From NLCS, Beat Snakes 8-5

  1. I guess the team has momentum again? Or maybe n the process of recapturing it?

    Good sign in that production coming from all over, not just the top four.

    Rich Hill rocks.

    Forsythe in a groove.

    Have no clue what Roberts was doing with Maeda and Cingrani.

    Let’s hope it’s the good Yu.

    1. I’m not sure if I would have pulled Hill just yet, but the Cingrani/Maeda switch was in regards to left and right handed batters and the pitching matchup to it. I thought Roberts did a decent job with the bullpen, not to mention the bullpen came through except for that one HR off Morrow. Morrow is a beast on that mound. He’s throwing 99mph fastballs and blowing most batters away. Goldschmidt is gold standard. He’s going to get you sooner or later. Az has heart, but their pitching doesn’t hold up.

      Dodger batters carried this game as they must opposing good hitting teams. No lead is safe from Az. The bottom of the order was splendid. Magnificent contributions from Forsythe, Barnes, & Puig. Very satisfying and we should try and secure the win in Az for the series.

      Darvish vs Cranky. No reason that we can’t do it. Cranky is very tough at home, but down 2-0 is a big plus for our boys who must be feeling very good at this moment. We’ve answered a lot of questions with these two wins. Now, to finish up!

    2. Bluto

      I think I would have gave Maeda another inning, but kept him on a short lease.

      Also I think I would have kept Cingrani for later in the game, because he has looked more dominant to me, then Watson.

  2. I’m glad Ray had to pitch on monday, he didn;t look to sharp. they are going to have to repair the screen behind homeplate after his efforts tonight. His “bulllpen session” that they were trying to spin, was as I said “there’s a big difference between a bullpen session and live game action”. Those snakes got bit in the butt on that one.

    Nice to see the boys bunch up some runs again. Damn send out a search party for Bellinger. Can he regain his form? If he shows up there is going to be a lot of trouble for the opponents.

    Brutus, maybe you are starting to see what momentum is all about. Hitting and winning are contagious. As it flows others who might not normally contribute begin to contribute, maybe Granderson is getting got up in the tide of momentum, he would be a good example. Forshyte would also be a good example possibly.

    Send out a burial party for Grandmal, give me Barnes all day, every day! that kid is a baller! He and Taylor are a real pair.

    Wow a Granderson sighting. Our second baseman is really starting to do something in the last three weeks. He ain’t hitting For Shyte finally.

    Jansen back in the groove, that was a powerful 5 outs he recorded.

    Taylor , Turner and Puig are putting this team on their backs, others are now getting got up in that surge that they started to provide beginning in the first inning of this series. Come on Bellinger, stop pressing and go with the flow.

    Has anyone else noticed that Puig is catching flyballs with great care rather than putting mustard on a hotdog style in this series?

  3. A few notes on the pitchers so far, and we’ve seen a bunch from both teams. Again just my opinion based on what I saw and without looking at any numbers.

    Kershaw: Right now it seems to me that he needs to work a lot harder to get his fastballs by people, and his sliders are not dipping much. This suggest to me that he is throwing too hard. He needs to take a few mph off his sliders. The good thing is that, as he was hammered in Game 1 with the homers (and has been HR prone all year), I think our coaches and our catchers will not be as hesitant to take him out as in prior years.

    Hill: I thought he did well, and the ump was horrid tonight. Pollack should have been struck out. His only mistake pitch was the 89mph meatball to Goldschmidt. What was he thinking? Just throw curve after curve to that guy, if he can get hold of one so be it. But back to Hill — his curves were bending well by the 4th inning. I agreed with Roberts going for a PH in the 5th with Farmer when the scoring opportunity came (Roberts did luck out there, but fortune smiles upon the bold, as they say). Ray, while ineffective, was dominating Seager and Bellinger and had an “effectively wild” no hitter going after 4.

    Robbie Ray: I think burning him in the wildcard game hurt. When he was throwing 95-96, the pitches were way off their marks. When he had to throw a strike to a RH bat, it came in at 90-91. It was good that we got to him when we did, but he is going to be a handful if this goes to 5 games. Seager and Bellinger, with their swing paths, cannot handle him at all because I don’t think they pick up on that low slider until it’s too late. I don’t see that improving in just a few games.

    Maeda: I think he was pulled too early, and it worked out (kind of), but WOW. He had his fastball hitting the outside edges of the plate at 94 mph, getting his changeup to die at the plate at 85mph, and his slider had a ton of movement. I would be curious to see how this holds up in the desert, but assuming that we get past the Snakes, this bodes well for us against the Nationals and the Cubs.

    Jansen: I felt that last night he was just messing around. Tonight he was coming for the 5 out save and he did not disappoint.

    Morrow: I think he just got overconfident against Drury on that first pitch. It happens. I think he is still very concerning for the opposition when he comes in as he can keep his power pitches low (unlike Baez and Fields), and if Maeda can replicate his effort, I am liking our bullpen very much. We’ve got two control/grounder types from each side (Watson, Maeda) followed by two fireball axe-murderers from each side (Cingrani, Morrow).

    Archie Bradley: This guy is as good as Morrow – he can get his 97 – 98 heaters in at the knees, then he come with the high heater and changes the eye-plane on you to blow you away. We got lucky against him tonight as he was a bit wild and our hitters were patient.

      1. Bluto

        I don’t think it is his back!

        Maybe he needed more time to get his good command, but I think that Kershaw feels all of that pressure on his shoulders, when it comes to the post season, and because of that, I just don’t think he is as confident, in the post season.

        I don’t even think Kershaw had any type of an injection this year.

        His mind had to be on this game, even the night before he pitched, or earlier.

        He admitted he was overly tired, before he walked out there, for the seventh inning.

        And his heriated disc has healed, this was a different area in his back, and it wasn’t serious, like a disc can be.

        It seems like in the post season, in these very important games, Kershaw has trouble throwing his secondary pitches, crisply.

        He didn’t have any back issues, in those two series against the Cards, but in the deciding games against the Cards, he didn’t have control of his secondary pitches, and he was heaving fastball after fastball, any time he got in trouble, instead of using his secondary pitches, and pitching.

        And Kershaw did the same last year, in that deciding game, against the Cubs, but in the game before against the Cubs, he pitched well, but he just didn’t have control, of his secondary pitches.

        And because of that, he had to depend on his fastball, and his great command, to help the team win that game.

        I think he should consider going to a sports psychologist, or something like that, to ease that pressure he feels.

        Because he has pitched well in the post seaaon, and most of his trouble has come in those deciding games.

        And the more bad back history that he has in his psyche concerning the post season, would effect anyone.

    1. YF

      Morrow started Drury with a curve ball on his first pitch the last time he faced him, so I guess Morrow was to predictable.

      Maedas stuff plays much more, when he knows he can go all out, because he is only pitching a few innings.

      And I would have kept him out there another inning, but on a short leash.

      Maeda handled JD Martinez very well, and just that at bat, would make me keep Maeda in, for at least another inning!

      I think bringing Ray in that wild card game as fast as the Dbacks manager did, was the right move, because I don’t know if they would have won that game, if Ray wasn’t brought in at that time.

      I also think when the Dbacks manager took Ray out last night, that was the turning point of that game!

      Because Although Ray was wild, he was effectively wild, and the Dodgers hadn’t hit him very hard at all.

      Like I said above, I would have kept Cingrani for later into game, because he is much more dominant to me, then Watson is.

      And if Roberts was considering being Morrow in, in that seventh innings, I would have let Morrow start that inning, from the beginning, because Morrow has been more effective against lefties, and I just think Watson tends to come in a game, and he gives up a hit almost right away, he hasn’t impressed as much as Cingrani has, that is for sure!

  4. I think both Kershaw and Ray overthrew their pitches. That was the problem. You can’t throw your sliders too hard. But while Ray was able to bury his sliders (wild pitches notwithstanding), Kershaw could not. Either way is bad.

    1. YF

      Your not the only person that has made that observation about Kershaw, so I think your right!

      I read a couple of responses from others, that were wondering if Kershaw was going to over throw his pitches, because of the reason you said.

      I think Kershaw over throwing his pitches, is probably because he was amping, and he has to have a lot of mental energy, that comes into play too.

      I thought we were making it to easy on Ray, in some of the other games we faced him in, this year too.

      Because he really didn’t command his slider at all, and our guys were swinging at his slider, down in the dirt.

      And if he can’t command that pitch, they should just let that pitch go, and wait for one of his fastballs, that is in the strike zone, not high and out of the strike zone.

      I don’t know why Corey and some of the other hitters, even swing at his high fastball, because it is usually out of the strike zone, and they can’t even hit his high fastball, for a hit!

      I don’t think this has anything to do with Kershaw’s back, because he said he could have came back two weeks earlier, then he came back, but the Dodgers were just being overly careful, with him.

      And I don’t think Kershaw would try to come back to soon, because he did that the year before, and he was out even longer, because he tried to rush back, so I think he learned from that!

      What people don’t understand is that when Kershaw felt that with his back last year, he received medical help and advice, much sooner, then a normal person would.

      And they caught his soreness very early, so he didn’t have a full fledged herniated disc, and his issue was caught so early, it was in such a mild stage, so his disc was still in a stage that it could heal, without any kind of surgery.

      Most regular people don’t see a doctor, when there back is in the early stages, of becoming a disc problem, because most people wait to see if they will feel better, before they ever think about going to a doctor.

      And most people only go to a doctor, after they have significant damage, and they can’t function, because of that!

      Kershaw never got far enough with his disc issue, that he had that pain, and numbness, that went down his leg, and he had, and still has top medical advice, that most people wouldn’t get.

  5. That was the first HR Morrow has given up all year. He sped up Drury’s bat because that kid was sitting dead red. So he hammered it. The Ump was lousy and not consistent at all. But the 6-7-8 boys did the damage. Cody needs a mental break. He is swinging at pitches he could never hit. He needs to crank a dinger and get his confidence back. They actually let Bradley off the hook. They scored one, but could have had a lot more. Black board fodder. Marte said they cannot wait to see Kershaw again, and he is hopping they see him in Az and predicted they would hit 8 dingers off him there…………..sorry kid, if it goes 4, you get Wood in game 4 at Az.

    1. Michael

      That was the exact same first pitch, that Morrow threw to Drury the last time Drury, faced Morrow, in the game before, so Drury was ready for that same pitch.

      1. Exact same pitch maybe, but the location was no where near where that pitch was. That thing was right in the middle of the plate.

  6. Note on Kershaw. Kersh is a 10 year veteran. There are a lot of innings on that arm. His velocity is pretty consistent through say 6 innings and then begins to dip. He has hung way more pitches this year than any other year in his career. Is his back the problem? Maybe, nobody is saying. Needless to say, they are no doubt keeping an eye on it. Remember, Kersh was out quite a while. He has made maybe 7 starts or so since returning from the DL. It is almost like beginning the season all over. What I notice is that he does not trust that killer curve as much right now, he is burying a lot of fastballs right in the dirt, and is behind in the count more than I can remember. The guy just does not walk hitters. But this year he has. He usually does not leave pitches over the middle of the plate. That slider he throws to the back leg of RH hitters, usually dives in and is unhittable. But that pitch has been staying over the middle of the plate a lot this year. Age and wear and tear are catching up to him. He is going to have to adjust how he approaches hitters over the next few years. You cannot stay a power pitcher your entire career unless your name is Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson.

    1. He wasn’t having trouble throwing his slider, in the games, before the post season.

      But I do agree it probably would have been better, if Kershaw had more games to pitch in, to get his good command back.

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