Sedona Red Recap: Diamondbacks swept by Dodgers in NLDS
PHOENIX — To whom much has been given, much will be required.
And much was given to Zack Grienke by the Arizona Diamondbacks two years ago. Yes, there is no postseason without Greinke, but in the postseason, there was no Greinke. At least not the Greinke who received a six-year, $206.5 million free-agent contract in 2015.
Fair or not, Greinke needed to be good — and really, if we’re being honest, great in order to justify the money — but he was not. Far from it. Not in the Wild Card Game and not in the National League Division Series.
With his team facing elimination and in danger of getting swept, Greinke was beaten by his former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-1, in front of a sold-out crowd of 48,641 at Chase Field on Monday.
The Dodgers advance to the National League Championship Series.
Greinke (0-1) pitched into the sixth inning, but he allowed three runs, including a pair of solo home runs by Clay Bellinger and Austin Barnes, on four hits with five walks and four strikeouts. The five walks marked a season-high.
The Dodgers made Greinke work. They were patient at the plate and fouled several balls off, helping elevate his pitch count. Greinke had thrown 71 pitches through three innings and finished with 105.
By comparison, Yu Darvish (1-0) was at 30 pitches after three and was pulled with 74 one batter into the sixth inning.
D-backs batters had very little success against Darvish, who yielded only two hits, one a Daniel Descalso solo home run that snapped a stretch of 13 straight retired.
The Dodgers jumped in front 2-0 and answered Delscalso’s fifth-inning homer with Barnes’ blast the next half-inning to push the lead back to two runs, 3-1.
The D-backs had been 6-0 in franchise history when facing elimination at home.
Making his 22nd postseason start (and 48th appearance overall), Descalso ripped his second home run of the playoffs and fourth of his career. It was a solo shot into the pool area in right field with two outs in the fifth inning that cut the Dodgers lead in half, 2-1. It was also only the second batted ball hit out of the infield against Darvish.
While Greinke threw a lot of pitches, not many of them did real damage. Yes, he allowed two home runs, but the Dodgers had him on the ropes in three of the first four innings yet only one run crossed home plate during that stretch as the visitors went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving six runners on base, four at either second or third base.
First time through the order and Greinke needed 54 pitches to complete two innings. Five times he reached a three-ball count on a batter, including extended at-bats to Yasiel Puig (10 pitches; he fouled off four pitches on 3-2 before lining out to center field) and Curtis Granderson (eight). And it wasn’t until pitch No. 54 that a Dodgers batter swung-and-missed; Darvish struck out to end the second.
On Greinke’s 98th pitch of the ballgame, a 3-1 changeup clocked at 87.7 miles per hour, Bellinger swung and hit a solo home run to left field to extend the Dodgers lead to 2-0 with two outs in the fourth inning. It was his second RBI of the game after a run-scoring groundout in the first. Bellinger had been slumping in the series. The local kid out Chandler Hamilton High School was 1-for-12 entering the at-bat.
On Greinke’s 105th pitch of the ballgame, an 0-1 fastball clocked at 89.9 mph, Barnes swung and hit a leadoff, solo home run to left field to put the Dodgers ahead once again by two runs, 3-1, in the sixth inning. Barnes, who played his college ball at Arizona State University, had flied out and grounded out in his previous two plate appearances. He had no prior history against Greinke.
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
0: The D-backs 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
1: The D-backs went 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position with their lone opportunity coming in the ninth inning.
HE SAID IT
“He did a good job in several situations,” manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to Greinke. “There’s a lot of damage control early on. He kept it a one-run game. He’s our guy. He was our ace all year long, and I felt like he deserved that opportunity, once I saw the stuff start to get a little crisper in there and there was a little swing-and-miss with the slider.”
Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 16-of-24 batters faced; plus, he reached a three-ball count nine times.
Darvish threw a first-pitch strike to 10-of-18 batters faced; plus, he never once reached a three-ball count.
Ketel Marte went 1-for-4; he had himself a nice postseason going 7-for-17 with three extra-base hits.
Paul Goldschmidt, named a Hank Aaron Award finalist earlier in day, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Jake Lamb, who turned 27 on Monday, did not enjoy his birthday as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
With a first-pitch temperature of 84 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and panels open.
Olympic gold medalist and current Arizona resident Michael Phelps threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
A larger American flag was displayed in center field as Arizona’s Roger Clyne sang the National Anthem.
The first 40,000 fans in the ballpark received a D-backs Rally Towel courtesy of the D-backs sponsors.
Spring training is the next time we’ll see the D-backs together as a team. Of course, the roster will likely look much different.
There are several offseason questions facing the D-backs, namely J.D. Martinez’s impending free agency. That will be a hot topic at both the GM (November in Phoenix) and Winter Meetings (December in Orlando).
Next season will be the D-backs’ 21st, with the goal of reaching the playoffs in back-to-back years for only the second time in franchise history, previously accomplished in 2001-02.
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- Change in D-backs rotation allows Greinke to start final game if needed