Diamondbacks bullpen gives up 4 runs in loss to the Dodgers
PHOENIX – Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly gave up eight early hits for his first loss in his last eight starts as the Arizona Diamondbacks and their bullpen just couldn’t stop the Los Angeles Dodgers at the dish in an 8-3 loss at Chase Field on Saturday.
Right fielder Kole Calhoun, who was the primary source of offense for the D-backs, was 2-for-4 with a home run, a single, and two RBI. Shortstop Nick Ahmed was 1-for-3 with a solo home run.
“Not my best but not my worst,” Kelly said on his outing. “Just got singled to death. It’s a really good team.
“I think one of the differences between the good teams in this league like the Dodgers and the not so good teams is you make a mistake to big league hitters for the most part, they’re going to put a pretty good swing on it. These guys do a really good job of not only hitting mistakes but hitting good pitches.”
Kelly struggled early against the Dodgers, calling it a grind after giving up an uncharacteristically high number of hits in his first few innings pitched.
He gave up a pair of two-out singles in the first but was able to pitch his way out of it with no runs scored.
In the second, he gave up four hits in the inning, including two RBI singles from shortstop Chris Taylor and second baseman Max Muncy. Taylor scored on a failed pickoff attempt by Carson Kelly, who botched his throw trying to get Muncy stealing second, to put the Dodgers up by three.
On the mound, Kelly was getting behind in the count to batters early. However, he was still able to keep his pitch count low and managed to bounce back from the second, posting four consecutive scoreless innings.
Meanwhile, the D-backs weren’t able to do much at the plate, but they were able to tie the game by way of Calhoun’s two-run home run in the fourth that scored first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and Ahmed’s solo dinger that led off the fifth.
In total, Arizona was outhit 16-5.
Kelly lasted 6.1 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits. He struck out six and was removed after his second walk, leaving the game tied at three.
“It was a great effort, a great outing,” Lovullo said on Kelly. “I know there were some early hiccups, he gave a couple of runs, but he got into a really good rhythm and pitched well into this ballgame and gave us a chance to win.”
“Unfortunately, it was his fourth time around the lineup and I was trying to protect him a little bit. I know he had a little bit of gas left in his tank, but I made a decision. Obviously, that impacted this game and turned it over to the bullpen and unfortunately we just couldn’t get the job done.”
Lovullo turned to Stefan Crichton with one on and one out, who immediately surrendered a two-run homer to third baseman Justin Turner that gave the Dodgers the lead.
Lovullo admitted he considered leaving Kelly in after a mound visit but ultimately decided against it.
“He was doing his best to stay in the ballgame,” he said. “I just felt like it was time to maneuver to the bullpen.”
“These opportunities are a time for us to evaluate and see what’s happening with guys that are here to take advantage of that opportunity. So I just felt like it was a good situation for Stef, stacked up righties that were not going to be pinch hit for.”
Crichton didn’t register an out in his appearance, giving up three hits and three earned runs. The Dodgers plated four runs in the inning, putting the game out of reach for Arizona.
The Dodgers added one more run in the ninth on an Albert Pujols RBI single. The D-backs dropped to 7-4 in their last 11 games.
The D-backs will go for the series win against the Dodgers in the finale on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Caleb Smith, who owns a 2.92 ERA in his last four starts at Chase Field, will start for Arizona in Game 3. He is 3-7 this season with a 4.61 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched.