Diamondbacks unable to find answers for Dustin May, Dodgers in home-opening loss

Apr 6, 2023, 11:53 PM

James Outman #33 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gestures to the dugout after hitting an RBI single agai...

James Outman #33 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gestures to the dugout after hitting an RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning at Chase Field on April 06, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — After six games away from the desert to start the 2023 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks (3-4) were back in town Thursday night for a home-opening slate against the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers (5-2).

In what is viewed by many as a local holiday, it was a sellout crowd of 48,034 at Chase Field, with a street festival, flyover, fireworks and a memorable first pitch from Phoenix police officer Tyler Moldovan setting the stage for a solid night of baseball.

The game, however, was one to forget for starting pitcher Merrill Kelly and the D-backs, who were on the wrong side of a 5-2 result. Arizona is now 14-11 in home openers.

Kelly saw his second start of the season last 5.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and four walks to four strikeouts, including No. 500 to none other than former teammate David Peralta. He was also dinged with a pitch-clock violation in the sixth inning.

The defeat moves Kelly to 0-1 on the season and 0-10 lifetime against the Dodgers.

“I definitely don’t feel like I’m locked in, definitely don’t feel like I’m kind of cruising,” Kelly said postgame. “Definitely fighting myself on some mechanical stuff, some timing stuff. But it’s the first two games, we got a long way to go.

“Some (pitches) I feel like I’m missing just by a hair and other ones in my mind I’m missing by way too much. We’ve been definitely addressing that. I’m mindful of not getting ahead of people and not throwing quality strikes when I need to. It’s definitely something that’s an area of emphasis right now.”

Kelly ran into the most trouble in the third inning following a one-run second frame.

After getting leadoff man Mookie Betts to fly out, first baseman Freddie Freeman responded with a double before Will Smith registered a walk to put two men on with one out.

Third baseman Max Muncy grounded into what looked to be a double play in the making, but shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and Kelly couldn’t connect at first base following the force out at second.

Freeman headed home to make it 2-0.

Former D-back and Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez extended the lead on the next at-bat behind an RBI double before being thrown out at third base and ending the inning.

Another run in the sixth would spell the end of Kelly’s night.

For Kelly, it’s about getting that consistency back following a not-so-normal spring that included the World Baseball Classic and a different workload than he had been accustomed to seeing ahead of the regular season.

“I’m not naive to not think that I didn’t get my normal build up this spring training with the amount of games and the amount of reps and the amount of innings that I normally would have gotten.

“I think the games around spring training were around the same amount, but obviously they were different circumstances, not just building up innings and getting the reps I need to. I’ve definitely dealt with bouts of inconsistency throughout my career without the different build up, but I definitely wouldn’t take it off the table that it’s kind of leaking in from the preparation to the season.”

But for all the trouble Kelly got into Thursday night, the same couldn’t be said for Dodgers hurler Dustin May.

Outside of an RBI double from third baseman Josh Rojas in the sixth inning, May caused D-backs hitters fits for most of the night, allowing just two hits along with the run across six frames of work.

“For the second time in a row, their starting pitcher seemed to throw a pretty good game against our offense,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “I want to give credit where credit is due, but I feel like … where we’re getting to and where we’re going, we got to find a way to win these types of games and beat these types of pitchers.

“There’s a certain standard here that I want to make sure we’re upholding. I believe in our hitters enough to go out there and execute against anybody. We got to believe that deep in our heart. Every single day, we’re going to go out and beat whoever’s throwing. … The remedy’s simple. When you play baseball and execute at a high level, good things happen and when you don’t … bad things happen.”


– Rojas on the sellout crowd and atmosphere of Chase Field:

“It was awesome, it was loud and it was a lot of D-backs fans, too. The last couple years we haven’t had that. We’ve been getting spanked by the Dodgers and normally we’re playing at home and we’re on the road. We’re getting booed taking the field, stuff like that.

“Today was awesome. I felt like it was a home crowd and the D-backs fans showed out and were loud. It was a lot of fun, it was loud, it was electric.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

randy johnson...

Arizona Sports

ESPN: Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson among top 25 MLB players of 21st century

MLB Hall of Famer and Arizona Diamondbacks legend Randy Johnson's resume in the 2000's solidified his spot among ESPN's top 25 players of the 21st century.

1 hour ago

Bobby Witt Jr....

Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks struggle to contain red-hot Bobby Witt Jr. in loss to Royals

The Diamondbacks ran into the hottest hitter in baseball on Monday, and Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. finished a single shy of a cycle. 

11 hours ago

Manager Torey Lovullo...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo ejected as tensions rise vs. Royals

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was ejected from Monday's ballgame at the Royals after tensions rose following a pair of hit-by-pitches.

12 hours ago

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks...

Alex Weiner

Reports: Diamondbacks sign draft picks Ivan Luciano, Tytus Cissell

The Arizona Diamondbacks took the next step adding a large segment of their 2024 draft class to the organization.

15 hours ago

Yilber Diaz...

Aaron Schmidt

Diamondbacks-Royals preview: Pitching probables, key players

The Arizona Diamondbacks look to keep their momentum as they open a three-game series against an improved Kansas City Royals team on Monday.

19 hours ago

Arizona Diamondbacks designated hitter Ketel Marte reacts to striking out during the eighth inning ...

Associated Press

Nico Hoerner’s bases-loaded walk in the 10th gives the Cubs a victory over the D-backs

Nico Hoerner walked with the bases loaded in the 10th to give the Chicago Cubs a 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

2 days ago

Diamondbacks unable to find answers for Dustin May, Dodgers in home-opening loss