Merrill Kelly’s woes vs. Dodgers continue, D-backs drop season series

Aug 29, 2023, 11:02 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2023, 6:14 pm

Merrill Kelly...

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks follows the action from the dugout during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 29, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — Arizona Diamondbacks top starters Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly set season highs for earned runs allowed on consecutive nights against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers (82-49) tagged Kelly with seven runs Tuesday night at home in a 9-1 win to clinch the season series against Arizona (69-64) for the fifth straight year.

Kelly entered the game with a 5.03 ERA in his career against Los Angeles, including a 6.23 ERA at Chavez Ravine. He threw six scoreless innings against the Dodgers earlier this month at Chase Field, after which he said, “It was one game, I could turn around to face the Dodgers the next time and they could put up 17 runs.”

The Dodgers jumped on Kelly early, scoring three runs in the first inning as they did against Gallen in Monday’s 7-4 win. All three runs were scored with two outs after an inning-ending double play was overturned upon review.

David Peralta drove in the first run with a double down the right-field line against his teammate from 2019-22.

Chris Taylor helped manufacture a run with an eight-pitch walk to lead off the second and a stolen base, scoring on a Miguel Rojas single. L.A. tagged Kelly for two more runs in the third on four hits, including an RBI single by Peralta and a double by Taylor. Those two combined for six hits.

“I wasn’t doing a good job of getting ahead of guys wasn’t doing a good enough job of executing two-strike pitches, wasn’t doing a good enough job of making quality strikes and when you got those three things working against you against the team like that and playing as well as they are, it’s gonna be a long night,” Kelly said.

He didn’t get his usual swing and miss with five whiffs. The Dodgers put the ball in play and were rewarded.

Kelly is not pieced up often but he allowed an average exit velocity of 85.5 mph. It was a death by a thousand paper cuts kind of night, as the Dodgers picked up five hits off Kelly that were less than 80 mph off the bat.

The fifth inning was a good example — the Dodgers scored after three hits that were all bloopers or flares.

Kelly called it a combination of bad luck and him not being at the top of his game. He got through five innings but allowed 12 hits and three walks.

“I believe in myself, and I believe in myself against any team,” Kelly said. “I just think is a team that you can’t really afford to have an off night. Unfortunately, I’ve had a fair amount of games like that.

“They do a good job of controlling the zone, they do a good job of not swinging at balls. I make my money on trying to live on the edges and get people to swing at maybe balls they shouldn’t to try to get the weak contact. This team does a good job of not doing that. If I’m not doing a good job of consistently throwing quality strikes, I’m gonna have bad days against these guys.”

Like Gallen, Kelly had a terrific August entering his start in L.A. with a 2.08 ERA across five outings.

The Diamondbacks will finish the month 5-7 in their starts.

“You don’t budget for that,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “You don’t think that’s going to happen. We’ll give credit where credit is due, they came out ready to play in the first inning and pounced on our two best guys. We got to make some adjustments all the way around.

“It’s not just them. It’s the hitting. It’s staying engaged at the most critical times and executing on both sides of the ball. We got to tighten it up.”

Arizona lined up its starting rotation to get Gallen and Kelly going against the Dodgers, and L.A. produced 13 runs on 21 hits in 10.1 innings against them.

Mookie Betts and Will Smith took Scott McGough yard in the sixth inning to go up 9-1. Betts hit his 36th homer of the year, setting a career high.

Corbin Carroll goes yard

The only D-backs run scored Tuesday — and across their last 14 innings played — was a Corbin Carroll solo shot in the fifth inning off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.

Carroll got a curveball on the outside corner that he roped to center field, his second homer and fourth hit off Kershaw in seven at-bats against the future Hall of Famer.

It was Carroll’s 23rd home run of the year which gave him the rookie home run lead again over Gunnar Henderson and Josh Jung, who both have 22.

The offense produced only six hits and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Kershaw struggled with command early, walking two batters in the first inning and throwing 24 pitches. He walked another hitter in the third but escaped another two-on jam.

He went five innings with only the home run on the scoreboard.

“We’re a good hitting team and we can match up and score runs off anybody,” Lovullo said. “We punched across one run had some opportunities. We can do better than that.”

The D-backs dropped out of a wild card spot with the loss, as they trail the San Francisco Giants by 0.5 games.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, improved to 23-4 this month, tied for the third winningest-month in franchise history with a chance to tie their record with two more victories.

Series finale

Rookie Brandon Pfaadt gets the start Wednesday with the D-backs looking to avoid a sweep. He allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings against L.A. at Chase Field earlier this month.

Los Angeles will turn to Ryan Pepiot.

First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and 

Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card logo...

Arizona Sports

How does the NL Wild Card format, standings work for D-backs to make the postseason?

How many games are in an AL or NL Wild Card series? How many teams get in? And how does MLB playoff seeding work?

3 hours ago

Corbin Carroll...

Stephen Gugliociello

Diamondbacks president raves about Carroll, has zero concern on Hazen

After winning five-straight games at home, Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall talks about the team's hot play, among several topics. 

4 hours ago

Ketel Marte...

Arizona Sports

NL Wild Card standings: Diamondbacks fight for postseason berth

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a playoff hunt for the first time in years. After a cold July and early August, they are back in the race.

18 hours ago

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the first inning of the MLB g...

Dan Bickley

Diamondbacks seizing moment in final surge of regular season

The Diamondbacks are surging. They are having a moment. They are seizing the moment. They are again the talk of Major League Baseball.

19 hours ago

Merrill Kelly...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Merrill Kelly outduels ace Logan Webb in sweep over Giants

Merrill Kelly shook off an early home run to help the Diamondbacks sweep the Giants in two games at Chase Field.

21 hours ago

Corbin Carroll...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Corbin Carroll accomplishes rare 25-home run, 50-stolen base season

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll became the first rookie to hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bases in a single season.

1 day ago

Merrill Kelly’s woes vs. Dodgers continue, D-backs drop season series