Video Credit: MLB

FSM Essential Recap: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks – Series 34

Los Angeles Dodgers (64-43)  |  Arizona Diamondbacks (33-73)


“Above anything else, I hate to lose”

– Jackie Robinson


Game 3:


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

The Dodgers’ offense seems to get right when they face the Diamondbacks. Los Angeles’ biggest offensive explosions of the season have come in the last 3 weeks, both facing Caleb Smith and the Diamondbacks. Sunday’s final score was 13-0 at Chase Field, chasing Smith after a whopping 70 pitches to record only five outs.

AJ Pollock stayed hot after a scorching July. He kicked off August with his second four-hit game of the season. He doubled twice, singled twice, and drove in two runs on Sunday. Pollock’s other four-hit game this season came on July 10, ironically it was in a game started by Smith, this time it was in Los Angeles which saw the Dodgers set a Los Angeles record for runs scored.

Justin Turner hit the go-ahead home run in Saturday’s win and followed that up with a three-run shot on Sunday, his 20th home run of the season.

Mookie Betts in his first game back off the injured list walked and had two hits, including a home run off of catcher Bryan Holaday, who pitched the ninth inning of the blowout. Betts, playing second base on Sunday, also executed a 4-3 double play and made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch ranging into short centerfield.


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images

Albert Pujols reached base four times on Sunday as well, finishing off a productive weekend in the desert.

I think people see the conversations on TV, and obviously the production, but behind the curtain, there’s so much other stuff going on,” manager Dave Roberts said Saturday night. “He’s adding to veteran players, to young players, and even the coaching staff. He’s just been very additive.”

In addition to all the bearhugs, Pujols has been productive in his specific role for the Dodgers. He tied Friday’s game with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning and even stole a base. Pujols had another pinch-hit RBI single on Saturday, then stayed in the game to deliver another RBI single in the ninth inning.

Sunday meant a start for Pujols, the 18th time he’s started in the 18 games against a left-handed starting pitcher since joining the Dodgers in May. He walked against Smith in the first inning, then in the second inning cleared the bases on Smith’s 42nd and final pitch of the inning.

Pujols against left-handers with the Dodgers is hitting .329/.370/.605 with eight extra-base hits and 20 RBI in 81 plate appearances. El Tio has been an excellent addition to the Dodgers, in every aspect.


Game 3 Boxscore:


WP: Julio Urías (13-3)

LP: Caleb Smith (3-8)

HR: Justin Turner (20), Mookie Betts (15)


The Dodgers are off Monday before beginning a two-game series at Dodger Stadium against the Houston Astros. Walker Buehler starts Tuesday’s series opener against Lance McCullers Jr. The first pitch is at 7:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.



Game 2:


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

Saturday night’s game in Phoenix would be decided by the bullpens. But it wasn’t the team deploying the bullpen game that ran into trouble. The Dodgers pounced on their first glimpse of Diamondbacks relievers in an 8-3 win at Chase Field.

The Dodgers Justin Turner hit a two-run shot in the seventh inning to break a tie, on the second pitch from the first Arizona relief pitcher, Stefan Crichton.

Crichton, pitching in relief of starter Merrill Kelly, face the required three batters in his outing, and allowed hits to all three. In came lefty Ryan Buchter, who allowed one of Cody Bellinger’s two infield singles on the night to load the bases.

Albert Pujols for the second straight night delivered a pinch-hit single, then Billy McKinney’s groundout brought home an insurance run, the fourth tally of the inning. Pujols added yet another RBI single in the ninth.

You’re going to look back at this game, and JT’s home run was obviously a big hit, but guys keeping the line moving, using the whole field was unbelievable,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I think for me, the highlight was that Pujols at-bat [in the ninth]. You’ve got infield in, man on third base, you’re just fighting. Fighting to move that ball forward and drive in a run. It wasn’t pretty, a ball up and in and getting jammed. But that just showed our desire to win a baseball game.”

For all the juggling the Dodgers have done with their lineup of late with various injuries, their five reliable constants in July — Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Turner, Will Smith, and AJ Pollock — batted in the first five spots in the batting order on Saturday, and all had at least two hits. They combined for 11 hits, six runs scored, and four runs batted in.

An underrated aspect of that quintet was combining for eight stolen bases without getting caught in July. That included three stolen bases on Saturday — Muncy stole second, Pollock stole third, and Taylor stole home.


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

Mitch White set the tone with one of his best big league appearances, pitching 3⅔ innings with five strikeouts to open the bullpen game. That included nine straight batters retired before a walk of Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth, followed by Kole Calhoun taking him deep.

Garrett Cleavinger, recalled before the game, recorded two outs of his own but allowed a game-tying homer to Nick Ahmed, providing the 3-3 score that remained until the Dodgers’ seventh-inning rally.

Victor Gonzalez got out of Cleavinger’s jam in the fifth with a double play, and Dodgers relievers retired 12 of the final 13 batters of the game, and thanks to a pair of double plays, faced the minimum and recorded 14 outs.

Gonzalez and Alex Vesia were both pitching for a third straight day, with Vesia earning the win after a scoreless sixth. Blake Treinen and Joe Kelly also pitched scoreless frames on Saturday, both pitching for a second straight night.

I told our guys to tip our caps to our bullpen, out there grinding. Some guys are going three days in a row,” Turner said. “They find ways to get outs, keep us in games, and give us a chance. Hopefully we’re getting close to getting everyone back, and it’s going to be exciting to see our full roster out there.”


Game 2 Boxscore:


WP: Alex Vesia (1-1)

LP: Merrill Kelly (7-8)

HR: Justin Turner (19); Kole Calhoun (3), Nick Ahmed (3)



Julio Urías on the mound in the series finale against Caleb Smith. The first pitch is at 1:10 and can be seen on Sportsnet LA.




Game 1:


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

The Dodgers have a planned bullpen game on Saturday, and they had an unplanned bullpen game on Friday. The offense roared back from a three-run deficit in the later innings to tie but couldn’t push home the go-ahead run instead of dropping yet another extra-inning game, this one a 6-5 Diamondbacks win.

Asdrubal Cabrera’s one-out bloop single to left off Jimmy Nelson in the 10th brought home the winner for Arizona in this one. Friday was the Dodgers’ 10th consecutive loss in extra-inning games this season, in which they are 1-11 in extra frames.

The ease with which the Diamondbacks brought home the winning run had to be galling for a Dodgers team that needed only nine pitches to strand their own free runner in the top of the frame.

After just one hit and one walk in the first five innings, the Dodgers had 10 hits over the next four frames to tie the game. They also left runners in scoring position in each of the last four innings in regulation. Los Angeles was 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

The comeback effort had a little bit of everything, including an AJ Pollock bat drop on a would-be grand slam that turned into a sacrifice fly, two more extra-base hits by Chris Taylor, and a game-tying single from Albert Pujols in the eighth inning, after which he stole second base.

The 41-year-old Pujols also stole a base with the Angels on April 19, putting him in select company.

After the tie, we even got a Kenley Jansen rollercoaster ride, with the Dodgers closer pitching the eighth inning, ensuring he got into his first game in six days. After a one-out pop-fly double, Jansen walked a batter — his 28th in 40⅓ innings this season — and allowed a 3-0 single to load the bases. But Jansen recovered to strike out both Christian Walker and Carson Kelly to keep the game tied, much to the delight of a loud young fan positioned near a microphone, who kept imploring, “Come on Kenley, you got this” among other things.

Dodgers pitchers tied a season-high with nine walks on the night, with starter Tony Gonsolin leading the way.

As part of the trade for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, the Dodgers sent Josiah Gray to Washington. Gray was penciled in to start on Saturday. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Friday’s game the plan was for a bullpen game to take Gray’s spot.

With what we have, we’ll make it work,” Roberts said.

It’s a fitting end to the month of July that has seen the Dodgers use an average of 4.28 relief pitchers per game.


Dodgers vs Diamondbacks
Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The eight pitchers out of the bullpen used on Friday is less than ideal heading into Saturday. But that’s what happens when relievers have to cover 22 outs just to get to extra innings.

Gonsolin recorded only five outs in the series opener at Chase Field, chased after walking four batters in the second inning. Gonsolin walked five of his 11 batters faced, continuing a trend this season. The right-hander has 26 walks in 35⅔ innings this season, after walking only seven in 46⅔ innings last regular season.

Not good. Just really bad,” Gonsolin said. “I had no command at all. It just can’t happen.”

The fourth walk in the second inning didn’t score a run — the two runs charged to Gonsolin came on a double by second baseman Josh VanMeter — but did load the bases. Phil Bickford escaped the damage with a fly ball, the latest reliever to save Gonsolin’s bacon.

It has its days where it doesn’t feel great,” Gonsolin said of his shoulder. “But for the most part, it feels good.”

What they need is for Gonsolin to get right, whether that means finding his control, getting his shoulder healthy, or both, because things aren’t working at the moment.


Game 1 Boxscore:


WP: Tyler Rogers (2-1)

LP: Jimmy Nelson (1-2)

HR: Chris Taylor (17)


The Dodgers will have a bullpen game today with Merrill Kelly going for Arizona this evening. The first pitch is at 5:10 and can be seen on SportsNet LA.


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