Dodgers Outlast Diamondbacks in NLDS Opener

(Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ offense made the most out of  a shaky first inning by Diamondbacks’ starter Taijuan Walker on Friday evening, and eventually held off the Arizona bats en route to a 9-5 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five NLDS.

Center fielder Chris Taylor looped a single to left-center field to start the bottom of the first inning, followed by a walk from Corey Seager. Hitting in his normal three-hole, Justin Turner then launched a 424-foot bomb into the bleachers in left-center for an early 3-0 advantage. Rookie sensation Cody Bellinger followed with a single, and quickly scored on a Yasiel Puig double to increase the Los Angeles lead to 4-0. The Dodgers rally would fizzle, however, when Curtis Granderson and Yasmani Grandal struck out consecutively, and ultimately died when Clayton Keshaw was punched out after Logan Forsythe was walked intentionally.

Walker was replaced by righty Zack Godley after only one inning of work.

Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock hit a line shot into the stands in left-center field in the top of the third frame to narrow the gap to 4-1, but the Dodgers would tack on three additional runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, highlighted by singles from Forsythe, Seager and Turner.

Kershaw looked relatively sharp in the early stages of the game, despite a laborious 22-pitch first inning. CK appeared to be on cruise control until the top of the sixth inning, when J.D. Martinez roped a home run down the left field line. The Martinez bomb could have been much worse, if it weren’t for a much-needed double-play induced by Kershaw just a few pitches earlier.

In the top of the seventh frame, the Diamondbacks struck again when Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis hit back-to-back solo shots off of Kershaw to narrow the Dodgers’ lead to 7-4. Kersh was chased out of the game after 100 pitches, having completed 6-1/3 innings and surrendering four earned runs on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.

Relievers Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow combined to throw scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth.

The Dodgers would later tack on two welcoming insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, when pinch-hitter Austin Barnes scored on a triple from Seager. It was Seager’s first triple of the entirety of 2017. Seager later scored on a RBI single by Turner to extend the lead to 9-4 heading into the final frame.

After surrendering a two-out run to Marte, closer Kenley Jansen survived the ninth inning to seal the victory for Los Angeles. Kershaw was credited with his first victory of the 2017 postseason.

Turner and Puig were the big boppers for the Dodgers on offense, as Turner ended his evening 3-for-4, including the early long ball, with five RBI, while Puig went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBI. On the flip side, Grandal and Granderson went a combined 0-for-8.

In Game 2 on Saturday evening, veteran lefty Rich Hill will take the bump for the Dodgers, while southpaw Robbie Ray gets the nod for Arizona. First pitch is slated for 6:08 p.m. Los Angeles time.

(Follow Dennis on Twitter: @thinkbluepc)



5 thoughts on “Dodgers Outlast Diamondbacks in NLDS Opener

  1. Depending upon how Barnes does tonight, he may get the start against Greinke in game 3 although Grandal hit very well against him this year (even though only a 12 at bat sample size). Ethier definitely deserves a start against Greinke but I doubt Roberts would make a change that quickly. I keep thinking of how things would be if Toles hadn’t gotten hurt this year.
    Hill vs Ray could be an epic battle tonight, but the way good pitchers have been hit around so far this October, it might wind up 10-9. I’ll be there to see it. I hope I don’t have to cover my eyes.

  2. Morning after. Great game but a lot of us in the stands were shaking our heads at some of the decisions made by Roberts, including pulling Maeda so quickly, using Cingrani for only one batter in the middle of the game and a number of others. Long story short, we won, so I suppose I should just keep my mouth shut.

    1. Yeah, I definitely felt the same way about Maeda, especially considering the way he was throwing. His slider was working extremely well, and his 4-seam was touching 95 MPH. Cingrani I can understand—I think he’s gonna be exclusively used in a LOOGY role from here on out. Even moreso than Watson.

      1. I understand that they want to use Cingrani in a LOOGY role (although I don’t think his splits are all that pronounced). My problem was bringing him in to start the 5th while having a lead and only one other lefty in the bullpen. If it had been the 7th, for example, with a runner or two on base, sure, bring him in for one batter. But to waste him on one batter to start an inning that early in the game and with a lead, that just doesn’t make much sense to me. He’s been quite the pick up. If he continues to pitch this way, we’ll all be talking about what a steal this trade was, especially considering the fact that we control him for more than just this season.

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