Diamondbacks split with Dodgers after bullpen struggles in finale

For the first time this season the Arizona Diamondbacks have lost back-to back games, as the D-backs split the series with the LA Dodgers.

April 30: Diamondbacks win 8-5
May 1: Diamondbacks win 4-3
May 2: Diamondbacks lose 2-1
May 3: Diamondbacks lose 5-2

“As sure as I’m sitting here right now, I knew that we were probably going to lose two games in a row at some point this year,” D-backs’ manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s okay. Tomorrow is another day, we reload, we take a little bit of an evening off, maybe get away from the grind of the game, come out tomorrow and be ready for a really, really fun and exciting series against the Houston Astros.”

Bullpen falls a part in finale

The D-backs were looking good with Patrick Corbin on the mound and a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth inning on Thursday, but then the bullpen began to fall a part.

Fernando Salas came on in the eighth and gave up a walk and two singles to load the bases with the top of the Dodgers’ order, before he was pulled and replaced by Jorge De La Rosa.

De La Rosa had two wild pitches and a balk that ended up plating all three runners of which were credited to Salas. De La Rosa would end up getting out of the inning but the damage had already been done.

But why not Archie Bradley in the eighth?

“Archie and Boxberger were down today,” Lovullo said. “We knew two nights ago we were going all in on game two. We took the lead real quick, had to reverse a little bit of some strategies and ended up winning that game because of their usage. But we knew, we felt strongly, four out of five that they were probably would need to be down for a couple days.”

The reason for not using Yoshi Hirano in the eighth inning was because Lovullo was looking to give Hirano his first closer opportunity.

“We wanted to get through Kemp with Salas, maybe utilize a good matchup for Bellinger, and then hopefully at that point of the inning, we would be close to over and then have Hirano finish the game in the ninth inning,” Lovullo said. “That’s the mindset I had, hindsights 20/20, but that’s the decision I made about the fourth inning if that was the case, I was going to stick to it.” 

Souza Jr.’s D-backs debut

Steven Souza Jr. made his D-backs debut on Thursday. Souza was on the DL with a strained right pectoral muscle that he sustained just before the season started in March.

Souza went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.

Despite the debut not being what they were hoping for, Lovullo said he liked what he saw out of Souza’s approach at the plate. 

“As far as getting back on his feet, getting back on a big league stage, it was nice to see,” Lovullo said. “He worked very hard to make today happen. It was good to see him out there.”

Pollock named NL Player of Month

On Wednesday, MLB announced that AJ Pollock had won NL Player of the Month for April. 

Pollock is tied with Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon for the most home runs in the National League at 10, also tied for third in MLB.

On Monday, Pollock had his first career three-homer game. It was the Diamondbacks’ 12th three home run game in team history, the sixth at Chase Field.

Walker hits homer to Friday’s Grill

On Tuesday, Christian Walker hit the longest home run off of Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw in the Statcast era. The monster shot recorded at 479 feet and landed on someone’s plate up in the Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill. 

Walker had been called up from Triple-A Reno on April 8. The D-backs sent Walker back to Reno on Thursday to make room for Souza coming off of the DL.

Next Up

The Diamondbacks will host the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros Friday through Sunday at Chase Field. This will be the first time in Chase Field history that the D-backs have hosted the National League and American League Champions. Probable starters for the weekend are Kris Medlan on Friday, who the D-backs are expected to officially call up Friday morning from Triple-A Reno, Zack Greinke on Saturday and Matt Koch on Sunday.

The Astros probable starter for Friday is Gerrit Cole who is second in the AL in strikeouts with 61 behind teammate Justin Verlander with 62. Verlander is Sunday’s probable starter. In his last outing, the ace went eight shutout innings allowing three hits with 14 strikeouts. Charlie Morton will be the likely starter on Saturday. All three weekend starters for the Astros have below a 2.00 ERA.