Missed Opportunities Doom Diamondbacks against Dodgers

James Outman of the Dodgers signals to the dugout after an RBI single against the Diamondbacks
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX, Apr. 6 — Two failed double play attempts and a missed opportunity to tie the game in the seventh doomed the Arizona Diamondbacks, who fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in their home opener Thursday night, 5–2. Freddie Freeman went 2-for-5 with a double, a homer, an RBI, and two runs scored in the Dodger victory.

Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly, who has not had much success in his career against the Dodgers, appeared to shake off his history early, pitching a 1–2–3 first. A leadoff walk by third baseman Max Muncy in the second, followed by a two-out infield single to third by center fielder James Outman, brought up shortstop Chris Taylor. With the runners going on a 3–2 pitch, Taylor lined a single to left, scoring Muncy for the first run. Kelly escaped further damage, however, as right fielder Jason Heyward followed with a fly to right.

Kelly ran into trouble in the third after a one-out double by first baseman Freddie Freeman and a walk by catcher Will Smith. A ground ball to first by Muncy appeared tailor-made to get Kelly out of the jam. Christian Walker fielded it cleanly and fired to second for the second out as Kelly hustled to cover first. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo’s relay was behind Kelly, and the throw got past him. This brought Freeman around to score. A follow-up double to left by J.D. Martinez scored Muncy. The throw home would have had a chance to nab Muncy, but it went wide. Catcher Gabriel Moreno alertly scooped it up and fired to third, where Martinez was a sitting duck. That ended the inning with the Dodgers holding a 3–0 lead, when it would have been 1–0 had the double play been turned.

May, Dodgers Continue to Stifle Diamondbacks Bats

Dustin May, meanwhile, continued to baffle Diamondbacks hitters. In their meeting in Los Angeles on March 31, May scattered three hits and a walk across seven scoreless innings. Thursday night in Phoenix, May lasted six innings, allowing one run on two hits while walking two and striking out five. He kept them off the scoreboard until the sixth, when a leadoff walk by Perdomo and double to right by third baseman Josh Rojas led to a run.

The Dodgers had scored their fourth run in the top of the sixth thanks to a leadoff double by Smith and two-out single by Outman. It came one batter after another failed double play attempt. Left fielder and former Diamondback David Peralta, in his first game back after being dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays near the 2022 Trade Deadline, had hit a grounder to second. Ketel Marte got the throw to second in time to force designated hitter J.D. Martinez, but the relay to first was too late to get Peralta.

With the score 4–1 in the top of the seventh, Freeman punched his two-out solo homer. The Diamondbacks got that run back in the bottom half after a one-out triple by right fielder Jake McCarthy, who scored on a passed ball. The batter at the time, Moreno, ultimately doubled to the wall in left-center. He advanced to third on a groundout by pinch-hitter Kyle Lewis. Perdomo walked, putting runners on the corners for Rojas. A deep fly to right threatened to tie the game, but it hooked foul by about 20 feet, in the estimation of manager Torey Lovullo. Rojas ended the inning with a lazy fly to center on the very next pitch. Neither team scored the rest of the game, finalizing the score at 5–2.

Postgame Reflections

“I want to give credit where credit is due,” a frustrated Lovullo laid out after the game, “but given the fact that their starting pitcher has thrown 13 innings against us, we’ve got to win these types of games. We’ve got to beat these types of pitchers. There’s a certain standard here we want to make sure we’re upholding. I believe in our hitters enough to execute against anybody. And we’ve got to believe deep in our hearts every single day, we’re gonna go out and beat no matter who’s throwing.

“I thought we had some opportunities. We just played catch-up from the very beginning. I don’t think we executed at a high level defensively. We had some situations— the remedy is simple. When you play baseball and execute at a high level, good things happen. You leave runners out there — don’t move them to third base, don’t play pitch and catch — bad things happen.”

Quick Hits

Merrill Kelly notched his 500th career strikeout in the fourth inning, with former teammate David Peralta as the victim. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game that right-handed reliever Brusdar Graterol strained his back and was unavailable. Roberts had intended to use Evan Phillips in the eighth and have Graterol close but instead used Phil Bickford in the eighth and Phillips to close.

See the pregame coverage here.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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