Arizona Diamondbacks – bullpen implodes in loss


The bullpen of the Arizona Diamondbacks continues to have difficulty getting hitters out.

LOS ANGELES –  The bullpen of the Arizona Diamondbacks is not a pretty place to be these days. If manager Chip Hale has difficulty trying to piece a starting rotation together, the bullpen is now an utter mess.

Despite a seven-run, seventh inning that created a comfortable margin Friday night, the bullpen did its best volcano impression. Collectively, the trio of Daniel Hudson, Zac Curtis and Dominic Leone sprayed enough lava to obliterate a commendable effort from starter Zack Godley, and deprived the right-hander of a well-earned victory.

Instead, the Dodgers responded with a five-run, seventh to go ahead by one and added another in the eighth on their way to a 9-7 victory before 50,966 in Dodger Stadium.

The loss was particularly painful for Godley, who turned in his second quality start of the season (five starts in 2016), and limited the Dodgers to four hits and three runs in six strong innings. Down 3-0 heading into the seventh, the Arizona Diamondbacks exploded for those seven in the seventh and, if the bullpen could hold the lead, that would have made a winner of Godley.

“I felt good was able to command the strike zone,” Godley sad afterward. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold the lead. I just had good command down in the zone, and the defense turned in some great plays behind me.”

After a shaky start and allowing three runs after four innings, Godley settled down and retired the last seven hitters he faced.

Though he was hitting a first-pitch strike fairly consistently, Godley had some difficulty finding the plate early in the game. Yielding critical walks at inopportune times provided a fine line between failure and a quality start Friday night in Dodger Stadium, but Godley improved as the game progressed.

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The outcome was clearly not encouraging because two walls, one in each the second and fourth innings and both scored, provided an uncomfortable margin of difference. Capitalizing on those free passes, the Los Angeles Dodgers eventually gained a that marginal 3-0 lead, but the Arizona Diamondbacks clawed back.

Two key hits powered the seven-run frame. First, Welington Castillo stepped on a 2-2 breaking pitch from starter Kenta Maeda and drove a double to the right centerfield gap. That scored Paul Goldschmidt, who alter keyed the inning with a bases-clearing double with the sacks loaded.

Then, the bullpen faulted dramatically.

Asking to hold a four-run advantage in the seventh, Hudson immediately gave up a single, Joc Pederson smoked a liner just over the right centerfield fence for his 14th homer of the season, and then also in the seventh, Chase Utley took the first pitch he saw from reliever Curtis into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen for the game winning-two run homer.

“I guess (Utley) saw something he liked and jumped on it,” Curtis said. “Look, you have to trust yourself and trust your stuff. Just go out tomorrow and move forward.”

At this point, the major concern is Hudson. After coming back from two Tommy John surgeries last season to be a key member of the Diamondbacks bullpen, Hudson began this season as he finished the last. Yet, in recent games, he’s lost location and now seems to have lost value. For the season, Hudson has appeared in 43 games after Friday’s game with a 1-2 record and spiraling 6.81 ERA.

“(Hudson’s) had success in the past, and we know what he can do,” Hale said after Friday’s game. “Maybe we need to take him out of the relevant situations, and get his confidence back.”

As a result of the loss, the Diamondbacks fell to 2-6 on their current road trip, and now drop to 42-61 on the season. That’s 19 games under .500 for a team which had soaring hopes at the start of the season. They have two games remaining on this trip, and both are here at Dodger Stadium.

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The series from Dodger Stadium continues. On Saturday at 6:10 p.m., look for Braden Shipley (0-1, 10.13) to make his second start for the Diamondbacks. Lefty Scott Kazmir (9-3, 4.25) takes the mound for L. A. In the Sunday and road trip finale, it’s Patrick Corbin (4-9, 5.31) going against right-hander Bud Norris (6-9, 4.27).

Next: Diamondbacks: Losing record in series

The Arizona Diamondbacks then return to Chase Field for a six-game home stand. This features three with the Washington Nationals and three with the Milwaukee Brewers.