In a critical series with division implications, the Arizona Diamondbacks lost the first two games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
LOS ANGELES – Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks could not ask for more out his starter on Wednesday night. In the middle contest of a three-game set against the National League West Division Los Angeles Dodgers, right-hander Zack Godley was sent out to even this important set.
Allowing one run into the six innings, Godley was right around the plate and picked up critical strike outs at important times. In the end, his fortunes turned soar, and Godley dropped a 1-0 decision to the Dodgers before 40,997 in Dodger Stadium. With the loss, the Diamondbacks now drop 4.5 games behind the Dodgers and lefty Robbie Ray will try and salvage the final game of this series Thursday night. Previously this season, Ray halted two, three-game streaks and will ask to stop the latest skid.
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Despite surrendering the lone tally in the second, Godley’s sinker, his signature pitch, was clearly evident. At one critical juncture of the game, the Dodgers were up 1-0 in the sixth and had a runner on second with one out. That’s when Justin Turner stepped into the box. With fans all over Dodger Stadium using social media to add Turner to the National League All-Star squad, Godley calmly fed Turner a diet of his signature sinkers, and Turner went down on strikes.
For his effort, Godley allowed that one run, driven in by a Yasmani Grandal double in the second that scored Turner who singled. Throughout, Godley clearly kept his team in the game, and afterward told Venom Strikes that the two L. A. hitters which produced the run deserve the credit.
"“I felt good, and felt I had command of the strike zone,” he said. “That pitch to Turner was a mistake. I wanted that outside just a little, but it came back over the plate. Grandal is a good first pitch hitter and he had a good pitch to hit. Kudos to him.”"
If the Diamondbacks’ offense sputtered in the opener of this series against L. A. ace Clayton Kershaw, they had equal difficulty with Alex Wood, the Dodgers’ starter, Wednesday night. Gaining the victory, Wood moved to 10-0, and became the first Dodger starter to open the season at 10-0 since Don Newcombe for Brooklyn in 1955.
Wood carried a no-hitter into the fourth and that’s when the Diamondbacks had their greatest opportunity. Ketel Marte lead off with a walk and Jake Lamb picked up the first hit off Wood with a two-out double down the left field line. Wood then struck out Brandon Drury to end the only legitimate threat employed by the Diamondbacks in this game.
In the sixth, an infield single from Gregor Blanco and shot up the middle from Paul Goldschmidt put runners on first and second with one out. Wood then retired Chris Owings on a liner to center and Lamb fanned to end the frame.
Afterward, Lovullo expressed dismay in his team’s inability to produce clutch hits and timely runs. That has been the character of this team, and failure to come up with important runs at critical times could foreshadow things to come. If the Diamondbacks are to remain in the NL West race, it would be plausible that timely hits and quality pitches would be the norm.
Still, Lovullo told Venom Strikes after the game that the Diamondbacks encountered perhaps the best pitchers right now in the game, in Kershaw and Wood, but ready to move forward.
"“We need to turn the page as quickly as possible,” he said. “Kershaw and Wood did what they had to do and we saw that. They delivered a one-two punch at us, and give them credit. Now, we have to ready for tomorrow.”"
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Can the Dodgers be caught?"
The series concludes Thursday night in Dodger Stadium. All-Star selection Robbie Ray (8-4, 3.06 ERA) takes on L. A. lefty Rich Hill (5-4, 4.00).
The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field and three with the Cincinnati Reds before breaking for the All-Star game. For the Reds set, Lovullo tapped righty Zack Grienke to start the series Friday night, and followed by right-hander Taijuan Walker and lefty Patrick Corbin on Sunday.
The Diamondbacks open their second half with a six-game road trip to Atlanta (for there) and Cincinnati for three.