Steven Souza Jr’s Revenge a Bitter Pill for the D-backs
Caleb Smith pitched a great game, tossing 6 scoreless innings allowing just one hit and walking 4 while striking out 5. He induced 3 double plays to get out of trouble in 1st, 4th and 6th innings. He respectfully declined to give a ZOOM interview after the game.
The offense could not generate anything against Trevor Bauer. They had chances early, with runners in scoring position in 4 of the first 5 innings, but couldn’t break through, going 0-6 W/RISP. Bauer retired the last 7 he faced and ended up going 7 scoreless allowing just 3 hits and striking out 8 on 115 pitches. The Dodgers bullpen made it 13 straight retired to end the game as the D-backs went down meekly.
T-1: Throwing nothing but 4 Seamers Smith fell behind Mookie Betts 3-0 and eventually walked him on a 3-2 pitch to start the game. He went to the slider against Chris Taylor and got him swinging at a pitch middle middle. Justin Turner walked on 6 pitches after being down 1-2, and LA had 1st and 2nd one out. Fortunately for Smith Albert Pujols grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to get him out of the inning despite throwing 11 balls and just 9 strikes.
B-1: Josh Rojas hit a double off the wall in center to leadoff the game for the D-backs. Betts caught the ball off the wall before it even hit the ground, which was unusual. Had he missed that Rojas would still be running. Ketel Marte struck out on a nasty change up, down and away, failing to advance the runner. Escobar flew out to deep center, but Rojas choosing not to challenge Betts’ arm stayed put at 2nd. It didn’t matter, Christian Walker was rung up on a pitch that was clearly off the plate down and away. Walker stayed at the plate for a while and quietly made his displeasure known.
T-2: 3 up 3 down for the Dodgers, capped off by Stephen Souza Jr. caught looking at a curve that just caught the top of the zone.
B-2 : Cabrera flew out to right and Peralta popped up a 2-0 cutter to 2b. Carson Kelly struck out on 3 pitches and Bauer had a 9 pitch inning.
T-3: Smith pitched his second consecutive 1-2-3 inning, punctuated by Betts striking out. After starting out with 9 strikes and 11 balls, he’s thrown just 6 balls and has 17 strike in his last 23 pitches.
B-3 Josh Rojas drew a two out walk and stole second to get into scoring position, but Marte hit a sharp ground ball into the shift and Chris Taylor threw him out from shallow right field.
T-4: Caleb Smith walked Chris Taylor to start the inning. Turner hit a hard one hopper to Asdrubal Cabrera who was trying to throw to second to start the double play before he caught the ball as it clanked off his glove for an E5. Pujols broke his bat hitting a soft line drive to a leaping Nick Ahmed for the first out of the inning. AJ Pollock singled just by Ahmed into left to load the bases. That was the Dodgers first hit of the game. Will Smith hit the first pitch he saw sharply to short and they turned the double play to get out of the inning.
B-4: Christian Walker drew a one out walk. Cabrera hit into a 4-6 fielders choice followed by a David Peralta bouncer that got through the shift into right center for a base hit a runner in scoring position for Carson Kelly. After the first pitch buzzed his tower, Kelly just got under the ball, lifting a fly ball that backed Pollack up to the wall, but just shy of a homer for the 3rd out.
T-5: Smith worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning against the bottom of the Dodgers order, although Gavin Lux had a 10 pitch at bat before striking out looking
B-5: Josh Rojas walked with two outs and Ketel Marte singled to left, but for the 4th time in 5 innings the D-backs failed to bring home a runner in scoring position. (0-6 w/ RISP so far )
T-6: Chris Taylor walked with one out, but Smith induced his third double play of the game, this time Justin Turner was the victim. He got through 6 innings with 91 pitches thrown. Noe Ramiriez was warming up but sat back down after the DP. It will be int
B-6: Bauer Retired the D-backs in order in the 6th with his pitch count reaching 101. The out of the inning was Christian Walking falling down while swinging at a pitch up and in. Adding insult to injury we got this:
T-7: Newcomer Noe Ramirez made his D-backs debut. Throwing mostly changeups, cutters, and curveballs he worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning, throwing 12 strikes and only 2 balls. An impressive little debut for the veteran reliever.
B-7: Bauer came out to start with 7th with Victor Gonzalez warming up in the pen for LA. After Kelly flew out to center Ahmed lifted a fly in foul territory near the wall in right and wouldn’t you know it, Souza made a great sliding catch crashing his legs into the wall in the process. Ildemaro Vargas pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot and bounced out to second. Bauer pitched 7 scoreless, allowing 3 hits walking 3 and struck out 8. He retired the last 7 batters he faced.
T-8: Joe Mantiply came in to pitch and buzzed leadoff hitter Souza up an in. On the very next pitch Souza drilled a fastball into the D-backs bullpen for a 1-0 Dodger lead. Of course it had to be Souza, because Dbacky things happen. He gave a stare up to the Dbacks executive suite as he crossed home plate. Gavin Lux walked and Andy Burns pinch hitting doubled to give LA 2nd and 3rd. Mantiply came out of the game and gave way to Stefan Crichton. Crichton go Bets to fly out to deep center, scoring Lux from 3rd and Taylor popped out to first. But then Crichton slipped off the rubber, balking home the 3rd run of the Dodger inning.
Great defense leads to great offense.
Have a night Steven Souza Jr. #Dodgers
— Doug McKain (@DMAC_LA) June 19, 2021
B-8: With Jimmy Nelson pitching for the Dodgers, the top of the D-backs order went quietly in the 8th. Rojas struck out looking, Marte hit a squibber back to Nelson, and Escobar popped up weakly to 2nd.
T-9: With the Dodgers safely up 3-0 Joakim Soria of course worked a scoreless 9th
B-9: With Kenley Jansen on to close, the D-backs go down in order in the 9th,
Their record is now 20-51. I don’t know how much more of this any of us can take. Not much from the Skipper tonight. He’s pissed. We all are. He admitted that.
Torey Lovullo audio [or link]
Positive WPA: Caleb Smith .356, Noe Ramirez .088, Josh Rojas .074
Negative WPA: Joe Mantiply -.379, Eduardo Escobar, -.126, Carson Kelly -.102
Roll Call: The Usual Diehards posted up tonight, giving us 370 comments, thank you to all
COTG goes to Diamondhacks for sharing his wife’s review of the Unis.