Dodgers @ D’backs July 31, 2021: Return of the Bullpen Game

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers dropped another extra innings game yesterday and failed to take advantage of losses by the Giants and Padres. It’s truly impressive how bad this team has been in extra innings this season. You’d think they’d accidentally win a second extra-inning game, but they’re 1-11 in extras. Despite their early-season struggles, the Dodgers head into the final day of July at 13-12 for the month, and need a win today to avoid their first non-winning calendar month since May 2018.

Last night, a Tony Gonsolin start turned into a bullpen game as he was only able to record five outs and the Dodgers used eight relievers, six of whom threw 15 or more pitches. Tonight, the Dodgers turn to another bullpen game as today’s scheduled starter (Josiah Gray) is now a Washington National.

5:10 PM Phoenix
SS Taylor C Kelly
2B Muncy (L) 2B Vanmeter (L)
3B Turner 1B Cabrera (S)
C Smith RF Calhoun (L)
LF Pollock 3B Ellis
CF Bellinger (L) LF Peralta (L)
1B Beaty (L) SS Ahmed
RF McKinney (L) CF Varsho (L)
P White (R) P Kelly (R)

Mitch White is the first man up for the Dodgers today. It’ll be White’s first Major League start in 16 appearances, 14 of which have come this season. He’s been serviceable, with eight earned runs allowed in 20 1/3 innings (this doesn’t include allowing six unearned runs in an inning against the Angels after an Austin Barnes error at second extended the inning). White has topped 30 pitches in five of his 14 appearances and has maxed out at 65 pitches on July 7, so I’m sure the Dodgers are hoping he can give them a little length.

The Diamondbacks have had a lot of injuries in their rotation, but so far Merrill Kelly has been their most dependable starter. He’ll be making his 22nd start of the season, and he has a 4.39 ERA/3.90 FIP in 123 innings. Kelly has yet to throw more than 100 pitches in a game this season and is coming off his most efficient game, where he threw a season-low 77 pitches in six innings against the Cubs.

Kelly has made two starts against the Dodgers this season. On May 20 in LA, Kelly struck out a career-high 12 batters in seven innings, but allowed three runs and took the loss. Kelly also started in LA on July 11 and allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Kelly has been excellent at not beating himself. Last season, his 4 percent walk rate was the 10th-best among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. This season, his 5.5 percent walk rate is the 15th-best among qualified starters.

Corey Seager is out of the lineup the day after his return from the IL. It was reported said last night that he’d get today off and will be back tomorrow, so Chris Taylor starts at short with Max Muncy at second and Matt Beaty at first.


Along with Seager, Mookie Betts is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow.

Betts hasn’t started since July 17 and hasn’t appeared in any capacity since July 19. He’s taken some grounders at second with the possibility of playing there to limit his running, much like the Dodgers did with Cody Bellinger at first when he was dealing with a hamstring.


With Gray out of the organization, some other Dodger pitching prospects are making moves.

Ryan Pepiot and Andre Jackson both got promoted to Triple A OKC. Pepiot was Dustin’s number nine prospect before the season, and Jackson was number 11. Both have pitched well at Double A this season and will surely be higher on Dustin’s next prospect list. Jackson has the best hair in the organization (sorry Dustin May), so if he’s not Dustin’s new number one prospect I’m rioting.


The Dodgers made some roster moves.

Gonsolin was placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation. His control has been horrid of late, and hopefully some time off can get him out of that funk. This might not doom the Dodgers into more bullpen games, as they have off days Monday, Thursday and the following Monday. Luke Raley and Brusdar Graterol were also optioned, and Garrett Cleavinger and Edwin Uceta were recalled to give them some fresh bullpen arms for tonight.

Max Scherzer was also activated and is lined up to start Wednesday against Houston.


First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PDT and will be shown on Sportsnet LA.

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.