It was an odd divisional mini-series in the middle of August, but the Dodgers didn’t seem to mind as they used the trip to Arizona to take both games from the Diamondbacks after a 2-0 victory tonight. A tight pitchers’ duel throughout, the Dodgers made the plays they needed to and the D-backs made too many mistakes in the end, which about sums up the recent play of both teams lately.
The Dodgers have now won four in a row, eight of their last nine, and three series in a row.
Merrill Kelly has settled in as the Diamondbacks #2, repeating his performance from last year. And today he navigated around trouble against the Dodgers to put together a quality start.
He started off strong, facing the minimum through three innings after a 3rd inning single was erased immediately by a double play. The 4th is when things started to get dicey, as a one-out Freddie Freeman single was followed by a Will Smith single to corner the runners, and a Max Muncy walk to load the bases. However, David Peralta grounded into an easy 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
It was back-to-back one-out singles from Jason Heyward and James Outman that accounted for the threat in the 5th, but a soft liner and a weak groundout saw that threat end as well. After getting through a relatively easy 6th that saw just a two-out single, Kelly threw two pitches in the 7th but had to leave due to an injury seemingly to his calf.
Unfortunate for him, but a break for the Dodgers as it forced the D-backs pen into the game earlier than they wanted. Kevin Ginkel entered and immediately walked Chris Taylor, but a foul out and strike ’em out, throw ’em out ended the 7th.
On the other side was rookie Bobby Miller, who has been inconsistent at times, but has also managed to keep the Dodgers in the game during all his starts. High pitch counts have been his issue, but he seemed to make some progress in that arena today.
Like Kelly, he mostly cruised through three innings, surrendering just a walk and a single but having a five-pitch 3rd inning that left him at just 30 pitches. Again like Kelly, the 4th was messier as a lead-off walk and a one-out single put a runner in scoring position, but a strikeout and groundout helped him get out of it.
The 5th was pivotal for Miller, as he issued a lead-off walk again and then gave up a weakly-hit double on an 0-2 count following two failed bunt attempts to put a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out. With the top of the order up, he promptly struck out Corbin Carroll, got Ketel Marte to lineout, and then struck Lourdes Gurriel Jr. out.
Miller keeps the game scoreless with an escape act of his own, going strikeout, lineout, and this strikeout to end the threat. pic.twitter.com/6wWxMIJRgd— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 10, 2023
Miller then came back and got a nice and easy nine-pitch frame in the 6th. Surprisingly, he was allowed to come out for the 7th, but a lead-off single was followed by a walk to a batter who was trying to bunt, and that was the end of his night.
He’s not been perfect but he’s been what the Dodgers needed this year: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K, 91 Pitches.
That led to Caleb Ferguson entering, and he got two outs on one pitch after he made a diving catch on a bunt attempt and doubled the runner off second. A groundout followed and a job well done was finished.
Caleb throws one pitch, gets two outs on a diving play made on a bunt. pic.twitter.com/cXv8yaUrQL— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 10, 2023
That work paid off immediately.
Lovullo seemed to be going through it with his coaches in the aftermath. pic.twitter.com/zUDFKkBYgb— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 10, 2023
Well, Freddie promptly doubled into the gap, Smith was intentionally walked, and then Muncy walked to load the bases. Dave Roberts, managing genius, let Peralta face the lefty and he backed him up by ripping a single to right to plate the game’s first two runs and make it 2-0.
David Peralta singles with the bases loaded and does to his old team what he did to the Dodgers so many times. pic.twitter.com/ww1xkcl4Bz— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) August 10, 2023
No insurance came in the 9th, but the blow that mattered was delivered.
In the setup role, it was Joe Kelly, who started the 8th with a walk, but then notched emphatic back-to-back strikeouts and got a groundout to keep things moving along.
Joe Kelly is Durty! Since becoming a Dodger, again, he's yet to allow an earned run, has 7 Ks and lots of nasty! This Dodgers team has had an edge to it all year, and that fits him just perfect! It's amazing how the right "fit" affects players performance #dodgers pic.twitter.com/3sGcycTMAm— Dodgers Daily (@dodger_daily) August 10, 2023
After struggling last night, it was Evan Phillips right back in there tonight. He wasn’t at his best, requiring two great plays from Miguel Rojas for the first two outs, but a harmless fly out to end it and the Dodgers locked down the shutout win.
5 of 6 over Padres and D-Backs, 11th shutout, 6 game lead in Division and a statement made! Phillips recorded his 16th save, lowered his ERA to 2.70, WHIP down to 0.85. He's gone scoreless in 17 of 20. He's pretty good! #dodgers pic.twitter.com/c38EPaDIQZ— Dodgers Daily (@dodger_daily) August 10, 2023
|Giants||62-53 (6 GB)|
*Either still playing or will play later.
The Dodgers now return home for a four-game set against the Rockies starting at 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET. It’ll be Clayton Kershaw returning from the IL and hoping to stay healthy down the stretch against old nemesis Ty Blach.