Kendrick, Puig Push Dodgers Past Diamondbacks


The Arizona Diamondbacks traveled to Los Angeles and took it on the chin, losing three straight to the division-leading Dodgers. Chip Hale and company watched a 4.5 game deficit turn into a 7.5 game one and now find themselves in last place in the National League West. The Diamondbacks have lost seven straight to the Dodgers and have been swept in consecutive series at Dodger Stadium.

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Howie Kendrick and Yasiel Puig proved to be the driving forces behind the Los Angeles offense. Kendrick went 6-13 in the series, driving in all three runs in game two and the walk-off winner in game three. Puig sat the first game but returned Tuesday and Wednesday, going 6-8 in the series and crossing the plate as the winning run in the series finale.

So where did things go wrong for the Diamondbacks? Let’s look at it game by game.

Monday: Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3

There was a common theme in this series, so I’ll just put it out there now: the inability of the Diamondbacks to prevent the home run.

There was a common theme in this series, so I’ll just put it out there now: the inability of the Diamondbacks to prevent the home run.

Heading into the series, the Dodgers had garnered some national attention regarding a peculiar statistic: they had scored nearly half of their runs on the long ball. That stat held true as the Dodgers drove in 11 of their 19 runs in the series on home runs. The first game featured three run homers from Jimmy Rollins and a resurgent Andre Ethier.

Game one also featured an interesting storyline on the mound: two young starting pitchers competing against their former clubs in the forms of Rubby De La Rosa and Mike Bolsinger.

Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, Bolsinger has figured something out in Los Angeles that he simply didn’t have during his short stay in Phoenix. He’s been essentially untouchable when pitching at Dodger Stadium (and is having an absolutely unprecedented season so far), and he continued that trend as he allowed two runs over seven innings while striking out eight.

De La Rosa was roughed up for nine runs over five innings. His ERA now sits at 5.84, and he’s now a serious question mark (if he wasn’t already).

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Tuesday: Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1

Game two was the Howie Kendrick Show, as the veteran second baseman drove in all three Dodger runs (one on a home run). Robbie Ray was the tough-luck loser in this one, taking the loss after allowing only two runs on four hits in just over six innings of work. Ray struck out four and continues to impress in the absence of Archie Bradley.

The main problem was the Diamondbacks’ inability to jump on Carlos Frias, who allowed only one run on eight hits in just over six innings. Frias allowed five hits during the first two innings, but Ender Inciarte and David Peralta were both caught stealing (even more agonizing was the fact that they next hitter got a hit in each situation). These missed opportunities would cost the Diamondbacks down the stretch.

The bright spot here was Ray. If he keeps pitching like this, it’ll be hard to send him down when Bradley comes back (looking at you, De La Rosa).

Wednesday: Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 6

So close.

Paul Goldschmidt continued his Dodger-slaying ways and went 4-5 with a homer, A.J. Pollock did his best Goldschmidt impersonation and hit a game-tying bomb in the ninth, but the Diamondbacks fell on a Kendrick walk-off single that drove in Puig.

Jeremy Hellickson struggled (again), allowing five earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched. He allowed four runs to cross via the long ball and another on a sacrifice bunt by Brett Anderson, scoring certified ninja Andre Ethier. His ERA now stands at 5.29, which is also not great.

Allowing five runs is bad, but going only 3.2 innings is worse. It taxes the bullpen, which has implications for both the current game and the next one.

Speaking of the next one, the Diamondbacks will travel to San Francisco for a three game set with the Giants, then head down for two games in Anaheim against the Angels. So far, the California road trip hasn’t gone as planned.