Zack Greinke turned in a dominant start Sunday and the Los Angeles Dodgers held a comfortable 7-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. However, they then needed three relievers to close out the final frame and come away with a 7-4 win.
Paco Rodriguez struck out the first batter he faced and was lifted after allowing an infield single, which only took place because of Scott Van Slyke slipping at first base. In entered Chris Hatcher and the wheels began to fall off.
Chris Ownings promptly doubled and Hatcher walked Cliff Pennington to load the bases. After striking out Nick Ahmed, Hatcher allowed an RBI single followed by a bases-clearing double. Dodgers manager then turned to Joel Peralta, who retired Ender Inciarte to end the game with Paul Goldschmidt representing the tying run in the on-deck circle.
Despite some of the shaky performances out of the bullpen over the weekend, Mattingly again expressed confidence in the group, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Not when I see through this series the way Yimi (Garcia) threw the ball. Pedro (Baez) today was lights out,” he said. “So it gives you a number of guys you’re getting more and more comfortable with. And we have a ton of confidence in Chris even though it didn’t go very well today. We’ve got a lot of confidence in his stuff and that this is going to work out.”
Mattingly further elaborated on his comments and said his confidence is tied to some relievers having pitched better than anticipated:
So, in general, we’re probably gaining confidence as we go just because of the guys on the periphery that nobody really counted on are really throwing the ball well for us.”
Likely included in that group are young arms Pedro Baez and Yimi Garica, who have combined for 11 strikeouts and two runs (one earned) in 7.1 innings. To this point, Hatcher has been the largest disappoint after earning a save on Opening Day.
The 30-year-old right-hander has allowed a combined seven runs (five earned) in 0.1 inning over his last two outings. While Hatcher may have been viewed as the ideal candidate to close games until Kenley Jansen returns, Baez’s and Peralta’s success thus far figures to change that.
Yasmani Grandal Defends Dodgers Bullpen