The Los Angeles Dodgers had a 5-0 record against the Arizona Diamondbacks before last night, outscoring their NL West competitors 32-17 over the five games. Going into Friday night’s meeting, many expected the Dodgers to dominate against an Arizona pitching staff that held the league’s highest ERA, already given up 117 runs over 17 games played.
To the surprise of many, Diamondbacks’ starter Wade Miley matched an impressive outing from Zack Greinke, and the game became a long and arduous one after a solo homer from Juan Uribe in the bottom of the ninth left the two teams to duel it out in 12 innings. Chris Perez took a bit of a beating in the top of the 12th, allowing the Diamondbacks to come out on top 4-2 in game one of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Although Diamondbacks pitchers were uncharacteristically seamless last night, the Dodgers may not be expecting the D-Backs to pull off another triumphant night with rookie Mike Bolsinger on the mound, who will be making his first major league start against veteran Dan Haren. Although Bolsinger made his major league debut out of the bullpen last Monday, he switches roles with Trevor Cahill, who is heavily responsible for the team’s inflated ERA.
The opportunity to crack the starting rotation is one that likely would have been given to the D-Backs’ former top prospect Tyler Skaggs, who was traded to the Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim in the deal that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona. In Bolsinger’s relief outing against the New York Mets, the 26-year-old right-hander pitched three innings, giving up six hits and two runs.
Haren will undoubtedly have experience on his side tonight as he delves into his 13th season as a major league starter. However, Haren’s last start against the D-Backs was no walk in the park as he pitched 5.2 long innings, giving up nine hits and three runs early on.
The Dodger bullpen brings about a reason for concern against the Diamondbacks as Los Angeles relievers seemed to struggle last night. Chris Withrow, who was presumably kept on the roster over Paco Rodriguez, threw a wild pitch while attempting to intentionally walk a batter, which allowed the D-Backs to take the lead in the top of the ninth. Perez also labored in the 11th and 12th innings, eventually allowing the Diamondbacks to take the lead. Brian Wilson has made only one relief appearance since returning to the team on Tuesday, which begs the question as to whether he still may not 100 percent or if Mattingly is opting ease him back in.
Dodger bats will look to improve on a two-run game last night and return to the offensive powerhouses they had been against Arizona pitching. Some left-handed hitters return to the lineup on Saturday, namely Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Dee Gordon. With Crawford and Ethier both starting, Yasiel Puig is out of the lineup.
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