LOS ANGELES — With the Dodgers needing a big win to even their series with the Diamondbacks, they turned to rookie Bobby Miller to deliver a clutch start. Things would start off very shaky for him, as he allowed Arizona to score 3 in the first inning and take the early lead for the second consecutive game. Miller’s start would end before he could see the third inning, and the Diamondbacks seemed to have total control.
The Dodgers finally got on the board in the fourth inning courtesy of a solo home run from J.D. Martinez, but the Diamondbacks would get the run back in the 6th as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a homer of his own. In the bottom half of the 6th, Kiké Hernández would make it 4-2 with an infield single before Los Angeles would fail to score again. The rest of the game would see the Dodgers fail to execute in some big situations as they fell 4-2. Facing elimination, the squad will now head to Arizona for the next 2 games needing to play perfectly to stay alive.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Miller’s start cut short after rough performance
After Clayton Kershaw’s disaster of a performance in game 1, Bobby Miller held a large amount of pressure on his shoulders to come out and set a much better tone for Los Angeles. Perhaps the pressure got to his head, as Miller allowed 3 straight hits to open the game and load the bases with nobody out. Christian Walker would then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Diamondbacks their 1st run of the game. The next 2 batters, Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., would ground out and single to plate one more run each and quickly make it 3-0. It was another big first inning for Arizona that allowed them to take the life out of Dodger Stadium and control the momentum from the jump. In the second inning, Miller would face just 2 more batters before Dave Roberts pulled the plug on his start and turned to the bullpen. In total, it was 1.2 IP for Miller as he allowed 3 ER and 2 walks. It was a less-than-ideal postseason debut for the 24-year-old, and it went a long way in setting the Dodgers back early. The team will now face a very tall task over the next few days, needing to walk into Chase Field and take 2 consecutive games to force a win-or-go-home situation back in Los Angeles.
Dodgers fail to execute in critical moments
In the Dodgers’ tough 4-2 loss, the team found themselves with a few solid chances to get back into the game and make a push for the lead. Unfortunately, their 1-6 performance with RISP tells the story regarding the lack of clutch hitting on display in game 2. The first big missed opportunity came in the bottom of the 5th inning with Los Angeles down 3-1 and Freddie Freeman at the plate. With runners on the corners, Freeman got frozen up by a Zac Gallen breaking ball to strike out and end the inning.
Just an inning later, the Dodgers found themselves with their second run of the game on a Kike Hernandez infield single that nearly escaped the dirt and trickled into the outfield. It was a 4-2 game and the bases were loaded with 1 out. It was a prime opportunity, but once again the team failed to capitalize as James Outman struck out and Kolten Wong grounded out to get the Diamondbacks out of the jam. In the 7th inning, Freddie Freeman would come up short once again, grounding into a killer double play to spoil the momentum. Chris Taylor would follow suit an inning later, grounding into a double play of his own. The lack of delivery in these big moments will certainly leave a sour taste in the mouth of the Dodger lineup, who will do their best to emphasize on the big moments in the next couple of games if they want to see their season continue.
Arizona pitching staff stumps the Dodgers again
For the second consecutive game to open up the series, the Diamondbacks allowed just 2 runs behind some solid pitching. After Merrill Kelly got the job done in the first game the Dodgers were left to try their luck against the biggest ace in the Arizona staff, Zac Gallen. Gallen finished the regular season with a 17-9 record and a 3.47 ERA and was a big reason for the Diamondbacks’ postseason appearance. Los Angeles was able to tally just 5 hits against him as he pitched through the first 5.1 innings and allowed just 2 runs. Gallen did a nice job extinguishing some potential Dodger rallies before he handed things off to the bullpen. In the regular season, Arizona’s bullpen unit was among the bottom 11 in baseball. However, they did a great job behind Gallen as they worked through 3.2 shutout innings and allowed just 1 hit. The Dodgers were able to make things somewhat interesting in the later innings thanks to a couple of walks, but could not make anything of them. After failing to take advantage of a unit that was seemingly a weak point for the Diamondbacks in the regular season, Los Angeles will have to regroup and ensure that they do a better job in the later innings throughout game 3. The ability to capitalize with runners in scoring position will be vital to their success and ultimately decide their fate in the series.
With their backs officially against the wall, the Dodgers will travel to Arizona for a must-win game 3 on Wednesday night.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. PT.