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Monday 9 October 2017

NL Division Series : Dodgers put Diamondbacks on brink of elimination

NL Division Series : Dodgers put Diamondbacks on brink of elimination

LOS ANGELES – Breaking down Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers 8, Diamondbacks 5: The Dodgers lead the series 2-0.
The game: The Dodgers wore down former nemesis Robbie Ray, then pounced on his less-than-stellar relievers as Los Angeles enjoyed another big offensive night.
The bottom of the L.A. lineup did much of the damage, with Austin Barnes and Yasiel Puig combining for five hits and four RBI.
Paul Goldschmidt blasted his second home run of the playoffs, a no-doubter with a runner on base in the first inning to put the Diamondbacks ahead 2-0. Had Ray been up to his regular-season standard, that might have been enough for the Diamondbacks. The left-hander brought in a career 1.81 ERA at Dodger Stadium and went 3-0 against L.A. this season.
But starting three days after his 34-pitch relief stint in the wild card game, Ray wasn’t nearly that sharp. He lasted 4 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, four walks and four runs to take the loss.
The Dodgers tied the game 2-2 in the fourth on Ray’s third wild pitch and took the lead for good on Chris Taylor’s RBI single. A four-run fifth against Ray and relievers Jimmie Sherfy and Jorge De La Rosa broke the game open, with Barnes’ two-run double doing the most damage.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill actually lasted one fewer out than Ray, and some of his relievers had their own stumbles. After Tony Watson allowed back-to-back singles to open the seventh, pinch-hitter Brandon Drury greeted Brandon Morrow with a homer to left that narrowed the margin to 7-5. It was the first home run Morrow allowed all year.
State of the series: By taking a 2-0 series lead, the Dodgers are guaranteed no worse than a Game 5 at home, with staff ace Clayton Kershaw waiting to take the ball. For the Diamondbacks, avoiding a sweep now becomes the top priority.
The series shifts Monday to Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks posted the second-best home record in the majors at 52-29. Nobody enjoyed the comforts of home more than Game 3 starter Zack Greinke, who went 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA there during the season.
The Dodgers will counter with right-hander Yu Darvish, who beat the Diamondbacks in his one start against them, allowing two runs in five innings and striking out 10. Darvish had a shaky beginning to his L.A. tenure after coming over from the Texas Rangers in a deadline trade, but he allowed just one run over 19 1/3 innings in his last three starts.
Man of the moment: Barnes. The third-year catcher gets lost amid all the big names on this team, but he plays an important role. Barnes logged an impressive .895 OPS in 102 games as Yasmani Grandal’s backup, and he’s a good enough athlete to have played 21 games at second base.
Barnes went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI on Saturday, increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 6-2 with his big double in the fifth.
Manager’s special: The Dodgers’ Dave Roberts left himself open to charges of overmanaging by starting to play matchups as early as the fifth inning and then pulling Kenta Maeda in the sixth despite holding a five-run lead.
Maeda retired all three batters he faced, two via strikeout. As a starter during the season, the Japanese right-hander is used to pitching several innings. Yet Roberts lifted him in favor of the left-handed Watson. The move backfired when Watson yielded two hits in the seventh ahead of Drury’s pinch-homer off Morrow.
Needing a mulligan: Sherfy. He’s just a rookie who pitched a mere 10 2/3 innings this season, so he deserves a break. But Sherfy certainly wasn’t up to the task of holding down the fort as he came in to relieve Ray, giving up hits to all three batters he faced as the Dodgers padded their lead.
What you missed on TV: The obscene volume at which the Dodger Stadium PA system pipes out relentless noise in between innings, taking away from the game’s enjoyment at the venerable ballpark with a constant assault on the auditory sense. The repeated exhortations for fans to make noise – you’d think they would know when to react on their own – are just as aggravating.
source : gearsofbiz

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