D-backs' bullpen lets lead slip away in LA

Mistakes contribute to frustrating opening-series loss

April 1st, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Sunday afternoon’s 8-7 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium was the third time the D-backs had fallen to their rival in the season-opening four-game series, but to them it was more painful than the others.

Sure, the D-backs gave up eight Dodgers homers on Opening Day and had to use a catcher to finish out Saturday’s loss, but they were out of those games early.

Sunday, behind a seven-run fourth inning that included a two-run homer by starting pitcher , they carried a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth with setup man on the mound.

This one they thought they had -- right up until the moment 's emergency-swing grounder rolled fair just inside the first-base bag to score one run. Then right fielder had trouble picking the ball up off the ground, allowing a second run scored on the play to tie the game.

“Today was one that hurts and one you want to have back,” shortstop said. “Especially the way we came back and had the lead there and didn’t get it done. But I liked the way we fought, battled back. We were down every night and came back and fought hard, so it’s going to bode well for us all year.”

Too many mistakes

The D-backs committed three errors on the day, all of which led to runs.

dropped a line drive off the bat of Cody Bellinger with two outs in the fourth and Martin scored.

Then Ahmed, who won a Gold Glove last year, made an error trying to backhand Justin Turner’s grounder to lead off the decisive eighth.

“It’s a play that I expect myself to make and I didn’t make it,” Ahmed said. “So I’d like to have that one back but I can’t. I’ll make it next time.”

Finally, Jones was unable to pick Pollock’s ball up cleanly with his bare hand in the eighth, which not only allowed an extra run to score, but let Pollock advance to third, which allowed him to score the game-winning run on Max Muncy’s sacrifice fly.

“Just have to use my glove,” he said. “Ball moving, the rule of thumb is use your glove. If the ball is not moving, grab it with your bare hand. That’s a mistake that I don’t make too often and I’m probably not going to make that mistake again. A team like that is always going to capitalize on your mistakes. You have to play 27 outs, and today we gave them three extra outs. And a team like that will make you pay.”

Starting pitching

The rotation was a strong suit for the D-backs last season and is expected to be so again this year, but the starters struggled in the opening series with the Dodgers.

, , and Weaver combined to pitch 18 1/3 innings and allow 21 earned runs (10.31 ERA) in the four games, and only Godley pitched into the sixth inning.

“I think I have greater expectations for our starters, absolutely,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “You don’t plan for them to go four or five or [only] pitch into the sixth. I know it wasn’t typical of what they’ve done for us here. It’s their first start. It’s only four games. I know they’re going to be fine. I want to see them get after it a little bit and I know that will be the challenge to them.”


“No,” Ahmed said when asked if this series would be hard to get past. “We’re four games in. We haven’t even had a whole week of games yet. We’re going to be fine. We’re going to keep fighting, pushing. And like I said, our starting pitching is going to be a lot better it’s going to help us a lot.”