Takeaways from D-backs' 1st series win at Dodger Stadium since April 2018

May 23rd, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- Following some early-season inconsistency, the D-backs have ground to make up if they have aspirations of repeating as National League champions. Winning a series in L.A. was a good start.

After dropping the first game, Arizona came back to win the next two, concluding with a 6-0 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday. It was the D-backs’ first series win at Dodger Stadium since April 13-15, 2018.

“We've been looking for something like this,” said manager Torey Lovullo, whose team is 24-26. “... We did a lot right. We executed. We were focused. And that’s why we won games. So we got to continue marching on. But yeah, I think it's a good push for us, for sure.”

Here are three takeaways from the series:

1. Marte keeps on hitting
It took virtually no time for to extend his MLB-best hitting streak to 21 games, as he lined a first-inning single off Tyler Glasnow. He is tied with Danny Bautista (2004) for the fourth-longest such streak in D-backs history, behind Tony Womack (24, 2000), Paul Goldschmidt (26, 2013-14) and Luis Gonzalez (30, 1999).

In those 21 games, Marte is batting .270 with four doubles, two triples and five homers -- including a leadoff blast in the top of the eighth on Wednesday.

“The fact that it has been one hit so many days, I don't even know how that's possible,” said Corbin Carroll, who hit a two-run triple in the fifth. “It seems like every ball he hits, it's just hit right on the nails. So I think that's maybe even a sign that there's more to come.”

Beyond his abilities as a ballplayer, the streak also revealed something about Marte’s character. He got his first day off of the season when he was at 14 games -- two short of his previous personal best. At one point, Lovullo considered pinch-hitting Marte, which could have put the streak in serious jeopardy.

“[Marte] said, ‘The hitting streak doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is this team and winning baseball games,’” said Lovullo. “... That described exactly what Ketel Marte is.”

2. Don’t overlook Newman’s contributions
When Geraldo Perdomo tore his meniscus a week into the season, the D-backs called upon , who’d joined the organization as a Spring Training non-roster invitee. Bringing up the back of the lineup, Newman has batted .276 with a .744 OPS to go with his impressive range in the field.

“It's just been a very dependable at-bat,” Lovullo said of Newman. “... In the absence of Gerry at shortstop, he's been a savior for us.”

Newman has really turned things on of late with hits in 11 of his last 15 starts, batting .385 (20-for-52) with six doubles, a triple, three RBIs and four walks in that span. He had a hit in every game in this series: On Monday, he went 3-for-4; on Tuesday, he collected a single and a key walk; and on Wednesday, he added another base hit.

“He's impressing me big time,” said Christian Walker, who homered for a second consecutive game. “He knows when to let it loose and try to lose one, and seems like he knows when to just shoot one the other way. But that kind of anchor in the lineup is big.”

3. Questions remain about the rotation
The D-backs hadn’t used an opener this season until Monday, but they relied on the strategy twice against the Dodgers. Southpaws Joe Mantiply and Brandon Hughes held up their end, limiting the damage against the left-handed hitters at the top of L.A.’s order, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman.

The other goal was to help put a couple of struggling young starters in the best position to succeed. It didn’t work with Slade Cecconi on Monday. But it worked nicely on Wednesday, with firing five scoreless innings.

“It’s a pretty minor adjustment of just when I would go out there and get loose,” said Nelson. “I pitched out of the ‘pen toward the back end of last year, too. … But mostly just the pitch mix, locations and everything, that was the big adjustment in the beginning of this one.”

Cecconi was optioned after Tuesday’s game, leaving the D-backs without a fifth starter and "TBA” slated for Sunday’s finale against the Marlins. Merrill Kelly (right shoulder strain) and Eduardo Rodriguez (left lat strain) won’t be back soon. Kelly is scheduled for imaging in the next few days and could resume throwing off a mound if that comes back clean. Rodriguez is still building up in his throwing progression, and he won’t throw off a mound for at least another week.

While scheduled off-days could allow the D-backs to temporarily deploy a four-man rotation, Lovullo indicated they wouldn’t do that, and that the top options for the open spot are Tommy Henry and No. 25 prospect Blake Walston.

“Given the state of our starting pitching and some of the things that they're battling through … we're gonna be cautious,” said Lovullo.