LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers, who came one win shy of winning a World Series in November, are in last place in mid-April, and nobody's happy about it, especially manager Dave Roberts."It is frustration. It's definitely not panic, but it's frustration," Roberts said after a 9-1 loss to the first-place
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers, who came one win shy of winning a World Series in November, are in last place in mid-April, and nobody's happy about it, especially manager Dave Roberts.
"It is frustration. It's definitely not panic, but it's frustration," Roberts said after a 9-1 loss to the first-place D-backs on Saturday night left the Dodgers 6 1/2 games back only 13 games into the season, compounded by a new shoulder injury to substitute third baseman John Forsythe. "The way to sum it up is, we've got to play better baseball. We've got to pitch better, we've got to hit better and the defense has been spotty at times. Results notwithstanding, that's what we need."
Arizona slugged four home runs, two by A.J. Pollock, and would have had a fifth if not for a baserunning blunder that turned a three-run shot by Deven Marrero into a two-run single. Even with that, and losing starting pitcher Taijuan Walker after two innings with right forearm stiffness, Arizona continued its best start in franchise history with an 11th consecutive regular-season win over the Dodgers.
"I know the Dodgers are an incredible franchise and they're on a great run," said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. "This is a powerful organization. The fact that we're doing that means we're doing something very special. I'm very proud of that."
Rich Hill allowed seven runs in five innings, the third consecutive Dodgers starter to allow at least five runs. Five of them scored with two outs, three after a two-out walk to David Peralta in the third inning.
"You can see things -- I don't like the terms that things are falling their way or the ball is bouncing in their direction -- but you can definitely relate the way they're playing right now to the way we were playing last year," Hill said. "It is disappointing to go out there and pitch the way I did today."
The Dodgers' only run came in the second inning, a Yasiel Puig double followed by a single from Joc Pederson, who started in left field.
"I've said a hundred times, swing at strikes and take balls, but right now we're not doing a great job of it, to be quite honest." Roberts said. "There are times when we have opportunity to take the walk, but we expand. And there are pitches we can handle and we're not doing that. Collectively, we're just not doing it."
"You don't want to say it's a focus thing. It's the same guys and these games are very important. But, winning the pitches I've seen us win that we're not winning, could be attributed to focus. Again, it's early, but you still want to play good baseball. It's a little bit of passing the baton. Let the next guys do it. When offenses typically struggle, it's when they're overly aggressive. It's not a lack of effort or ability."
Are the Dodgers so focused on October that they're not focused enough on April?
"That shouldn't be," Roberts said. "And it better not be. We've got a lot of work to get to that point where we were last year. Very important games to everybody. That shouldn't be the case."
Roberts said the effort is there. Cody Bellinger said there might even be more effort now than a year ago.
"From what I've seen last year to this year, everybody is prepping the same, if not a little more just to get out of it," he said. "We had a rough stretch in Arizona where a few balls didn't go our way. Now it's just going downhill a little bit. I think we're going to turn it around."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walks will do it: Goldschmidt delivered the big blow in a three-run third inning, a two-run homer, that followed Ketel Marte's RBI double. Marte drove in Peralta, whose four-pitch walk with two outs was a backbreaker for Hill, who had retired eight of the first nine batters he faced.
The 11 consecutive regular-season losses to Arizona are the most against a single opponent in Los Angeles Dodgers history and fourth longest in franchise history.
HE SAID IT
"It's April 14. We play until November or September or whatever it is. I don't think we're worried at all. We want to play better, but the record doesn't mean anything right now." -- Bellinger
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Marrero was credited with probably the most disappointing and embarrassing two-run single of his life in the fourth inning when his long fly carried over the fence in left-center. Alex Avila, running at first base, stopped to see if the ball would be caught, but Marrero kept running and veered alongside of Avila as the ball went out. First-base umpire Tripp Gibson III immediately ruled Marrero safe, but Roberts challenged the call and it was overturned on review. Marrero was called out and two runs scored on the single. More >>
One week after his last start, Clayton Kershaw gets the ball for Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT start against the D-backs on Jackie Robinson Day. This will be a rematch against Zack Godley, who beat Kershaw and the Dodgers 12 days ago in Phoenix. Austin Barnes will likely catch for the Dodgers, and Matt Kemp returns to left field.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.