LOS ANGELES -- Aside from the obvious loss, Rich Hill's three-inning start on Sunday is also causing the Dodgers a domino effect of bullpen grief.The Dodgers dropped Monday night's game to the D-backs, 4-2, a loss hung on an already short-handed bullpen that had just picked up six innings on Sunday
LOS ANGELES -- Aside from the obvious loss, Rich Hill's three-inning start on Sunday is also causing the Dodgers a domino effect of bullpen grief.
The Dodgers dropped Monday night's game to the D-backs, 4-2, a loss hung on an already short-handed bullpen that had just picked up six innings on Sunday after throwing five innings in Kenta Maeda's four-inning start on Saturday.
Brandon McCarthy started Monday night and struck out eight, but with his pitch count at 86, he was lifted after five innings even though the Dodgers did not have available relievers Thomas Stripling, Alex Wood and Pedro Baez, and had Sergio Romo and Luis Avilan for only partial innings.
That handcuffing of manager Dave Roberts wasn't helped earlier in the day when the club replaced Hill -- who returned to the disabled list with a blister -- on the roster with infielder Rob Segedin instead of, say, reliever Josh Fields, who was sent to the Minor Leagues last week with a 0.00 ERA when the Dodgers thought they had too many pitchers.
So, after Grant Dayton pitched a scoreless sixth, Roberts asked for three innings from Chris Hatcher, who delivered a generally solid 2 2/3, but the line score will also show he served up the tie-breaking homer to Jake Lamb on the first pitch of the eighth inning. A second run scored on a David Peralta triple off Avilan.
"I thought it was a decent pitch, but it just ran back over the plate," Hatcher said of the homer. "I didn't think he hit it that good and judging from his reaction, he didn't either. But it is what it is and the ball went out of the yard."
Roberts explained that he removed McCarthy after five innings instead of trying to get to McCarthy's batting spot for a pinch-hitter, which might not have come up until the seventh. Roberts said he would not push McCarthy for seven innings, so he chose to cut him off at five instead of six, even with a short bullpen.
<p. 11="" and="" bullpen="" by="" clayton="" division="" dodgers="" five="" games="" has="" hauntingly="" in="" innings="" kershaw="" last="" like="" looks="" more="" nine="" not="" of="" p="" pitched="" repeatedly="" responding.="" s="" started="" starter="" stretched="" than="" the="" them.="" this="" way="" what="" with="" won=""> "It's kind of the challenge you face every single night," said Roberts. "You weigh winning the game, you weigh the pitcher's health. The number one thing is take the pitchers health as the number one priority and try to navigate accordingly. </p.>
"It's been 14 games and for us it's a small sample. Tonight I could have pushed Mac a little to get past five innings. It's not like he was getting banged around. Going forward, I see our starters going deeper."
Roberts only hinted at the fact that the last thing he needed now was to push McCarthy another inning and risk having him join Hill, Brock Stewart and Scott Kazmir on the sidelines again.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.