The Los Angeles Dodgers hope to avoid something they haven’t done all season — three straight losses — when they face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night in Phoenix.
The Dodgers remain comfortably in first place in the National League West with a 30-12 record, but their bullpen — a strength throughout the season — failed them in back-to-back losses. Blake Treinen and Caleb Ferguson, two top setup men, gave up go-ahead hits in late innings last Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday night, Ferguson served up a go-ahead two-run home run to former Dodger Matt Kemp in the eighth inning that ended up winning the game for the Colorado Rockies. Ferguson has allowed a home run in each of his last three appearances after surrendering only one in his previous 15.
“That one to Kemp, it was 0-1, it was down below the zone, and he did a great job of hitting a homer,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the Los Angeles Times. “So it’s just one of those things that I want to keep Fergie confident because we’re going to keep running him out there.”
The Dodgers look to Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.60 ERA) for the start on Tuesday in Phoenix. Buehler’s last start came Wednesday against Arizona at Dodger Stadium in his return from the injured list.
Buehler threw five scoreless innings, giving up only two hits with six strikeouts. He did not factor in the decision as the Dodgers won 3-2 in extra innings.
Buehler is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his career against the Diamondbacks, over seven starts. He recorded his win against Arizona at Chase Field on June 3, 2019, throwing eight innings of one-run ball and allowing two hits with 11 strikeouts.
The last-place Diamondbacks look to regroup after a seven-game road trip that saw them go 4 for 51 with runners in scoring position. Arizona (15-27) has lost 16 of its past 18 games and is 1-6 against Los Angeles this season.
It would appear the Diamondbacks are beginning to look to next season and the future, as younger players are starting to get more playing time. Josh Rojas was Monday’s leadoff hitter, Wyatt Mathisen made his major league debut at third base and got to hit in a key situation late in Monday’s game, and Daulton Varsho looks set for at least semi-regular action in the outfield for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got to get home, we’ve got to get the worm turned somehow and go out and do what we can in Game 1 of this homestand (Tuesday),” manager Torey Lovullo said following Monday’s loss.
Catcher Carson Kelly said the players are still enjoying coming to the ballpark each day despite the mounting losses.
“That’s the beauty of it. Every day’s a new day. I know everybody says that, but when you actually believe it and you say it over and over again, the more you believe it, it’s going to happen,” Kelly said. “So it’s a new day (Tuesday), we’ve got the Dodgers, reset. It sucks, this series and last series, but that’s in the past.”
Right-hander Luke Weaver (1-6, 7.44) gets Tuesday’s start for Arizona. He is 1-2 with a 7.85 ERA in five career games (three starts) against the Dodgers.
–Field Level Media