Dodgers Lineup:Gordon 2B Puig RF Hanley SS Gonzalez 1B Ethier CF Crawford LF Uribe 3B Butera C Haren P
The Dodgers have been trounced in two of their last three games. There was the disastrous 13-3 loss to the Marlins on Wednesday, and then the even more wild 18-7 loss to the D-backs on Saturday night. The Dodgers’ pitching staff is completely overworked and ineffective. Even Clayton Kershaw looked out of whack last night, and the battered ace only made it through 1 2/3 innings while allowing an uncharacteristic 7 runs on 6 hits. Even after the Dodgers staged a five-run rally in the fifth inning, the bullpen was once again terrible and allowed nine more runs to the D-backs.
Yasiel Puig continues to drive the Dodgers offense, and the spectacular hitter extended his streak to eight consecutive games with a extra-base hit after slugging a monster two-run homerun at Chase Field on Saturday. Puig has now hit safely in 16 games in a row, and his average has risen to a team-leading .329.
While Kershaw did have a really bad start, I’m not too worried about him if it was just that… one bad start. Kershaw just doesn’t pitch well at Chase Field for some reason, and with Saturday’s failure of a start, he has now lost five games in a row at Chase Field.
Kershaw will no doubt bounce back, but the relief staff is the real issue. Their ERA sits near the bottom in the league (4.44), they have allowed the most earned runs in the league (75), the most walks (83), and they are tied with the Cubs for most losses (11).
Dan Haren will go out to the mound on Sunday looking for a solid start in order to give the weary bullpen a rest and also to secure the Dodgers a series win. Last time out against Miami, Haren got the win after allowing 3 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings. Haren has also already beat the D-backs twice this season back in April, once in Arizona and once at Dodger Stadium. He is 4-1 against the D-backs over his long career with a 3.10 ERA in 5 games (4 starts). At Chase Field, Haren is 25-14 with a 3.34 ERA in 46 starts mostly from when he was with the D-backs back in 2008-2010. Aaron Hill has collected the most hits off Haren with 9 including 2 doubles, 2 triples and a homerun.
Josh Collmenter will be starting for the D-backs in the series finale. Collmenter pitched 5 innings last time out against the Nationals, but wasn’t
involved in the decision after allowing 4 runs on 4 hits including 2 homeruns. He’s faced the Dodgers twice this year, once out of the bullpen in Sydney and once at Dodger Stadium on April 20th when he lost. He is 3-6 against the Dodgers in his career with a 5.21 ERA in 13 games (5 starts). Andre Ethier, who had a clutch pinch-hit in Saturday’s game, has hit Collmenter well (.455 with 5 hits in 11 at-bats). A.J. Ellis has hit two homeruns off the righty, and the hot-hitting Puig has a homerun off him as well.
The Dodgers could use a series win on Sunday before heading out to the Big Apple to play the Mets and then on to Philly. A solid start from Haren is a must in order to rest the bullpen which has been utterly awful and unable to pitch scoreless frames. While Puig and Gordon have been the catalysts in the lineup, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez still need to step it up.
Prediction: Yasiel Puig homers again.
Enjoy the 1:10 p.m. PT game as the Boys in Blue try to redeem themselves in Arizona. Kershaw had a bad night, but the Dodgers have plenty to feel good about with their superstar Puig making history.