Donning the Dodgers uniform triggers lofty expectations, and Ricky Nolasco easily lived up to the lofty expectations and more. The Dodgers defeated the D-backs 6-1 Tuesday; and Nolasco earned the win in his team debut by tossing a solid seven innings of one run ball.
Nolasco continued the Dodgers trend of making good starts after being acquired mid-season. The sole D-backs run took place in the bottom of the seventh, with Martin Prado delivering a RBI single. Nolasco pitched efficiently and seemed to be in cruise control, doing the majority of his damage with off-speed pitches.
The boys in blue continued their hitting clinic, especially the pitchers, Nolasco's RBI single in the second inning put the Dodgers ahead 1-0. Nolasco ended up 2-for-2 at the dish, falling short of fellow staff member Zack Greinke's 3-for-3 last night. Prior to Nolasco's single, Don Mattingly's club almost failed to score in spite of back-to-back singles by A.J. Ellis and Skip Schumaker. Among the Dodgers impressive 27 hits on the series, 25 of them come via singles.
Schumaker switched back to number 55, and the jersey change made him seem like a new player. Over the past weeks, Schumaker's struggles were evident. Schumaker got back to playing a sturdy second base and went 2-for-4 with a RBI groundout.
Defensive mistakes by the D-backs didn't help Ian Kennedy's disappointing performance, accumulating two errors. Adam Eaton, who returned to Arizona's lineup Tuesday and hit leadoff, dropped a routine fly-ball on the warning track with the bases loaded. Therefore, the flood gates began to open, extending the Dodgers lead to 4-0. On the play, Yasiel Puig made a bonehead decision by attempting to score, he got thrown out despite an unsuccessful attempt to level catcher Miguel Montero.
Although, Puig did exemplify another new positive trait: plate discipline. Puig came into the contest with just five walks, and tallied on two more. ESPN wants to recognize Puig to sexy highlights, but adding plate discipline could take Puig's game to the next level. Puig almost made a web gem catch in the seventh frame, yet the ball squeaked out of the webbing of the glove upon impact.
Adrian Gonzalez dished out the final knockout punch with a two-RBI single in the sixth, making it 6-0. Carl Crawford broke out of an 0-for-16 slump since returning from the DL, at 1-for-4 while scoring two runs. The sole downside for the Dodgers was Hanley Ramirez, going 0-for-4 and ending his 19-game hit steak.
It's hard to believe -- but the Dodgers could move to 1.5 games behind the D-backs with a win Wednesday. Both teams turn to rookie pitchers, featuring Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tyler Skaggs. The Dodgers will attempt to complete the series sweep.
WP - Ricky Nolasco (6-8): 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 5 strikeouts
LP - Ian Kennedy (3-5): 5 2/3 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 strikeouts, 3 walks