LOS ANGELES -- The good news is that the Dodgers have led in the sixth inning or later in all eight of their games this season. The bad news is that the team has lost four of those games, with the four losses coming in the last five games. The latest defeat was a 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks in Tuesday's home opener at Dodger Stadium that saw the bullpen give up all four runs.
Dodgers starting pitchers have a 2.55 ERA in the early going while averaging 6.17 innings per start. But the bullpen has a 6.65 ERA that is just one tick away from the mark of the beast yet still bad enough to bedevil fans.
But not yet manager Dave Roberts, who admits things aren't going so well in the bullpen, but also noted that it was too early to make any rash changes.
"I definitely am seeing things," Roberts said. "I don't want to be reactionary."
Arizona hit two home runs off Dodgers relievers that got two different reactions postgame. The first one was from Nick Ahmed in the seventh inning, on a 1-2 pitch with two outs.
"The pitch that Petey threw to Ahmed, that was a 1-2 change that was down," Roberts said. "It almost seemed like A.J. [Ellis] was ready to block the ball."
Ahmed hit it out to tie the score at 1-1.
"It was exactly where I wanted it," Ellis said. "I give Nick Ahmed a lot of credit, he took a ball that was borderline going to bounce."
The go-ahead shot came from Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth inning, continuing his ownership of the Dodgers. It was a 3-0 fastball down the middle from Chris Hatcher.
"That's a pitch you'd definitely have to take back," Roberts said.
In his career Goldschmidt is hitting .338/.400/.625 against the Dodgers, with 22 home runs and 65 RBI in 77 games. Hatcher said he didn't want to throw that pitch where it ended up.
"I'm not trying to challenge him," Hatcher said. "I just missed. Belt high.
"Things happen. You learn from them, but you have to minimize it. You just have to make better pitches, and right now I'm not making very good pitches. The ball isn't going where I want it, and I'm trying to figure out why."
The Dodgers in games they led at the beginning of the sixth inning last year were 65-10 (.867), ahead of the league-wide winning percentage of .830 in those games.
This year, they are 3-3.
But for now, it appears there will be no shake up in the bullpen, at least for now.
"I just want to continue to give these guys confidence, and continue to give them opportunities. We expect to be ahead in a lot of games late, and we're going to need them," Roberts said. "It's way too early to think about changing roles."
Howie Kendrick played left field in the ninth inning, his first game at the position since June 4, 2013 with the Angels. It was his 27th career game at the position. Roberts before the game said, "We talked when Howie re-signed with us, he was open to play outfield. I think we might dip into that well."
Corey Seager doubled in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, which dates back to 2015. Seager was 1-for-3 with a walk and during the streak is hitting .372/.417/.535.
Kiké Hernandez was 2-for-5 on the day from the leadoff position, including 2-for-3 against Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Hernandez is 4-for-6 with a double so far against left-handed pitching this season.
Hatcher said he didn't hear the boos as he walked off the field in the eighth inning after giving up the go-ahead home run then loading the bases, but added, "I deserved it.".
Alex Wood starts for the Dodgers on Wednesday night, a 7:10 p.m. PT start in the middle game of the series. Rubby De La Rosa starts for the Diamondbacks.