LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers saw a whopping 181 pitches in eight innings in their win in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday, and would do well to try that same approach against nemesis Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks in Game 2 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
But that’s easier said than done.
Ray struck out 53 batters and posted a 2.27 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers in 2017. The one time they got to him was on Apr. 22 in Arizona, scoring five runs on nine hits against the left-hander. That was the one start against LA this year that Ray didn’t strike out at least 10 batters.
That night, the Dodgers were able to get Ray out of the game after 5⅓ innings, having thrown 102 pitches.
Ray threw 34 pitches in a 2⅓-inning relief outing in the wild card game on Wednesday on his throw day in between starts, his first relief outing since 2014.
“My arm feels great and ready to go,” Ray said Thursday. “I wouldn’t lie to [Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo]. I wouldn’t give this team anything other than 100% of myself. I feel like that would be cheating me and cheating the team.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this week that the Dodgers have yet to “crack the code” against Ray.
“He’s got a plus fastball, pounds righties in, and works both sides of the plate,” Roberts said. “If he makes a mistake, we’ve got to be able to capitalize.”
The Dodgers capitalized on Friday night right from the jump, scoring four runs off Taijuan Walker, whose night was finished after just three outs and 48 pitches.
“We did a good job staying with him in the strike zone and trying to get him over the plate,” Roberts said. “In the postseason I think the at-bat quality continues to get better. The focus is a little bit more. You spoil pitches and we put him on the ropes early.
“Team offense right there at its best.”
The 181 total pitches seen by the Dodgers were tied for the ninth-most by the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers were second in the National League, averaging 3.95 pitches per plate appearance in 2017.
Justin Turner saw 22 of those pitches on Friday in his five plate appearances, which produced a three-run home run, a walk, and two RBI singles, tying a Dodgers postseason record with five RBI.
“He’s never off balance, rarely fooled,” Lovullo said. “There is no hustle in his swing, and I think every good hitter has that same approach and has it translate the way he does.”
Turner in 19 postseason games with the Dodgers is hitting .383/.493/.667 with three home runs, six doubles, a triple, nine walks and 17 RBI.
After Thursday’s workout at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers met on the mound, with Roberts and a few players addressing the team. Turner was one who spoke.
“I basically just said this is what we’ve been waiting for all year. In the playoffs your numbers, our numbers individually don’t matter,” Turner said. “It’s about doing whatever it takes to win a ballgame.
“It’s about finding a way to pick up the next guy, and the next guy finding a way to get it done. Also, just to embrace the moment and enjoy it.”
Game 2 info
Time: 6:08 p.m. PT
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Simpson, Lauren Shehadi
Online: Watch TBS
Local radio: AM 570 (Charley Steiner, Rick Monday)
National radio: ESPN Radio (Dan Shulman, Aaron Boone)