The Diamondbacks teed off on Noah Syndergaard and kept on going against a shaky Dodgers bullpen for a 12-8 win on Saturday night at Chase Field, the first two-game losing streak for Los Angeles this season.
After a solid Dodgers debut, pitching into the seventh inning last Sunday at Dodger Stadium, Syndergaard said, “I’m a big believer in first impressions.” But his second impression was more like a Jackson Pollock painting, with the D-backs spraying the ball all over Chase Field on Saturday.
Staked to a 4-0 advantage before he threw a pitch, Syndergaard surrendered the lead by the second inning, when Arizona tagged him for a pair of two-run home runs. Syndergaard also surrendered two doubles and a triple among his eight hits. He also hit two batters.
D-backs batters were tattooing the ball off the right-hander, with 10 hard-hit balls in just four innings, nine of them with exit velocities of at least 98 mph. After 13 swinging strikes last Sunday against Arizona, Syndergaard induced just three swings and misses on Saturday.
That’s the recipe for six runs allowed, the most against a Dodgers pitcher this season.
Zach Davies wasn’t much better. The right-hander walked four, including three in a row in the fourth to force home a run. Davies’ night could have been much worse, had Freddie Freeman’s bases-loaded drive — measured 105 mph off the bat — not been hit right at centerfielder Alek Thomas.
But much like the proverbial hiker who asked his friend why he was stopping to put on running shoes when he couldn’t outrun the bear closing in on them, Davies didn’t have to outrun the bear, he just needed to be better than Syndergaard.
Davies allowed five and pitched into the fifth, though he left the game with a strained oblique, crouching in obvious pain after a curveball to Max Muncy.
Arizona tacked on a run in the fifth against Alex Vesia, who has yet to have a clean outing so far this season. Two more runs came in the seventh off Brusdar Graterol, who allowed a double and a triple in the frame. These are two of the Dodgers’ best relievers, and they’ve combined to allow seven runs in seven innings this season.
Andre Jackson was not spared from the D-backs wrath, allowing three two-out runs in the seventh as well.
James Outman continued his early season surge with a two-run home run in the first inning, his second straight game with a long ball and third of the season. Outman also walked, and has reached base in every game in which he’s batted.
Davies was the seventh right-handed starting pitcher the Dodgers have faced in nine games, providing plenty of opportunities for the trio of left-handed-hitting outfielders for Los Angeles.
Jason Heyward didn’t start any games against Arizona at Dodger Stadium, only filling in the final three innings of last Saturday’s blowout win. But he’s started each of the Dodgers’ last four games against right-handed pitching, and homered three times this week, including a towering drive off the right field foul pole in the eighth inning Saturday.
David Peralta started all three games against right-handers in the first Arizona series, but he’s started only two of the last four games against the opposite hand. He didn’t start on Saturday, but did ground out in the eighth. Peralta hasn’t gotten results just yet, with all three of his hits singles, none of them in his last 13 at-bats. But he’s hitting the ball hard, entering Saturday with a .358 expected batting average, thanks to nine of his now 15 batted balls having an exit velocity of at least 95 mph.
How the Dodgers divvy up playing time in the outfield was always going to be something to watch, especially now that Outman has seized a larger role, starting all but one game so far this season, including starting all seven games against right-handed pitching. Mookie Betts playing second base three times in the last week opened up some playing time in the outfield, but with Miguel Vargas now back in the lineup and, eventually once Miguel Rojas comes back at shortstop, there could be more of a logjam in the outfield.
- Freeman had four hits in the game, giving him seven hits in the first three games of the series. In addition to his 105-mph out, Freeman hit three more balls over 100 mph, including an RBI double in the sixth that slammed high off the center field wall 426 feet away, a ball that would have been a home run in 28 of 30 MLB parks, and another double in the ninth.
- J.D. Martinez also doubled twice on Saturday, giving him three in the series and five on the season, tied for the National League lead.
- Corbin Carroll stole two bases on Saturday for Arizona. The 22-year-old rookie has five steals in five attempts this season, all against the Dodgers. Three are against Syndergaard (two last Sunday, one Saturday), with the other swipes against Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia.
- D-backs centerfielder Alek Thomas entered Saturday 0-for-16 on the season, but had four hits, including a triple
- Dodgers pitchers allowed 15 runs in their first seven games this season, and allowed 18 runs in the last two games.
Home runs: James Outman (3), Jason Heyward (3); Gerarlo Perdomo (1), Ketel Marte (1)
WP — Kyle Nelson (1-0): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Noah Syndergaard (0-1): 4 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks play their final game against one another until August on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Michael Grove trying to salvage a series split with an Easter start against fellow rookie right-hander Ryne Nelson.