Dodgers running away from Diamondbacks

LOS ANGELES-Sometimes, even kryptonite can fall apart. The Arizona Diamondbacks found that out when their National League Division Series Game 2 starting pitcher Robbie Ray finally became normal after developing a reputation as being near untouchable for the Los Angeles Dodgers to hit against. All season, Ray had been the the Dodgers’ kryptonite.

The Dodgers may have posted the best record in baseball, but getting remotely close to producing a steady diet of hits against the ace has been like catching the morning mist: almost impossible.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill beats an Arizona Diamondbacks runner to first base in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

In four games against the Dodgers this season, Ray had become Clayton Kershaw, posting 10 strikeouts or more and recording a 3-0 mark. Ray has a career era mark of 1.81 against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. So coming into Game 2, the Dodgers knew they were going up against a very stiff challenge.

“His velo, he plays up,” said Corey Seager. “He throws really hard already, so you’re a touch quicker to try to catch up to the velocity and he has the slider that goes with it. It’s hard to pick up at times so it’s really good. It’s kind of in between whether getting it out there early to hit the fastball and still trying to back on the slider.”

You kind of have to pick and choose your battle against Ray, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda in NLDS Game 2 action. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“When he is a slider down, out of the zone or fastball above the zone, you want to be selective,” Roberts said. “But if he does make a mistake, you better jump on it. Because a guy like that doesn’t make too many.”

Ray made some mistakes in Game 2. The Dodgers took advantage of his miscues and turned it into a 8-5 win against the Diamondbacks to take full control of the NLDS. Ray was wild all night. In just four and one-third innings, Ray gave up four runs, was credited with four errors (wild pitches), and was just all over the place in the accuracy department.

The Roberts and the Dodgers  didn’t waste time making Ray and the Diamondbacks pay, running their way to four stolen bases, a tying a team postseason record. Roberts said before the game that his team would be looking for that edge at the plate against Ray. That translated into aggressiveness on the base path as well.

Arizona Diamondbacks slugger J.D. Martinez went hitless in four at-bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“I think there is a fine line being passive as opposed to being aggressive in their zone,” Roberts said before Game 2.

The Diamondbacks has hit six home runs in a span of two days in two National League Division Series games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. All they have to show for all those dingers are two straight defeats and being one game removed from the postseason altogether. Thanks for coming. Good night. Well, maybe not good night. But how about it’s nap time.

After rolling through the regular season against the Dodgers with 11 victories against the winningest team in baseball, the Diamondbacks have been stuck in neutral the past two games while the Dodgers keep their hitting machine going. It took awhile, but the Dodgers kicked in their offensive prowess with a two-run fourth inning to take a lead they would not give back.

Curtis Granderson lashes at a pitch in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The scene sort of flip-flopped from Game 1 when the Dodgers got out early and kept their lead. This time around, the Diamondbacks, thanks to a 430-foot blast by Paul Goldschmidt, a home run that went over the left-field wall and is still waiting to  come down, took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Dodgers got untracked offensively with a run in the second inning. The home team then opened up the flood gates with a four-run fifth inning to help themselves. That’s two in a row for Roberts’ squad against their National League West rivals. So much for the regular season and the Diamondbacks’ so-called lock on the Dodgers.

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