Dodgers have no answer for pitcher Patrick Corbin in 3-0 loss to the Diamondbacks
Enrique Hernandez spiked his helmet and flung his gear into the dirt. Yasiel Puig gazed at one of the umpires in disdain. Cody Bellinger held his bat by the barrel as he walked back to the dugout; it was the only contact his barrel made.
In a 3-0 Dodgers loss to Arizona, the gestures were as futile as the swings.
Swept by the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers (2-5) ended their first road series of the 2018 season with an offensive blackout. The lineup supplied one hit, spellbound by Arizona pitcher Patrick Corbin, who set a career high with 12 strikeouts as the Dodgers continued their opening snooze.
“You never want to get swept, regardless of whether you’re playing at home or on the road, playing the Diamondbacks or the Marlins,” Hernandez said. “Tough loss. We’re going to take the day off to regroup.”
The Dodgers have played seven games this season. They have scored one run or fewer in four.
The lineup longs for the return of All-Star third baseman Justin Turner as he recuperates from a fractured wrist. The malaise extends from Chris Taylor (.574 on-base plus slugging percentage) at the top of the lineup to Corey Seager (.414 OPS) and Puig (.476 OPS) in the middle to Logan Forsythe (.291 OPS) at the bottom.
After Kenley Jansen blew a save on Monday, the offense scored only one run during the final two games of this three-day pounding. On Wednesday, Alex Wood permitted one run in each of the first three innings. All three resulted from leadoff doubles. Wood, who held the Diamondbacks scoreless in his final three innings, struck out five as he took the loss.
“We’re not getting it done right now,” Hernandez said. “The pitchers are busting their [butts], and we’re not picking them up.”
The latest pitcher to silence the Dodgers was Corbin, a 28-year-old left-hander with a 4.11 career earned-run average. He joined a group that includes Ty Blach, Johnny Cueto and Zach Godley. All have rendered the Dodgers hapless.
Corbin nearly left them hitless. Corbin supplied two hits at the plate, doubling the output of the entire Dodgers roster.
Corbin capitalized on the Dodgers’ aggression. He spun sliders that disarmed the right-handed hitters, and “we just couldn’t figure him out,” manager Dave Roberts said.
The hitters have struggled adjusting to a steady diet of offspeed pitches.
“There has to be a sense of urgency,” Taylor said. “We understand, our offense the way it’s been, we’ve got to be better. We’ve got to find ways to get guys on base and have good at-bats.”
The Dodgers trotted out a new first baseman on Wednesday. Hernandez played there for only the fourth time in his career. The team identified Hernandez as a right-handed hitter capable of providing days off for All-Star starter Bellinger.
“He’s a guy who I just try to find ways to get him in the lineup,” Roberts said.
Hernandez did not have to wait long for action. The first Diamondback to bat was Jarrod Dyson, a 33-year-old outfielder with tremendous speed and even more impressive confidence in his wheels. He chopped an 89.6 mph fastball past Hernandez and jetted into second, beating Puig’s throw.
Dyson scored after a pair of groundouts.
Arizona devised a similar sequence in the second inning. Chris Owings roped a curveball into left field for another leadoff double. Owings stole third. A sacrifice fly from third baseman Devin Marrero doubled Arizona’s advantage.
Corbin victimized Wood to start the third. The Dodgers moved their outfield in, hoping to prevent flares from falling.
Instead, Corbin smacked a curveball over Matt Kemp’s head in left field. Two batters later, Ketel Marte delivered a run-scoring single.
Wood chastised himself for Corbin’s hit.
“That’s never an ideal situation, when you give up a double to a pitcher,” Wood said. “I just threw a really bad pitch. He got the barrel on it.”
The first 14 at-bats by the Dodgers ended with outs. Corbin struck out six in the first three innings. He pumped fastballs and sliders which the Dodgers could not touch.
Kemp stopped the bid for a perfect game with two outs in the fifth. He chased a 2-1 slider outside the strike zone, resulting in a flare that fell down the right-field line and gave Kemp a double. He advanced no further. Three pitches later, Forsythe grounded out.
The double was Kemp’s first extra-base hit of the season. Seager is still in search of his. Seager went 0 for four on Wednesday to drop his batting average to .192.
Roberts indicated Seager must adjust to pitchers refusing to feed him hittable fastballs. Seager has ranged outside of the strike zone thus far.
Seager saw little reason to fret. The season is seven games old.
“It’s April 4,” Wood offered as a reminder. Seager echoed that sentiment.
“I don’t think anybody’s really panicking yet,” Seager said. “It’s still early. Hopefully everybody comes around soon, though.”
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