The loss felt inconsequential, but it was not. The game itself felt like an afterthought, but it was not. The outcome felt familiar — and it was.
The Dodgers had been drifting toward mediocrity long before they lost Corey Seager to season-ending surgery on Monday afternoon. An 8-5 defeat to the Arizona Diamondbacks later that evening only furthered the team’s skid. In the aftermath, manager Dave Roberts lauded his players for their effort, while the players carped about the strike zone of umpire Jerry Layne. It was a dispiriting display.
The Dodgers (12-16) have lost six of their last seven. They lost a series to the Marlins last week and fell three times in four games at San Francisco this weekend.
Ross Stripling gave up four runs in four innings. Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock hit three homers. The Dodgers could not touch former teammate Zack Greinke until the sixth. Greinke struck out 10 and exploited Layne’s zone, picking up strikes beyond the outer edge of the zone against left-handed batters. Stripling lamented that he wished he had noticed the size of Layne’s zone.
“He knows he was brutal back there,” first baseman Cody Bellinger said of Layne.
The bullpen remained unreliable as Daniel Hudson and Tony Cingrani combined to give up two runs in the seventh. Those two extra runs proved pivotal as the Dodgers scored twice against Andrew Chafin in the eighth. The comeback attempt was futile and unsuccessful.
Stripling made his first start of the season. An emergency pried him from the bullpen. The Dodgers chose Stripling, who had thrown an inning in relief on Saturday, to replace Rich Hill as Hill dealt with an infection in his left middle finger. The Dodgers hoped Stripling could log three or four innings before turning the game over to the bullpen.
The Diamondbacks taxed Stripling in the second inning. He needed 27 pitches to finish the frame and permitted three runs in the process. The flurry started with a solo homer by Pollock. After Pollock pulled an 0-2 fastball just foul, Stripling threw another fastball in a similar location. Pollock kept this one fair.
“When you make mistakes out over the plate, at the belt, he’s going to do damage,” Roberts said.
Stripling gave up a double to the next batter, infielder Daniel Descalso. A one-out single by shortstop Nick Ahmed brought Descalso home. With two outs, Stripling faced Greinke. Stripling could not retire the opposing pitcher. Greinke slashed a 92.6-mph fastball through the left side of the infield for an RBI single.
The Dodgers have lost six of their seven games against Arizona.
“I think we’re just ready to play someone else,” Stripling said.