James McDonald will have better nights than this.
Cruising along nicely by throwing only 20 pitches in the first 2 innings, McDonald was bombed and chased in the 3rd inning as the Diamondbacks tagged him for 5 runs. The Dodgers made a bit of a late push, but it wasn't enough as the DBacks took the first game between division rivals, 9-4.
This was not a very fun game to watch. The potential problems the Dodgers faced coming into this season all turned out to be true: back end of the rotation, lack of depth in bullpen, and people other than Manny Ramirez getting big hits. The critics looked good after last night.
McDonald finished with 2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. Now I know that if you didn't see the game and looked at that line, you probably wondered how the heck you can give up 5 runs on only 2 hits. That's because the 3 walks all came in the 3rd, and throw in a hit batter and an error by Casey Blake, and there you have it.
There's no doubting McDonald's stuff, as he showed really nice off-speed pitches and fastball when he was locating it. But wow, he was really lost in the 3rd to say the least. Not pretty. Give the DBacks credit - they came through with men on base, something the Dodgers haven't done yet.
About the only highlights to this one for the men in blue was Blake's 2-run shot in the 7th and Manny's RBI single in the 8th to cut it to 6-4. So all hope was not lost, but Guillermo Moto was awful in the bottom of the frame and Will Ohman wasn't much better, which showcased that lack of depth I talked about before.
I'm still waiting for the Dodgers to have that one inning where they just break out and score a bunch of runs. So before we all anoint the Dodgers as this great offensive team, the guys in the bottom part of the order have to do better than that. Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, and Russell Martin (who had last night off) need to be more consistent.
I know it's still early, but I think Joe Torre should move Matt Kemp up to the cleanup spot and move Ethier down a little. Both Kemp and Loney are hitting .368, and with Ethier at .250 and the team not scoring much, it would be worth a shot. Plus Ethier's only 1-10 with runners on, killing any chance of a big inning.
Today's matchup is interesting, not so much because of what it is, but because of what it would have been. Both Hiroki Kuroda and Brandon Webb are hurt, so it'll be the matchup of a lifetime - Eric Stults vs. Yusmeiro Petit. Yes!