Sunday afternoon in Arizona was the ultimate "glass half full or half empty" kind of game. Why, you might ask? Here's why:
Glass Half Full:
* Two of the young studs of the future - Joc Pederson and Alex Guerrero - got starts in center and third, respectively. Both showed why they could be starters for years to come. Pederson had his best game as a pro, going 3-for-4 with a towering solo homer, two runs, and a walk. Guerrero was 3-for-5 with a run scoring single and double, and a two-run shot.
* Oh by the way, those homers were the first in their Big League careers.
* Zack Greinke was sensational, which was much-needed a day after Clayton Kershaw got hit all over the state of Arizona. Greinke tossed seven scoreless innings with five hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts. He was a step ahead all day. After two starts, he has a 0.69 ERA.
* Besides Pederson and Guerrero, four other Dodgers collected at least two hits: Jimmy Rollins, Adrian Gonzalez (big surprise there), Yasmani Grandal, and... Andre Ethier! Yes, really! Ethier started for Carl Crawford in left and swung the bat very well, including a triple. Maybe there is some life in those legs. Or maybe it was a mirage. Who knows.
* Yasiel Puig showed some signs of life, hitting a laser shot out to left. He's still only hitting .240, but he looked better today.
* Pedro Baez pitched a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts.
Glass Half Empty:
* UGH... that damn ninth inning. Paco Rodriguez, Chris Hatcher, and Joel Peralta were each handed a freakin' 7-0 lead, and the Diamondbacks actually managed to put the tying run on-deck in the mighty Paul Goldschmidt. Thankfully it didn't come to that, as after a long at-bat, Peralta got Ender Inciarte to fly out to center to end the game. Paco wasn't all that bad, but Hatcher was pathetic and could not make the big pitch when needed. Peralta was a bit wobbly, but at least held on.
* The closer situation is still a giant mess, as Hatcher went from terrific on Opening Day, to terrible in his two appearances since. Peralta needed 10 pitches to get some unknown out.
I guess I should mention that the Dodgers did beat the DBacks 7-4, so at least they didn't get swept against a pretty mediocre team.
The Dodgers will gladly focus on the positives of the game, which were quite a few as you could see. After all, they did lead 7-0 going in to the last inning, so there naturally had to be plenty of good. Don Mattingly has to be feeling really good about playing his young guys more. Pederson is already the starting center fielder, but Guerrero could find himself plenty of time at the hot corner if he can hit like that. That was pretty impressive, as was his glove today.
Obviously Donny and his staff will have to keep going to the drawing board as far as the ninth inning goes. I'm guessing Peralta will slide into the interim closer role, and hopefully Yimi Garcia gets a bigger role as well. Hatcher throws hard, but he's not fooling anybody right now. And uh... his ERA is 33.50. Yikes.
Next up is Interleague play against the Mariners at home on Monday. Thank God they miss Felix Hernandez by a day, as he pitched today against the A's and actually had to leave after five innings with a tight quad. Brandon McCarthy will go against James Paxton.