LOS ANGELES - It’s not how you start but how you finish.
That axiom has been floating around sports for decades and its definition was clearly on display Saturday night in Dodger Stadium.
Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson handled the ball to Mike Bolsinger and in hopes that the native of Chicago, Ill. could duplicate Wade Miley’s strong effort of Friday night.
Things started out fine for Bolsinger but the end was an avalanche of grievous proportion. Bolsinger could not hold an early 4-0 lead and the Dodgers came-from-behind to beat the Diamondbacks 8-6 before 48,541. This was the Dodgers’ first come-from-behind victory of the season, and the D-backs dropped their seventh game in their last eight starts.
From the start, Bolsinger was sharp. In the first inning alone, he managed only five pitches to retire the side in order and tossed only 21 pitches through the first two innings.
Bolsinger retired the first eight hitters and then walked opposing pitcher Dan Haren. Dee Gordon followed with a single to left but caught Carl Crawford looking at a third strike.
If Bolsinger escaped with a strikeout to end the third, his location was suspect in the next inning. Lack of location in the fourth led to his demise in the fifth.
A hanging breaking pitch inside to Matt Kemp in the fourth was laced to center to create a first-and-second situation with one out. Then, Bolsinger grooved an 0-1 fast ball over the plate and former Arizona State star Andre Ethier deposited “the grapefruit” into the right field bleachers for a three-run bomb. That pulled L. A. to within one at 4-3 and the start of a disastrous period.
From that point, the avalanche gained frightening momentum.
A bases-loaded single by Gonzalez and a two-run double from Kemp in the fifth broke open the affair.
Bolsinger’s ruin started when Haren singled opened to frame and singles from Gordon and Crawford loaded the bases. Martin Prado could not handle Hanley Ramirez grounder for an error and Gonzalez and Kemp followed with their lethal shots.
“I just let it get away,” was Bolsinger’s explanation. “Every time I go out I learn. There are some things now to take to my next bullpen session and my next start.”
Earlier, a four spot in the third staked the Diamondbacks to an early 4-0 lead. The frame was highlighted by a two-run single from Paul Goldschmidt and RBI single by Aaron Hill.
A two-run double from Martin Prado cut the Dodgers’ lead to the final margin of two but Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jensen closed the door in the ninth and recorded his sixth save of the season.
While the topic of conversation remains the Diamondbacks’ losing ways, the players have no option but to lace up their spikes for the next encounter.
“We battle back, and no one gives up,” assured Prado, who finished with a 2-for4 night and two RBIs. “It doesn’t always go your way and tomorrow is another day.”
The weekend series concludes Sunday when Josh Collmenter (0-1, 3.75 ERA) takes on Josh Beckett (0-1, 4.00 ERA).
Thee D-backs are then off to Chicago for four with the Cubs before returning to Chase Field and a six game home stand. This features three with the Phillies and three with the Rockies.
BACK TO THE GRIND
Just before the current weekend series with the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks activated outfielder Cody Ross.
To make room for the veteran outfielder, the D-backs optioned lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith.
Out since last Aug. 11 with a fracture and dislocation of his right hip, Ross’ recovery was slow and, at times, agonizing. Here at the advent of the season, he appears to have made a full recovering and ready to assist the D-backs in the quest to exorcise their current demons.
“If it was too big a risk, I wouldn’t be here,” he said Saturday afternoon in the D-backs clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. "I feel fine, no issues so far.”
Ross’ addition now makes five outfielders on the Arizona roster and possibly a sixth if Martin Prado is called up to play left field.
Last season, Ross was essentially platooned because of the amount of left-handed hitters. If he chose, manager Kirk Gibson could sit Adam Eaton, Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra and insert Ross. Now, only Parra survives but Ross says he’s confident playing time can be spread among Mark Trumbo, A. J. Pollock and himself, the current right-handed hitting outfielders on the D-backs roster.
“We’ll rotate with the players we have,” said Gibson before Saturday’s game. “This is a team where everyone pulls for one another and it will stay that way. (Ross) played 12 inning (Friday night) and he’ll be back in there (Saturday). Again, we’ll rotate.”
TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN
Accolades continue to place Dodgers’ right-fielder Yasiel Puig among the elite talents in Major League baseball.
His myriad of superb talents includes a powerful throwing arm. The strength and power of Puig's throws are already known to teammates and opponents but the accuracy can be another issue.
The energy and force of his throws do not always reach the intended target. More than one occasion, Puig’s throws wind up along the third base line or beyond the prescribed point.
“He’s much more accurate than he was last year,” said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. “He may not be as strong going from side-to-side but you ask for it when you run the kid. He’ll get better.”
Gibson’s perception of Puig and his potential lethal arm is echoed in the clubhouse.
“It really depends on the position of the ball,” said second baseman Aaron Hill. “Like most outfielders, he may not be as strong going from side-to-side. It really depends on the situation. But, you have really be careful. It’s scary how good this guy can get.”