Zach Lee's once-promising season has hit its first stretch of adversity. The Dodgers pitching prospect was roughed up for the third straight start Friday night as the Albuquerque Isotopes lost 15-4 to the visiting Fresno Grizzlies.
Lee (2-3) gave up six runs, four earned, on 10 hits and two walks in five innings Friday. Over his last three starts, he has now allowed 16 runs, 11 earned, on 27 hits and five walks over 14.2 innings.
"It wasn't that they hammered him around the ballpark," manager Damon Beryhill said. "They hit the ball just kind of where we weren't tonight. They hit a lot of groundballs through the hole. It's just kind of one of those games where you pitch better than the numbers show."
Berryhill said he expects Lee to work hard in between starts and bounce back by his next outing. Berryhill called Lee a competitor.
"He'll look at video, he'll work in the bullpen and next time out he'll get the ball and he'll go out and compete," Berryhill said. "I'm not really worried about that start tonight."
Fresno (13-16) snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning. Gary Brown singled and Joe Panik reached on a fielding error by second baseman Alex Guerrero, who bobbled a routine grounder that could have easily been turned for a 4-6-3 double play.
Former Isotope Tony Abreu followed with an RBI single to center. After Tyler Colvin singled to load the bases, Adam Duvall cleared them with a double into the left field corner.
A sacrifice fly by Guillermo Quiroz capped the scoring as Fresno suddenly had a 6-1 lead. Miguel Rojas then pinch hit for Lee in the bottom of the frame.
"It's hard to say he gets out of that inning clean, but we end up making that routine double play he's got two outs and nobody on," Berryhill said. "As far as pitching, he's been sharp at times. Tonight he just didn't have his good command. It wasn't a good breaking ball tonight."
The Isotopes (15-13) could never get anything going offensively. All four of their runs scored on force outs or groundouts, including on a double play in the seventh inning. They had loaded the bases on three singles to start the frame, only to see pinch hitter Walter Ibarra hit into a 6-4-3.
"It was one of those nights where defensively we didn't help (Lee) out," Berryhill said. "Offensively we didn't get anything going till later in the ballgame."
Albuquerque's bullpen did not fare much better than Lee. Daniel Moskos gave up four runs in 1.2 innings, while Sam Demel only recorded one out while giving up another four runs.
The Isotopes ultimately turned to backup catcher John Cannon to pitch in the eighth inning. He retired the first three batters he faced on a flyout to right field and grounders to third base and shortstop.
"He saved our bullpen really," Berryhill said. "If you look at a bright spot in that game it was him."
The Grizzlies did pick up a run off Cannon in the ninth. Panik drew a leadoff walk and Tyler Colvin later smoked an RBI triple to right-center. Cannon recorded two strikeouts and got Nick Noonan to ground out to first base to end the inning.
Albuquerque and Fresno will meet again Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The Isotopes will send Henry Sosa (1-0, 2.61 ERA) to the mound against the Grizzlies' Jason Berken (3-1, 2.48).
Around the Lab
Prior to the game the Dodgers recalled right-hander Jose Dominguez and utility player Chone Figgins. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, while left-hander Paco Rodriguez was optioned to Albuquerque. ... While the Isotopes wait for Rodriguez to arrive sometime in the next 72 hours, right-hander Red Patterson returned to the team. Patterson allowed one run in 4.2 innings in his Major League debut Thursday night against the Twins in Minnesota. ... Right-hander Nick Struck, a former Cubs farmhand, joined Albuquerque from extended spring training. He will pitch in relief, Berryhill said.