DLD Rewind: Dodgers Snag Their First April Series Win Against Giants in Six Years

Baseball’s greatest rivalry west of New York and Boston had its first bout of the 2019 season this week, with the Dodgers taking two of three from the hands of the Giants . This series continued some trends for the Dodgers, good and bad, and helped continue to position LA on top of the standings in the NL West.

Game One

The Dodgers drop a winnable game in a come-from-behind win for the Giants. The Dodgers’ home run mirage continued into the team’s fifth game of the season, but was silenced by another continued trend from the team’s first series: the lack of a shut-down bullpen.

Offense

Neither squad notched a run in the scoring column until the fifth inning, thanks to some great starting pitching from both teams. The offensive game for the Dodgers was a bit of a change from their first series.

The Dodgers got the scoring going with a solo shot via Chris Taylor to lead off the fifth. Taylor finished the game with a team-leading two hits, going 2 for 4 on the night.

Co-leading the team in hits alongside Taylor was Kiké Hernandez. He also went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles. Hernandez did not collect any RBIs or runs scored however.

Alex Verdugo hit an important home run only one AB removed from Chris Taylor’s solo shot in the fifth inning. The home run Verdugo hit gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead at that point in the game, and was only the third home run of his career. Verdugo hit this home run in a pinch-hit situation, following the exit of starting pitcher, Julio Urias.

The team just simply couldn’t get anything going on offense that didn’t go over the outfield wall, only getting one at-bat with runners in scoring position, going 0 for 1 in that spot. Combining hits and walks, the team only had 9 base runners. It’s difficult to stampede over a team with the offensive firepower that the Dodgers have if the offensive simply doesn’t get opportunities.

Pitching

Julio Urias took the mound for the Dodgers on Monday night and pitched very well and very efficiently. With this being only his first start of the season since missing over a year with an arm injury, the Dodgers opted to play it safe and pull Urias after 77 pitches. Here’s how his night finished on the stat sheet:

Urias: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

This was Urias’ first start of the 2019 campaign, and he worked through it at a very good pace. He never seemed to be on the ropes with Giants hitters, and looked on balance all night. A very nice showing for Urias on Monday.

The Dodgers’ bullpen woes continued on Monday after the team jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Joe Kelly again imploded on the mound. Following Kelly, the rest of the relievers pitched well. Here’s how the stats finished out for the ‘pen on Monday:

  • Kelly: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR (Loss, 0-1) (Blown Save, 2)
  • Alexander: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
  • Floro: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
  • Baez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 H

Pedro Baez recorded the final six outs of the game and did so effectively. Baez has a good night on the mound, but unfortunately was overshadowed by another poor performance from Joe Kelly.

The Giants (2-3) defeat the Dodgers (3-2), 4-2.

Player of the Game: Julio Urias (5.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K)

Game Two

After suffering a tough loss to a bitter rival, the Dodgers bounced back and evened the series in game two with a great offensive performance, going toe-to-toe with San Francisco’s veteran ace, Madison Bumgarner.

Offense

It took until the third inning, but the Dodgers offense was capable of grabbing hold of this game and making sure it never got away with a huge five-run inning to open the scoring. The aforementioned continuation of streaks in this series had a new subject in this game.

Cody Bellinger, baseball’s hottest hitter to this point in the season, continued his flaming hot start, supplying the biggest blow of the game in the third inning. Bellinger squared up a cutter from the left-handed Madison Bumgarner, unloaded the bases, and brought Dodger Stadium to their feet with a towering grand slam to dead-center field. The deep ball gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.

Kiké Hernandez collected a pair of hits and an RBI from the lead-off spot against Bumgarner, a pitcher he notably owns in their matchups. The 2 for 4 performance from Hernandez gives him eight hits in twenty at-bats.

No RBI, unlike Hernandez, but A.J. Pollock finished the night with a 2 for 4 line at the plate, and crossed the plate once in the game. Another nice night for the Dodgers’ biggest offseason acquisition.

While he did not collect a hit, Justin Turner did push across a sacrifice-fly RBI that ultimately would be the deciding factor in the game. Turner struck out once in his three at-bats on Tuesday.

Pitching

Hyun-Jin Ryu had yet another strong game on the mound for the Dodgers, and quite frankly doesn’t look too out-of-place being tagged as the team’s ace for now. Here’s how Ryu checked in on the stat sheet Tuesday night:

Ryu: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

The Dodgers bullpen yet again put people around the organization in an uncomfortable position late in the game, nearly blowing what was once a 5-0 lead. Here’s the final stats from the relief crew:

  • Ferguson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
  • Garcia: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
  • Jansen: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR (Save, 2)

Yimi Garcia has a rough go of things on Tuesday, giving up two runs without recording an out against the Giants in the ninth. Dave Roberts and the Dodgers called on Kenley Jansen to come in and carry the load the rest of the way, and he did just that. Jansen’s door-slamming in the ninth earned him his second save of 2019 and closed out the Dodgers fourth win on the year.

The Dodgers (4-2) defeat the Giants (2-4), 6-5.

Player of the Game: Cody Bellinger (1 for 4, 1 GS, 1 R, 4 RBI)

Game Three

In the rubber match of this three-game set, the Dodgers got out to an early lead, lost it, then clawed their way back into it to secure the series win against the Giants.

Offense

The previously mentioned “early lead” couldn’t have happened any earlier for the Dodgers, with Kiké Hernandez striking a pitch over the left field wall in the lead-off spot. Hernandez went 2 for 3 with a walk in the game, reaching double-digits in hits on the year in a matter of seven games. Hernandez’ home run would be the team’s eighteenth of the year and would lengthen their ‘game’s with a home run’ streak to seven games.

Cody Bellinger drove in the other run the Dodgers scored in the first frame of Wednesday’s series finale on a base hit back up the middle, scoring David Freese. The RBI Bellinger collected on this hit is his thirteenth of the year, which leads all of baseball to this point.

After a two-home run inning in the fourth for the Giants, the Dodgers regained their lead via RBI double off the bat of David Freese. He finished the game with a 1 for 2 line next to a pair of walks in the game.

In the eighth inning, the Dodgers got some breathing room off another RBI double, this time from the bat of Chris Taylor. The team took advantage of the opportunities placed in front of them while on offense and helped to nab this win in a big way for the Dodgers.

Pitching

Ross Stripling took the mound for the Dodgers in this one, following a night where Hyun-Jin Ryu completed seven full innings of work. And while Stripling didn’t go seven-full, he did work his way into the inning and pitched pretty well on his way to it. Here’s how the night turned out for him:

Stripling: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

The Dodgers bullpen was great in this one, shutting down the opposition from their first pitch to their last. Scott Alexander, Caleb Ferguson, and Kenley Jansen emerged from the ‘pen on Wednesday night. Here’s how they did:

  • Alexander: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR (Win, 1-0)
  • Ferguson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR (Hold, 1)
  • Jansen: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR (Save, 3)

Kenley Jansen came out of the bullpen in the ninth for a second consecutive night and got the job done for his guys. The save in this one marks for his third of 2019, and is third most in all of baseball. All of the relievers did a very good job in holding this one down, which has been a struggle for some of the pitchers on the Dodgers to do early this year.

The Dodgers (5-2) defeat the Giants (2-5), 5-3.

Player of the Game: David Freese (1 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB, Go-Ahead 2-RBI 2B)

Up Next

On Thursday, April 4th, the Dodgers will have their first off-day of the season. Thursday will serve as the team’s travel day before beginning a three-game set in Denver with the Colorado Rockies. The series will be Colorado’s home opener and Los Angeles’ first road series of 2019.

  • Game One: Dodgers (Maeda) @ Rockies (Anderson)
    • First Pitch: 1:10pm PT (4:10pm ET)
    • Watch: SportsNet LA, SNLA Espanol, ATT SportsNet-RM, MLBN
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KOA 850, AM 94.1 FM
  • Promos: ‘Go Rockies!’ Rally Towel
  • Game Two: Dodgers (Buehler) @ Rockies (Gray)
    • First Pitch: 5:10pm PT (8:10pm ET)
    • Watch: SportsNet LA, SNLA Espanol, ATT SportsNet-RM
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KOA 850, AM 94.1 FM
  • Promos: 2019 Magnet Schedule (First 35,000)
  • Game Three: Dodgers (Urias) @ Rockies (Bettis)
    • First Pitch: 5:37pm PT (8:37pm ET)
    • Watch: ESPN
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KOA 850, AM 94.1 FM
  • Promos: Wild Card Pennant (First 15,000)

Arrick Joel has covered the Dodgers since 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @ArrickJoel, and follow @DodgersLowDown for more.