2023 National League Division Series 2

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2023 National League Division Series
Arizona Diamondbacks logo
2023 National League Division Series logo
Los Angeles Dodgers logo
Arizona Diamondbacks
84 - 78 in the NL
3 - 0
Series Summary
Los Angeles Dodgers
100 - 62 in the NL


The Teams[edit]




Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Arizona Diamondbacks 11 Los Angeles Dodgers 2 October 7 Merrill Kelly (1-0) Clayton Kershaw (0-1) 9:20 pm
2 Arizona Diamondbacks 4 Los Angeles Dodgers 2 October 9 Zac Gallen (1-0) Bobby Miller (0-1) 9:07 pm
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Arizona Diamondbacks 4 October 11 Lance Lynn (0-1) Brandon Pfaadt (0-0) 9:07 pm


Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Diamondbacks 6 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 11 13 0
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 4 0
WP: Merrill Kelly (1-0); LP: Clayton Kershaw (0-1)
Home Runs: ARI - Gabriel Moreno (1), Corbin Carroll (1), Alek Thomas (1), Tommy Pham (1)
  • Attendance: 51,653

If Game 1 had been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight in the 1st round. The Diamondbacks came out with all guns blazing against long-time Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, and handed him one of the worst losses of his career by scoring six runs in just a third of an inning, completely stunning the crowd at Dodger Stadium. And if this wasn't enough, they added three more runs against rookie Emmet Sheehan in the 2nd inning, although by then there was no alternative but to let the youngster take a beating, given how much baseball there remained to be played, both in this game and in the series. The Dodgers never recovered from the early onslaught - it would have taken a miracle to do so - and Arizona cruised to an easy 11-2 win. Lost in the shuffle, Merrill Kelly, making his postseason debut, pitched a great game, shutting out the Dodgers on just three hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The D-Backs assault started with the first batter of the game, Ketel Marte, who doubled off Kershaw. He scored when Corbin Carroll followed with a single, then Tommy Pham and Christian Walker hit a single and double respectively, making it 2-0 with still no one out. Next up was rookie C Gabriel Moreno, who homered to left field to make it 5-0 - and there was still no one out. Kershaw finally recorded an out when Lourdes Gurriel hit a grounder to short, but he then walked Alek Thomas and Evan Longoria drove in another run with a double, the sixth of the inning. That was it for Kershaw, and not only was it one of his worst performances ever, but it brought into question whether he would even get a chance to redeem himself if his turn came up again, given how unconvincing his pitching had been: there was no soft contact among the six hits, and really nothing was working that night. Rookie Emmet Sheehan replaced him and his mission was to give the Dodgers some length, as it was still possible to recover from that rough start. Sheehan gave his manager a bit of hope by retiring the first two batters he faced to end the nightmarish frame, but he would run into his own buzzsaw in the 2nd. Meanwhile, Kelly allowed a single to Max Muncy with two outs, but nothing else in the bottom of the 1st.

In the 2nd, the Diamondbacks did to Sheehan what they had done to Kershaw in the 1st: Carroll led off with a tape-measure blast to the right field bleachers for a first run, Pham singled and Walker was hit by a pitch. He got Moreno to pop out to foul territory, but Gurriel followed with a double and Pham scored. Sheehan, who was clearly struggling, then walked Thomas and it felt like a small victory when he got Longoria on a sacrifice fly, but the score was now 9-0. Finally, he struck out Geraldo Perdomo to end a second awful inning. There was no coming back now, even in the Dodgers' wildest dreams. Sheehan stayed in the game, because someone had to pitch and there was no point burning through a slew of relievers at that point, and he put a couple more runners on in the 3rd but escaped without giving up a run. Meanwhile, Kelly was letting the occasional batter reach base, but was never in any trouble. He would pitch into the 7th inning, not giving up anything of note. Reclamation project Shelby Miller came in to pitch for L.A. in the 5th and did well, contributing a couple of scoreless innings. In the 7th, Thomas had a long battle against new pitcher Michael Grove, taking him deep on his 14th pitch, having fouled off nine straight balls at one point, to make the score 10-0. Joe Mantiply replaced Kelly with one out in the 7th, and in the top of the 8th, Pham hit Arizona's fourth homer of the game off Alex Vesia. The Dodgers scored twice against Miguel Castro in the 8th, on a triple by Will Smith that followed a pair of walks, but it was inconsequential. Luis Frias, perhaps the lowest-ranking pitcher in Arizona's bullpen, got the honor of pitching the 9th to close out the emphatic 11-2 win.

Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Diamondbacks 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 8 1
Dodgers 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 6 0
WP: Zac Gallen (1-0); LP: Bobby Miller (0-1); SV: Paul Sewald (1)
Home Runs: LA - J.D. Martinez (1); ARI - Lourdes Gurriel (1)
  • Attendance: 51,449

The Diamondbacks repeated the formula that had worked so well for them in Game 1 by jumping all over rookie starting pitcher Bobby Miller in the 1st inning of Game 2. While they were not able to build an unsurmountable lead as they had done two days earlier, the three runs they scored were enough of a cushion for their ace, Zac Gallen, to earn the win. Miller left in the 2nd inning, and in many other years, having forced the Dodgers to go to their bullpen in the first two innings in each of two games would have been a death blow, but this year's series was played under an unusual format, with off-days after both Game 1 and Game 2, so that the Dodgers' relievers would not be totally spent by the time Game 3 started. That was the lone consolation for Los Angeles fans, who had nightmarish flashbacks of the year before, when a 100-win team had made an early exit at the Division Series stage when it had been expected to go all the way.

Miller had been one of the Dodgers' top pitchers during the regular season, but still, under normal circumstances Dave Roberts would have preferred to use someone more experienced to start this game; he did have Lance Lynn available, but he had been awful before his acquisition by the Dodgers at the trading deadline as a reclamation project, and had nowhere near the stuff the youngster had. So Roberts threw the dice, but the numbers he wanted did not come up: by the time the fans who were watching the other Division Series tuned in to the start of the game, the D-Backs had already scored three runs off Miller. It started with a walk to Corbin Carroll, followed by singles by Ketel Marte and Tommy Pham to load the bases with no one out. Christian Walker hit a sacrifice fly to plate in a first run, but Pham then stole second base, erasing a potential double play, and Gabriel Moreno got Marte across with a ground ball to SS Miguel Rojas. Pham then scored a third run on a single by Lourdes Gurriel to make it 3-0. Freddie Freeman did manage an infield single off Gallen in the 1st inning, barely sliding in ahead of the pitcher's foot touching the bag after hitting a ball to 1B Walker, but it would be L.A.'s lone hit until the 4th as Gallen was off to a strong start. It was in marked contrast to Miller, who struggled some more in the 2nd, allowing a lead-off single to Evan Longoria, who was bunted over to second by Geraldo Perdomo, after which Carroll drew a walk. While Miller got Marte to pop up to catcher Will Smith for the second out, Roberts decided to pull out all the stops, bringing in one of his top relievers in Brusdar Graterol to face Pham. He got the job done, getting him to hit a grounder to short, but this meant it would be another long night for the Dodgers' bullpen.

The D-Backs failed to add to their early lead, and the Dodgers' bats finally found some life with two outs in the 4th when J.D. Martinez connected for solo homer, after Gallen had retired ten consecutive batters. Ryan Brasier, the third Dodger pitcher and another high-leverage reliever, followed that with a perfect inning in the 5th, as the momentum was apparently shifting. In the bottom of the 5th, James Outman drew a walk with one out and Rojas followed with a single, bringing up the top of the order, but Gallen then retired the Dodgers' two best hitters, Mookie Betts and Freeman, to end the inning with the score still 3-1. Then with two outs in the 6th. Gurriel in turn hit a homer, and it was back to a three-run lead for Arizona. Gallen then began to show signs of fatigue in the bottom of that inning, allowing back-to-back singles to Max Muncy and Martinez with one out, and rookie Andrew Saalfrank was summoned to face Chris Taylor, pinch-hitting for Jason Heyward. He walked Taylor to load the bases and another pinch-hitter, Kiké Hernandez, followed with a single to make it 4-2, but the Dodgers flubbed their chance to tie the score when Saalfrank struck out Outman, and Ryan Thompson came in to get yet another pinch-hitter, Kolten Wong, to ground out to Walker. The Dodgers had spent a lot of bullets in that inning, but had only managed to cut the lead by one.

There would not be any more scoring after that. The Dodgers used two more of their top relievers, Joe Kelly and Evan Phillips, to handle the final three innings, while Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald handled one inning each for the D-Backs. It was Arizona that applied the most pressure in those innings, with a pair of singles followed by a double steal in the 7th, and a lead-off walk and another steal in the 8th, but neither team was able to score. Betts reached on an error by Thompson in the 7th, but was immediately erased when Freeman grounded into a double play, then a walk to Martinez in the 8th was also followed immediately by a double play grounder, that one hit into by Taylor. In the 9th, Phillips hit Longoria with a pitch, Perdomo laid down his second sacrifice bunt of the game and Carroll drew another walk, this one intentional. After Marte popped up with the infield fly rule being invoked, Pham singled, but the ball never left the infield and Jordan Lawlar, running for Longoria, had to stop at third. Phillips then retired Walker on strikes as Arizona had left five runners in scoring position in its last three innings. But Los Angeles could not take advantage of those missed opportunities: Sewald earned what was already his third save of the postseason by getting Hernandez, Outman and Wong in order in the bottom of the 9th. The Dodgers were now in deep trouble, trailing two games to none and headed to the Desert.

Game 3 @ Chase Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 7 1
Diamondbacks 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 0
WP: Joe Mantiply (1-0); LP: Lance Lynn (0-1); SV: Paul Sewald (2)
Home Runs: ARI - Geraldo Perdomo (1), Ketel Marte (1), Christian Walker (1), Gabriel Moreno (2)
  • Attendance: 48,175

The Diamondbacks completed a stunning three-game sweep of the Dodgers with another early big inning against the Dodgers' starter, this time against veteran Lance Lynn. He managed to last a bit longer than his two predecessors, making it through two innings before the D-Backs bludgeoned him, but the result was still the same as in the first two games: Arizona took an early and commanding lead, and never looked back. Commentary before the game noted that Lynn had led the majors in homers allowed with 44. As is well established, he who lives by the sword perishes by the sword: the long ball would be his demise again in this game as he set a new postseason record by allowing four in one inning. They were all solo shots, but the barrage resulted in all the runs that the Diamondbacks needed. His opponent on the mound was rookie Brandon Pfaadt, and while it was understood that he was on a short leash and unlikely to face more than two turns at bat, he did very well, giving his manager 4 1/3 scoreless innings before being lifted in favor of Joe Mantiply, who earned credit for the win.

Chase Field was hosting its first postseason game this year (and first since 2017) as the Diamondbacks had played their four previous games on the road - and won them all. It was packed to welcome its conquering heroes and constituted a very hostile environment for the Dodgers, who were retired in order by Pfaadt in the top of the 1st, with their twin MVP candidates, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, continuing to struggle in the postseason. After Clayton Kershaw had failed to get out of the 1st inning in Game 1, and Bobby Miller had not completed the 2nd inning in Game 2, it must have been a relief to Dave Roberts that Lynn also retired the D-Backs in order in the 1st, but obviously, the era of good feelings wouldn't last. The 2nd inning also featured the Dodgers going down in order and Arizona getting its first two hits, back-to-back singles by Lourdes Gurriel and Alek Thomas with two outs, but Lynn escaped by striking out Evan Longoria. Kiké Hernandez was the first Dodger to reach base, leading off the top of the 3rd with a single, but he was erased when David Peralta grounded into a double play, and Pfaadt completed the inning by getting Miguel Rojas to ground out, having faced the minimum of nine batters through the first third of the game. And then came the historic bottom of the 3rd.

Geraldo Perdomo, the number nine hitter, led off the inning with a homer to right center. After one out, Ketel Marte blasted a pitch to right field, making it 2-0. Tommy Pham was the second out, but Christian Walker hit another long ball, this one a line drive to left. Up stepped Gabriel Moreno and he curled a pitch towards the foul pole in right. It was originally called a homer, and he rounded the bases, only to have the call reviewed and the ball called foul. Back to the plate he went, and doing his best Darryl Motley impersonation, this time he hit a no-doubter to left center field for a 4-0 lead. That ended Lynn's outing - he was replaced by Caleb Ferguson - but it had probably gone on too long already. The four homers in the inning set a new postseason record and the Dodgers were clearly reeling. In contrast, in Pfaadt's case, he probably could have pitched longer, but after he allowed a one-out double to Will Smith in the 5th, he was replaced by Mantiply who got the next two outs, but during that time, Chris Taylor fouled a ball off C Montero's bare hand, and he would need to leave the game in short order. Arizona could have blown the game wide open in the bottom of the 5th when Corbin Carroll drew a lead-off walk, and with Michael Grove now pitching stole second base with no one on the Dodgers reacting. He reached third on a ground out, and after Pham had struck out, Grove walked Walker and Pavin Smith, pinch-hitting for Montero, to load the bases. Gurriel had a chance to do some mortal damage, but he grounded to short to end the inning.

The Dodgers still had a chance, although, mentally, they looked completely out of it. They did mount a partial comeback in the 7th when four consecutive batters singled with two outs: Max Muncy, Smith, Taylor and Hernandez, resulting in two runs. Andrew Saalfrank was called in to replace Ryan Thompson at this point and he got pinch-hitter Austin Barnes to ground out to third. As had been the case in previous games, Kevin Ginkel pitched the 8th and Paul Sewald took care of the 9th for Arizona and both of them were solid. Each stranded a batter in their inning of work to complete the three-game sweep that left the Dodgers completely stunned. For their part, the D-Backs headed to the swimming pool beyond the outfield fence at Chase Field to take a celebratory dip.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Anthony Castrovince: "Dodgers' woes reaffirm postseason's unmatched unpredictability", mlb.com, October 12, 2023. [1]
  • Mike DiGiovanna (Los Angeles Times): "Inside the Dodgers' strategy to stop Arizona's dominance on the basepaths", Yahoo! News, October 7, 2023. [2]
  • Steve Gilbert: "D-backs pool their power in stunning NLDS sweep of Dodgers", mlb.com, October 12, 2023. [3]
  • Andrew Simon: "D-backs-Dodgers position-by-position breakdown", mlb.com, October 5, 2023. [4]
  • Juan Toribio: "'It's hard to find words right now': Freeman, Betts at a loss after quiet NLDS", mlb.com, October 12, 2023. [5]

Related Sites[edit]

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