The Dodgers went through seven pitchers on Friday in Cincinnati without playing in extra innings, or any pitchers getting lit up for a bunch of runs. Instead, their starting pitcher got injured early on, forcing them to the bullpen early, eventually leading to a 3-2 loss.
Chris Capuano was pitching well, without giving up a hit to the first five batters he faced, but was removed in the second inning after feeling pain in his groin. The Dodgers were forced to go to the bullpen for 7.1 innings -- not an ideal scenario to start a series, especially against a lineup as strong as the Reds.
The bullpen did a grand job, but ultimately too many pitchers had to face the stacked lineup and someone was going to slip up. Stephen Fife gave up four hits for one run over two innings, and J.P. Howell gave up a two-run home run to Joey Votto in the fifth.
Capuano, Peter Moylan, Chris Withrow, and Brian Wilson all threw scoreless, hitless performances, but the most impressive came from Brian Wilson.
Wilson has been eased into his role in the bullpen, facing situations of greater leverage in each outing. On Friday he came in to relieve Paco Rodriguez, who gave up one hit and two walks to load in the bases in the eighth with no outs.
Call it lucky, but Wilson trapped a line-drive come-backer and picked off the runner at third for a double play, then struck out Todd Frazier to end the inning and the Reds' imminent scoring threat. He seemed surpremely confident, although the line drive could have caused damage if it landed anywhere other than Wilson's glove.
The Dodgers' bats were limited to just two runs, both coming off one swing in the first inning on a huge home run by Hanley Ramirez. The whole team combined for three more hits after the first with no walks and eight strikeouts.
The Dodgers put up a good effort on the mound, but the bats could not back it up, leading to the 3-2 loss.
The bullpen is now relying on Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw to have strong seven or eight inning performances in order to make up for the barn-burning they were put through on Friday. That is not a given though, especially against a team as talented at the Reds.