The Dodgers bullpen has been one of the bright spots this year. Through the first half of the season, the LA bullpen has the second lowest team ERA in the Major Leagues.
On Monday, the bullpen imploded, allowing ten runs over the final four frames and Los Angeles blew a four-run lead losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-6.
The Dodgers bullpen was lights out through the first seven games of their 10-game road trip, but was snake bitten on Monday as six different relievers surrendered ten runs on ten hits in four combined innings.
"Whatever we tried it didn't seem to work tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It was a group effort tonight. Our pen has been really good for us, tonight was just one of those nights."
Everything was roses for LA early on as starter Mike Bolsinger blew threw four scoreless innings against his former team. But Bolsinger was battling flu-like symptoms throughout the day as a bout with food poisoning left Bolsinger weak and with severe stomach bangs.
"I guess that will teach me to never eat oysters again," Bolsinger joked. "It kept getting worse and worse the longer the game kept going. My body felt like it kept getting hot."
Bolsinger battled throughout the game, even calling for athletic trainer Stan Conte to come to the mound in the bottom half of the fourth, where he received smelling salts.
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Bolsinger had a four-run lead when he was replaced by a pinch-hitter with two outs in the top of the 5th. Bolsinger allowed no runs on just three hits with four strikeouts in four innings before the bullpen blew the lead, and subsequently the game.
"I feel bad that I taxed the bullpen on the first day of the series," Bolsinger said. "They have been good all year. I need to figure out a way to go deeper in games because I don't like putting that kind of pressure on the bullpen."
The Dodgers hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning off Diamondbacks starter Allen Webster. Andre Ethier hit a rope down the right field line that just hooked inside the foul pole, and Yasmani Grandal followed with an opposite field rocket shot to left.
Three batters later Joc Pederson pounded an 83 MPH changeup deep into the seats in right-center. The mammoth home run blast was estimated at 461 feet and was the rookie's 20th home run of the season.
Webster struggled in just his fourth start of the season as he walked the first two batters of the game before hitting Justin Turner with a slider to load the bases. Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play that scored a run, and the D-backs were trailing 1-0 without allowing a hit.
Webster was chased after 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits (three of them homers), with four walks and three strikeouts.
The bullpen began to unravel for the Boys in Blue when they allowed consecutive two-run homers in the fifth and sixth innings to Nick Ahmed and Yasmany Tomás that tied the game at 4-4.
Jimmy Rollins hit a bases loaded double in the top half of the seventh that scored two and recaptured the lead for LA 6-4.
"We had the game back in our hands with the game at 6-4 and our backend bullpen guys in the game," Mattingly continued. "We get the first two outs in the seventh, and then couldn't close the door from there."
David Peralta tied the game at 6-6 after a two-out triple scored Cliff Pennington and A.J. Pollock.
Finally, everything unraveled in the bottom of the eighth when Pedro Baez who was recalled from the 15-day DL earlier this week allowed four runs on four hits with two walks. He was only able to record two outs before being lifted for J.P. Howell, but by then the damage had been done.
Grandal's homer in the 4th inning was from the left-hand side of the plate. It was a comedic affair when the Cuban catcher came up to the plate an inning later to face left-handed reliever Oliver Perez. Grandal was wearing the wrong batting helmet as he batted from the right-hand side.