Dodgers, Diamondbacks open three-game series
PHOENIX — Because of late spring training injuries, Arizona and the Dodgers are working through lineup challenges.
It has been a bit easier on the Diamondbacks than the five-time NL West champion Dodgers, who will make the first of three visits to Chase Field for a three-game series that begins Monday.
Next-men-up right fielders Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings already have made key contributions for the Diamondbacks, who won two of three games in a season-opening series against Colorado while pushing through the loss of Steven Souza Jr.
Souza, acquired to take over for J.D. Martinez and hit in the middle of the order with Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb, suffered a strained right pectoral muscle when he dove for a fly ball on March 23. He is expected to be miss at least a month, probably longer.
The Dodgers, playing without All-Star third baseman Justin Turner, were shut out 1-0 in their first two games before recovering to score 14 runs in the final two games of a four-game series split with San Francisco. Their 18-inning scoreless streak was the second longest to open the season in franchise history.
Turner, who suffered a fractured left wrist when he was struck by a Kendall Graveman pitch on March 19, led the Dodgers in OPS in 2017 while hitting third in the order. He is expected to miss at least five weeks, probably more.
“They sky isn’t falling anymore,” Turner was overheard joking after a 5-0 victory over the Giants on Saturday, and the Dodgers finished their weekend with a 9-0 victory Sunday.
Dodgers’ third basemen are hitless in four games, although it has not bothered starters Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill, who gave up one earned run in 26 innings against the Giants.
No. 5 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is to face D-backs’ No. 4 Taijuan Walker on Monday, after Arizona’s off day Sunday. Turner hit a three-run homer in a four-run first inning when the Dodgers beat Walker in Game 1 of the NLCS last season 9-5.
Free agent pickup Dyson had two hits, scored two runs, drove in one and initiated a double steal while hitting eighth in the Diamondbacks’ 8-2 victory over Colorado in the season opener Thursday.
Owings had two hits and a walk and scored three runs while hitting fifth Friday, when manager Torey Lovullo moved his right-handed hitters higher in the order to match up against Rockies’ left-hander Tyler Anderson.
“In Steven’s absence, they are going to pick up most of the slack,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “As it looks (from the outside), we might be a little light in the outfield. We feel comfortable with the guys we have right now. They can move around and pick up one another.”
“Next guy has to step up until we get him back,” Dyson said of Souza’s absence. “He’s a big piece of what we’ve got going on over here. We’re going to need him here. For the meantime, we have to all step up.”
In a 3-2 game in the season opener, Dyson dropped a bunt single along the first-base line to fuel a three-run sixth inning, in which he also stole third base as part of a double steal while running on his own.
“I just took a chance,” said Dyson, who was safe easily. “That’s just my game. I’m going to play my game no matter what. I have to pick my spots when I go. I’m not going to get on base and go whenever. I’m going to pick my spots.”
Dyson, in his first year in the National League, has at least 26 stolen bases in each of the last eight years. He spent the first six years of his career in Kansas City before playing in Seattle in 2017. He said joining Arizona was an easy call.
“I like to win, man,” he said. “Knowing that these guys went to the playoffs, it was an easy sign for me. I saw them on TV. They had a lot of energy in the dugout. Good team chemistry. I just wanted to be a part of that. I do. My type of game plays in the National League. I’m just happy to be over here.”
Ryu, 5-9 last year, lost his only decision in two starts against the Diamondbacks. He gave up 11 hits and eight walks in 10 innings against them and was touched for three homers in his only appearance in Chase Field, a 6-4 loss on Aug. 30. He is 3-3 career against Arizona, 2-2 at Chase Field.
Walker was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three regular-season starts against the Dodgers last year, winning twice at Dodger Stadium. He lost his one start against the Dodgers while with Seattle.