The Los Angeles Dodgers have set a record in each of their first two games of the 2019 season but have managed to split the contests. On Friday, the Dodgers played the longest regular-season home game in franchise history, which ended in a loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 13 innings.
Sparked by A.J. Pollock hitting his first home run and later adding a two-run single, the Dodgers were on their way to remaining undefeated on the young season. But the bullpen faltered, with newcomer Joe Kelly at the center of it.
Kelly inherited two baserunners from Pedro Baez, needing just one out in the seventh inning to preserve the Dodgers’ 3-0 lead. He got ahead in the count, only to surrender a game-tying home run to Christian Walker.
Following his team’s loss, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained his viewpoint of Kelly’s matchup with Walker, who now has two home runs in as many games this season, via SportsNet LA:
“I thought the stuff was good. Obviously a pinch-hitter like Christian Walker, I love the matchup. Got ahead with the breaking ball, got to 3-2 and he threw a breaking ball, and [Walker] put a good swing on it. (We) scored another run (but Kelly) just wasn’t sharp tonight.”
The Dodgers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh but Kelly allowed the Diamondbacks to again pull even in the eighth inning. Seven relievers combined to throw 7.2 innings in the loss.
Despite the workload, Roberts remained confident the bullpen is good standing and stood by his decisions:
“Obviously, we don’t expect to play  innings. I mean, they’re ready for the back-to-back, but now [Saturday], you’ve got to reassess but we’re still fresh as far as the bullpen. But guys like Yimi and Floro, they’ll both probably be down. But everybody else should be available. … I wouldn’t do anything differently. We’ve just got to go out there. We got beat.”
Well before the Dodgers fell to the Diamondbacks, Roberts’ managerial decisions were already being scrutinized as the lineup didn’t include Austin Barnes, Max Muncy or Joc Pederson, who combined to hit four home runs on Opening Day.
Of course, it’s a strategy the Dodgers have frequently relied on, even as it’s been called into question by those outside the organization.