Major League Baseball throws something new at you every day, it seems. Weird, wild plays happen all the time and one happened again on Tuesday as the Arizona Diamondbacks found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory that you have not seen before.
The Diamondbacks held a 4-3 lead over their NL West rival Dodgers heading into the bottom of the ninth when the usually reliable Greg Holland came on to shut the door for the Diamondbacks. Entering the game, Holland had 12 saves on the year and a 2.33 ERA. Holland got the first two batters out — Edwin Rios on a ground out, and Austin Barnes on a fly out to center.
Up stepped the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor with two outs and no one on. Holland got two strikes on Taylor, but then let him slip away and he walked him. The next batter, Russell Martin, came on as a pinch hitter and he also walked. So did Alex Verdugo to load the bases.
You can see where this is going.
A Walk to Remember? Try five. pic.twitter.com/YanjxDqaRS
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 3, 2019
With the bases loaded. Matt Beaty came up for the Dodgers and yes, Holland walked him. Four straight walks with two outs and now the score now tied at 4-4.
Finally, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo had seen enough. With one of the best hitters in baseball, Cody Bellinger, coming up with the bases loaded, Lovullo pulled Holland in favor of left-hander T.J. McFarland.
McFarland proceeded to — you guessed it — walk Bellinger — and bring home the winning run.
No one had — at least no one alive. This was the first time a game ended on five straight walks with no outs recorded in between since 1920, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
The @Dodgers are the first team in the live-ball era (since 1920) to draw five consecutive walks to end a game, with no outs occurring at any point during the streak of walks.
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) July 3, 2019
Holland (1-1) was not happy with his performance.
“It pisses me off,” Holland said, the Republic reported. “We should have won the game. It’s my responsibility to attack. Two outs and nobody on, we didn’t deserve to lose that game. It’s my responsibility to be better than that.”
Lovullo said it was out of character for Holland, who has been very good this year.
“I haven’t seen a lot of that type of results with him,” Lovullo said. “If we’re a month into this (Holland struggling), of course I’m going to make an adjustment. It’s the first time something like that’s unraveled for him.”
But Lovullo has not lost faith in him.
“No, he’s our closer,” Lovullo said, according to the Arizonas Republic. “I felt like it was still his opportunity to get that closed and slam the door. There’s no perfect science to how, when and where with certain guys at certain times. The bottom line is I believe in him. And I still do believe in him.”
Tough, tough loss tonight…
After the game, Torey Lovullo addressed his thought process in the 9th and said that Greg Holland will remain in the closing role moving forward.
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) July 3, 2019
Dodgers starter Ross Stripling could empathize with Holland.
“As a pitcher, you feel for him. You don’t want anybody to go through that. You want us to take it from them and not him basically hand it to us on a silver platter. He’s been one of the better closers in the game for a long time and I’m sure he’ll be able to get over it and get back at it,” Stripling said, according to the Republic.
The Diamondbacks fell to 43-44, 15 games behind the Dodgers, who improved to a league-best 58-29.
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