Record: 13-12. Pace: 84-78. Change on Last Year: +2.
I wish I could have watched this game as just a fan of the game, not the Diamondbacks fan that I am. It was a well-played game with some strange plays, strong plays, and a back-and-forth nature that the best games feature. Washington isn't a joke this year, at least not right now, and we all know the Diamondbacks have potential. Neither side dominated, and it went to the final pitch.
That's the way it goes, sometimes. The Nationals might have lucked out to win, but the Diamondbacks would have been just as lucky to pull out a win. Frustrating, but fun.
The two team traded empty frames until the 3rd when the Nats started things off. Wilson Ramos led things off with a single, and was brought home with a 2 out double from Stephen Lombardozzi. That's one heck of a name, by the way.
The Diamondbacks weren't going to take it lying down, though, and Justin Upton immediately led the 4th inning off with a monster bomb to center field. The tying homer was alleged to land in the backyard of a quaint little mid-century brick house. Washington owner, Clark Griffith was quoted as saying, "That consarned wind has been blowing for 100 years and nobody else ever hit one out of this ballpark like that."
Jason Kubel kept things going by singling, then hustling to third on a Miguel Montero triple. No word from the Kubel haters on the recent outburst of Enemy Number One. Kubel was then brought home by Ryan Roberts' sac fly, giving the road team the lead.
Of course 2-1 wasn't going to be enough to win the game, and the Nats came roaring back in the next frame. Danny Espinosa led things off with a walk, which brought up Wonder Kid, Bryce Harper. Not exactly who you want to face with the lead on the line, and the Kid didn't disappoint for the home squad. He cranked up an RBI deep double that bounced off the right-center wall and was only a couple feet from being the first major league homer for Harper. Bimbo, he ain't.
Harper then was brought home on a strange play that started with a single by Ramos. Harper turned on the afterburners from second, yet seemed to be dead on arrival with Montero waiting with the ball. Harper slid, reached his hands up, and knocked the ball loose. Miggy tried, with no luck, to convince the ump that what Harper did was interference, but the man in blue wasn't having it. Washington was back on top.
Things settled down until the 6th when the machine that is the Diamondbacks started up again. Justin Upton was pitched around for a walk, somehow Edwin Jackson's first of the game, and you know Number 10 wanted to make the home team pay. He got a little help from Paul Goldschmidt, who doubled him in for the tie. Goldschmidt then scored the go-ahead run off a single by Roberts. Could Roberts be finally turning things around?
A scare in the bottom of the 8th put all the fans in Arizona on the edge of the seats, but Craig Breslow was able to work through it. It was the 9th, though, where everything fell apart. JJ Putz didn't seem to have great control, uncorking a cutter that seemed to have little control and fluttered up in the zone. Most of his pitches seemed to hang up in the zone, but he managed to work around a lead-off double by the Wonder Kid to get to two outs on two strikeouts. Ian Desmond, the shortstop known for things like being named Ian Desmond but not necessarily known for hitting home runs, stepped up to the plate. The victory for the D-backs seemed so close. And then Desmond hit a two run bomb and it was over.
Joe Saunders took the bump today as the improbable ace of the Diamondbacks, and pitched another good game. He scattered 7 hits over 6 1/3 innings, only gave up 2 earned runs with 6 strikeouts. He left the Diamondbacks in a good position to get a win, even with some shaky defense behind him.
Edwin Jackson was the opposing pitcher, and he was also decent. He went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits and 4 earned runs, but only struck out 3.
It's a team game and the team didn't get it done. Not to put the pressure on JJ Putz, who ultimately gave up the winning runs, but the D-backs haven't been very good at stopping late rallies. Last year they were the late inning kings, but this year they keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
It's a frustrating loss, to be certain, the kind that grinds at you and causes people to be negative then they might normally be. The D-backs could have won that game, but didn't. Later in the season, they will win games that they shouldn't have. These things go both ways, so we must practice being mountains.
Tomorrow is the rubber match for this series in Washington. If the team wins, I'm treating myself to 5 Guys. If they lose, I'm drowning my sorrows in 5 Guys. Game time is 4:05pm Arizona time. Be here, or some place else. You're unlikely to have any other option.