Record: 8-4. Pace: 108-54. Change on 2012: +1.
One of these things is not like the other, but it was a day for saying hello to Ol' Beady Eyes and goodbye to Joe, Sr. We'll get to the game--a great pitcher's duel with an exciting finish--but the real headliner today was the retirement of Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola. The Diamondbacks paid tribute to the man who spent 58 years broadcasting, 15 of those for Arizona, both before and during the game. Joe joined Bert and Brenly in the booth for the third and fourth innings, talking as much about his history as the game. It featured some nice interaction between the guys, as well as some good quotes. The video tribute between the fourth and fifth innings featured Luis Gonzalez, Bob Costas, Vin Scully and Derrick Hall. It was a very nice, fitting tribute to a man we've all become so used to hearing and seeing during Diamondback games. And, now, on to the game...
After Trevor Cahill's previous two starts, you couldn't blame anyone for being a bit apprehensive about this one. Going against Josh Beckett was not going to be an easy task, although Beckett has had his struggles at Chase Field. While Beckett may have pitched slightly better that Cahill did today, it turns out that Gibby had a better handle on when his pitcher was done than Don Mattingly did.
Cahill made it clear from the get-go that this was a new ballgame, getting through the troublesome first inning easily. As the booth talked about Cahill's previous first-inning struggles, he calmly sat the Dodgers down 1-2-3. Unfortunately, Beckett followed suit in the bottom half of the inning, dismissing Parra, Prado and Hill with little fuss. The most notable thing about the first inning happened during Parra's at-bat, when the ump set the precedent of calling the low strike. That could only be a good thing for Cahill.
The top of the second inning was a little more worrisome, with Adrian Gonzalez beginning a 3-for-4 day with a single. Fortunately, Cahill came back to get the next three guys and get out of the inning without any damage. Beckett continued to frustrate Arizona hitters in the bottom half of the frame, although the third strike called on Paul Goldschmidt looked suspiciously like a foul ball. Goldy definitely looked unhappy when called out.
Through three innings, Cahill was still looking strong. After sitting down Punto, Beckett and Crawford, he was throwing a one-hit game with three strike-outs and no walks. The Diamondbacks tried to give him some help in the bottom of the inning. Cody Ross, who is playing disabled list musical chairs with Jason Kubel, struck out in his first at-bat as a starter. That was when things got interesting, with Cliff Pennington getting the first Arizona hit of the game on a single to left-center. Cahill failed to help his own cause when he couldn't move Pennington into scoring position with the bunt, though. That hurt even more when Parra came up and singled. Prado would fly out to Ethier to end the inning, leaving two on base.
In the fourth, Cahill faced his first slight sign of trouble. He sat down Mark Ellis and Kemp, but ran into Gonzalez with two outs. On his second plate appearance, Gonzalez got his second single of the game. Ethier followed with his own single, putting Gonzalez in scoring position. Cahill was able to sit down his second Ellis of the inning, though, when A.J. grounded out on the first pitch he saw. He ended the inning with three hits, four strike-outs and no walks. Not too shabby.
Beckett decided he wasn't too shabby, either. A.J. Pollock came in to bat for Hill, who was taken out due to wrist pain. Cue the "maple bat" rant from Mark Grace-wherever he is-when Pollock grounded out on a broken-bat grounder to third base. Montero would also hit into an out before Goldy muscled a single into left-center. Unfortunately, the hit-and-run was put on, and Chavez struck out swinging at a pitch way inside. Gotta protect the runner...even if you strike out doing so, I guess.
The top of the fifth saw defensive realignments for the Diamondbacks. Prado was moved to second to take over for Hill, and Pollock was put in left field. Prado has played four positions with the Diamondbacks. Not a bad problem to have, especially when you're as broken as Arizona is right now.
The Dodgers' half of the inning was a wonderful concoction of poor offense and good defense. Cahill got Cruz to bounce out to third, only to have Punto bunt for a base hit. Trouble brewing? Of course not. Beckett's attempt to move the runner over with the bunt resulted in a really nice double play started by Cahill. Cahill jumped off the mound, turned to throw it to Pennington covering second, who went on to Goldy for the inning-ending double play. Nice job, boys.
Once again, Arizona tried to get something going in the bottom half of the frame. Beady Eyes struck out on one in the dirt, bringing up Pennington. Cliffy was able to get the first extra-base hit of the game when he sent one to left-center, ending up with a double. This time, Cahill didn't bunt, but got a sacrifice the hitterish way with a sac fly to right-center. This led to applause from the crowd and Brenly's comment that it "must be nice when all you have to do is make contact to get a round of applause." Pennington moved to third with two out. Parra left him stranded there with a ground-out to second. Alas, no runs.
The sixth inning gave us no offense as all, as both pitchers had 1-2-3 innings. At this point, both pitchers had given up only four hits each. Not a bad day at the office, so far.
The top of the seventh started out with a bit of worry. Gonzalez came up for his third appearance. Gonzalez promptly got his third hit of the game. This one was more dangerous than the others, being a lead-off double and all. Fortunately, Ethier, Mark Ellis and Cruz conspired to strand him there. Yay for no damage!
The Diamondbacks once again went down meekly, with Goldschmidt, Chavez and Ross going 1-2-3. Boo for no damage!
The Dodgers would start well for a second straight inning, getting a lead-off single from Punto. Punto was able to move into scoring position on the bunt from Beckett. Such would end the day of Trevor Cahill, who had a really nice day with 6 hits, 4 strike-outs, no walks, and no runs in 7.1 innings. Gibby apparently told him last night to dream about going eight innings. He was just a touch off the mark. This was the first time Cahill had a game free of walks since he faced the Dodgers last September 12th. Nice job, Trevor!
Tony Sipp would come in to face the lefty Crawford. Crawford would ground out, but move Punto up to third. Zeigler cared not, as he came in and got A.J. Ellis to ground out to third on the first pitch. Efficient as all hell, I say.
Of course, that Josh Beckett guy can be pretty efficient, too. He had yet another 1-2-3 inning, sitting down Pennington, pinch-hitter Hinske, and Parra. At the end of the 8th inning, Beckett had sat down 11 straight hitters, struck out nine, and only given up four hits. Would it last? (Spoiler!)
J.J. Putz came in for a non-save situation in the 9th inning. There would be a bit of Putzian drama, but not much. J.J. was able to strike out Kemp. He got Gonzalez out for the first time all game, when Adrian grounded out to first. Unfortunately, Ethier came up and J.J. had another first: the first walk issued by any pitcher all day. This put the go-ahead run on with A.J. Ellis up to bat. Ellis would get to 1-2...then have Ethier TOOTBLAN his way out of the inning when Miggy caught him tryng to steal second.
So, would we have another get-away-day extra-inning affair? Stay tuned...
It started out quietly, with Beckett getting yet another strike out, this one at Prado's expense. Then Pollock came up. He hit one to left-center, which was fielded by Carl Crawford. Knowing Crawford is...well...kinda like Luis Gonzalez in left field and has a surgically repaired elbow, Pollock easily got to second. Trying to slam the barn door closed when the horse was already out in the field, Mattingly brought Schumaker in as defensive replacement for Crawford. He then wandered to the mound, desperately trying to buy time for a reliever to warm up (having failed to prepare for this possibility previously). The visit meant Beckett had to face another batter, though, and that was Miggy. After missing badly with the first three pitches, they intentionally walked Montero. And then there was Goldschmidt. Goldy was able to punch one through the hole on the right side of the infield, scoring Pollock from second. And the 1-0 win! (I refuse to discuss "walk-off singles" because...that's dumb.) Goldy got to wear the Bubblegum Buckethead, some Prado mud, and a cooler of water. Arizona got to celebrate their third series win of the four played so far and an 8-4 record. See ya in New York!
Quotable Quotes from the Booth
Given the occasion, I thought it would be nice to add some of the more quotable things said during Joe, Sr.'s time in booth today.
- Joe on the Diamondbacks organization: "The Diamondbacks have treated me better than any other organization."
- Joe on Audrey: "Sixty-three years. It's gonna work."
- Joe on John Galbreath, the owner he played for on the historically bad 1952 Pirates team: "He had a lot of players, a lot of money, and didn't want to mix ‘em."
- Joe on the Diamondbacks' aggressiveness: "Parra, sometimes you gotta put a rope on him."
Bert and Joe on the new booth:
Bert: "How we doing?"
Joe: "Let's talk about somethin' else."
- Joe on the Diamondbacks' production crew: They're a "Cracker Jack crew." (Somehow I think he meant they're a "crack" crew, but it made me laugh.)
- Joe to the booth as he left: "Don't screw up."
I have to admit that the video of Joe walking down the hall alone after everyone said their goodbyes made me a little misty. Good work and good luck, Mr. Garagiola.
[Thanks to azshadowwalker for writing up this contest - a great game and a great way to start our guest recap season. Here are the bells and whistles. - Jim]
[Click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Joe Garagiola, Sr: Trevor Cahill, +41.5%
Joe-like: Paul Goldschmidt, +24.5%
Lennon and McCartney: Martin Prado, -15.8%
imstillhungry95 led all commenters, with Zavada's Moustache and Jdub220 occupying the other podium positions. Also taking part this afternoon: Circa4life, Clefo, DbackCardsFan, Fangdango, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Majabe, Marc Fournier, SenSurround, SongBird, TylerO, asteroid, benhat, blank_38, coldblueAZ, dbacks79, dbrowell, grimmy01, hotclaws, jmh1982, onedotfive, rd33 and snakecharmer. A pair of ZM's comments reach five recs apiece. We'll give it to his comment during the decisive ninth inning, when Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was playing for time: "Someone call the USSR. Because the Dodgers are Stalin hard right now."