Record: 39-33. Pace: 88-74. Change on 2012: +2.
Wednesday's game didn't start off on the best foot for the Diamondbacks- well, the foot wasn't even the part of the leg that we were most worried about. The final out of the top of the first was scored as a 1-5-3 ground out, but Trevor Cahill got involved in less than ideal circumstances, with the ball lined off his upper thigh. He went to the dugout and spent the bottom of the inning pacing the dugout. As little league coaches everywhere applauded his attempt to walk it off, he took the mound in the second, but after getting a 2-1 count on Derek Dietrich, Cahill called the trainer out and headed for clubhouse. Word from the Diamondbacks gave it as a right hip contusion, so hopefully just a bruise and he'll be okay for his next start in Washington.
Looking to the bullpen, the Diamondbacks breathed a sigh of relief that they sent Randall Delgado out to start yesterday, and called on Josh Collmenter. And Josh Collmenter did what he's done so often this season, putting up some good, solid innings out of the bullpen.
Unfortunately for Josh, the Diamondbacks offense was being thwarted by the mystery that is Jose Fernandez. Fernandez, who finished last season pitching for the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads and will legally be able to buy beer when he turns 21 at the end of next month, was doing his best to keep the Diamondbacks bats quiet. He gave up a single in each of the first three innings, but the Diamondbacks couldn't get a runner any further than first base. Including in the third inning, where Gerardo Parra tried to steal second after grounding into a fielder's choice, and was thrown down. That puts Parra at 6 for 15 in his stolen base attempts, which really makes one wonder why anyone ever gives him a green light.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Collmenter was dealing. And I mean dealing. After a two out walk in the second, Collmenter locked in. The Tomahawk went through the Marlins 1-2-3 in the third, and then decided he could do better than that by striking out the side in the fourth. It wasn't until Collmenter gave up a single to lead off the seventh inning that he allowed his first hit, and he finished the day with six innings of one hit ball. Out of the bullpen. If anyone wants to argue with me that wins are a valid way to judge a pitcher's performance, I'll just point them at the no-decision Collmenter earned today. That's quality work.
The problem is that Fernandez was just as good out there. He matched Collmenter in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings by going 1-2-3 on his own, and then added in another one in the seventh to keep the game tied at zero. David Hernandez came in for the eighth inning, giving up a lead off single that he erased with a double play, but Fernandez took the mound again in the bottom of the inning.
Arizona's luck turned, though, as Fernandez's control slipped. He lead off the inning by walking Jason Kubel, who was replaced by Josh Wilson as pinch runner. A.J. Pollock's sacrifice bunt attempt went horribly wrong as he popped out, but Fernandez gave us another walk, putting Didi Gregorius on. Eric Hinske came out to pinch hit for Hernandez, but as the Marlins went to the bullpen for Mike Dunn, Hinske was replaced by Cody Ross. A moment of nervous silence settled over the 'Pit, and onedotfive spoke for all of us:
Good news, everyone, as the Dark Lord heard our plaintive cries, and hammered a pitch to left field to the echoing cheers of the assembled throngs and give Arizona a 3-0 lead.
Now, all we had to do was rely on Heath Bell. Now, Heath's definitely had his struggles lately, but he'll get it together, right? We don't have to always worry about... Damn.
Bell started off the inning in his own unholy, inimitable style, allowing a lead off home run to Justin Ruggiano. Then Bell let Ed Lucas single, bring Giancarlo Stanton to the plate as the tying run. In probably the best move we've seen from him, Bell wisely walked Stanton rather than let him add to his reputation as the Slayer of Diamondbacks. Bell decided he'd had enough toying with our hearts and ulcers, getting Dietrich to fly out, getting help from a good Miguel Montero slide on a foul ball for the second out, and striking out Logan Morrison for the final out. Whew. Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, the Heath Bell Experience.
Not a terribly busy thread, stopping shy of 400 comments. An afternoon game not shown on TV will do that. onedotfive wins CotD honors for the above plea to the powers of darkness, and Rockkstarr12 takes the comment tally, ending up with nearly double Jim's count in second place. Also stopping by were AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Circa4life, Clefo, Dallas D'Back Fan, Gildo, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Majabe, Marc Fournier, PR151, SenSurround, The so-called Beautiful, TolkienBard, Turambar, Zavada's Moustache, azcougs, azshadowwalker, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, kishi, onedotfive, piratedan7, preston.salisbury, rd33, and rfffr.
Well, I'll admit, that went better than I'd worried. Losing Cahill that early on was worrying, but hopefully it's just a bruise, Collmenter once again proves his immense value out of the bullpen, and the Diamondbacks get just enough to win the game and the series. Off day tomorrow, and then the Diamondbacks are set to play the Cincinnati Reds for a series starting Friday.