Record: 20-31. Pace: 64-98. Change on 2013/2010/2004: -9/0/+2
Game one of this Double Header would feature crafty right hander Bronson Arroyo (4-3) of the Diamondbacks against rookie right hander Rafael Montero (0-2) of the Mets. The Diamondbacks featured several lefties in their lineup as a result of the rookie right hander taking the mound. The Mets went with a similar lineup to what they’ve had all year but giving Ruben Tejada the short stop job for the day. The Dimaondbacks would win 2-1 with 5 double plays on defense after their pitching would allow 2 runners or more 6 times.
The rookie Montero started off with a strike to Parra but he would eventually work it to a full count. This seemed to be an Omen for the day as Montero would have a lot of 3-2 counts during the course of the day. On the 3-2 pitch Parra flew out to our old pal Chris Young in left. I waved at him but I don’t’ think he saw me. Chris Owings didn’t wait for any count and swung on the first pitch. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was early baseball or just that no one expects it from Chris, but no one seemed to notice it was going to be a home run until CY ran out of fence. D-Backs up 1 early. Paul Goldschmidt would strike out, and Montero would strike out Montero. Get used to that line.
In the home half of the inning Bronson Arroyo started off with a 72 mph heater over the left corner to Lagares but Juan would dump one into left after getting behind in a 1-2 count. Daniel Murphy’s bat died a hero and got a single to trickle between 3rd and short. David Wright decided Murphy had the right idea and promptly hit one in the same spot. The windmill started behind 3rd base and Lagares reached home safely on the single. Granderson (who apparently didn’t realize he’s wearing the wrong New York jersey) struck out swinging. Arizona fan favorite Chris Young did a very familiar thing swinging at the first pitch and popping the ball straight up. Miggy fought the sun and got the put out then spun around like a puma and stared at the base runners with his arm halfcocked daring them to try to advance. A slow dribbler by the next batter Duda and Miggy showed his puma like instincts again. He pounced on his prey and slung it over to Goldschmidt for the 3rd out. 1-1.
Aaron Hill would start off the 2nd inning with a leadoff walk. Eric Chavez popped up to David Wright who was playing the shift and ran from 2nd base to catch it. Pollock was brushed off the plate on the 2nd pitch and didn’t seem to take too kindly to it. Nothing came of it though as Pollock struck out looking at strike 3 over the middle of the plate. Alfredo Marte would take his customary wild swings to strike out for out number 3.
Bronson did his best Ian Kennedy impression and plunked todays Mets Shortstop by Committee Ruben Tejada in the left shoulder. Juan Centeno worked to a full count and grounded one just past an outstretched Goldschmidt which put runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out. The pitcher Montero would come up and bunt the first pitch just about 3 feet in front of the plate. Miguel (Puma) Montero jumped on the ball and threw a laser to the 3rd base coach of the Mets but somehow the 3rd base Gold Glover Eric Chavez snagged it and they successfully got the lead off runner. One other thing about this play, it looked like the batter ran directly over the ball making it much harder for Montero to get to it. The umpires could have easily called for offensive interference but it seems like this is a call they never make in the majors. This was followed up by a Lagares grounder to Chris Owings who made a nice play and flip to Hill, who threw over to 1st for the double play. More COD by this years should be ROY. Still 1-1.
Bronson lead off the inning by striking out looking. Parra followed that up by grounding to shortstop de jour Ruben Tejada who quickly turned a routine throw into one heck of a dig out by Duda. Chris Owings would work to a full count by spraying off a couple of strikes, and it paid off with a walk. Goldie, who’s been slumping a bit lately, hit one directly at 2nd base. Literally, it hit the bag at 2nd and that caused it to ricochet into left center. This gave enough time for Owings to advance all the way to 3rd. So with runners on 1st and 3rd, Montero would face Montero. Montero was dawning glasses for this at bat since he had been struggling with the sun in his last at bat. The switch to glasses didn’t work so well and Miguel threw them off before the 3-2 pitch. He grounded to 2nd for an easy put out at 1st.
Daniel Murphy started off with a hard grounder right at Goldschmidt who had a little trouble corralling it, but managed to throw a 90 mph fast ball to the streaking (and graceful) Bronson Arroyo running over to cover 1st. With the reflexes of a cat and the feet of a tap dancer, Bronson snagged and tagged for out #1. David Wright hit a short hopper to Chris Owings who wouldn’t make the tough play. They scored it a single and rightly so. Granderson got plunked on the hip on what would have been ball 4. And for the 3rd time in as many innings there were runners on 1st and 2nd for the Mets. Chris Young grounded to short for an easy double play turn and Bronson once again wiggled off the hook. Still tied at 1 apiece.
Aaron Hill and Eric Chavez would both strike out swinging. Pollock provided some entertainment on the 0-2 count by popping the ball high over just right of 1st base. Duda couldn’t find it in the air so Daniel Murphy was at a full sprint with his head up toward the sky. He nearly ran into Pollock who had just reached 1st and was ducking because he too didn’t know where the ball was. It landed harmlessly into foul territory. Pollock would foul off another one towards 1st base but this time Duda wasn’t going to lose it. Trouble was, the ball was going into the stands and Duda was too determined to keep his eyes on the ball to notice. He flipped end over tea-kettle right into the stands and didn’t make the catch. Pollock worked it to a full count but struck out swinging on ball 4.
Duda led off the inning for the Mets and grounded the 2nd pitch to Goldschmidt to toss it over to our tap dancing pitcher for out #1. Tejada lined one at the feet of Aaron Hill who couldn’t handle it. But Centeno grounded to Eric Chavez who was playing in for the possible bunt. This led to an easy double play to get Bronson out of the 4th inning sitting on only 50 pitched despite a lot of base runners. The game was still tied at 1-1.
Marte was trying to screw himself into the ground and quickly got down 0-2 but after fighting off a good pitch and staying patient he worked it to a full count. Marte kept fighting off pitches and eventually swung wildly at a change up for out #1. Bronson decided he didn’t want to bother with the whole "swinging" thing and dropped down a bunt on the first pitch. His time out of the box was impressive but ultimately it wasn’t enough as Centeno pounced and threw over to 1st for out number 2. Parra would get a 4 pitch walk but apparently no one told Chris to lay off the first pitch after a 4 pitch walk, so he quickly dropped down to an 0-2 count early. On the 2-2 count Chris couldn’t hold up on a slider off the plate and the D-Backs stranded Parra at 1st.
Montero would lead off the inning and would hit the first pitch right off the end of the bat causing the bat to come apart right at the handle. It was an easy ground out for Chris Owings at short. 1 away. Lagares grounded right to Goldschmidt who walked to 1st base for out #2, and Murphy grounded to Hill for out #3. After 5 they were still tied at 1-1.
Goldschmidt hit a slow roller to short which Tejada had no trouble throwing over to 1st on the run to get out number 1. The play was close enough for Gibson to come out and chat with 1st base umpire Ben May to give their crack video surveillance team a shot at determining whether or not to waste anyone’s time with a challenge. It was not to be and soon Montero would face Montero once again. On the first pitch Miggy hit a shot to the warning track in left center but Lagares had a good enough read and jump to flag it down for out the second out. Aaron also hit a pretty good shot to the warning track in right center, but it was a little easier for Lagares to grab and it was 3 down. Montero had gone 6 innings, struck out 10, walked 3, and gave up 1 run on 2 hits on 112 pitches. His best outing of the year so far but due to his pitch count, his day was done.
Wright would lead off the inning for the home team and got a funny hop off the mound causing Chris Owings to fumble the ball a bit. Chris would drop the ball for an error putting David on 1st. A walk to Granderson put the Diamondbacks in the familiar position of having runners on 1st and 2nd again, this time with no outs. Chris Young provided some excitement when he hit a hard liner that would have been a home run had it not been 2 feet left of the foul pole. Eric Chavez would make a tremendous play at 3rd with a grounder that pulled him into the running lane of David Wright. Chavez tagged Wright (who did his best impression of a flying squirrel) then did a pirouette and launched a rocket to Goldie at 1st for the double play. Duda hit a lazy fly ball to Marte in left and that was the end of the 6th inning. Still no change in score, 1-1.
Jeurys Familia (Jerry’s Family? I hear the faint sound of the Seinfeld theme) came out to pitch for the Mets in the 7th inning sporting a 3.42 ERA and a 15/12 K to BB ratio over 20 appearances. Eric Chavez hit a screamer up the right field line that bounced up into the stands for a leadoff double. AJ Pollock grounded to short but made it a very close play at first with his speed (slow motion video showed he was out by a fraction of a second). Chavez was off with the pitch though so he easily made it to 3rd giving the Diamondbacks a chance to take the lead with one out and Alfredo Marte at bat. All he had to do was make soft contact to right or a fly ball to the outfield. But instead Marte’s gonna Marte and he corkscrewed himself into the ground for the strikeout. 2 down. "Like a Ross" came in to bat for Arroyo which makes all the sense in the world since you’ve got a tired bullpen, you’re in the middle of a double header, your pitcher is a veteran with multiple complete games and has thrown only 75 pitches…. So yeah, there’s that. Ross threw his bat at strike 3 but claimed emphatically to home base umpire that he got a part of the ball. Since FSN doesn’t like to show slow replays of all the stuff we really wanna see in slow motion, one can only guess if he did hit the ball. It looked like it might have as it seemed to redirect the ball, but oh well.
Oliver Perez came in to pitch for the Diamondbacks with a 3.44 ERA and an 18/6 K to BB ratio. Ruben Tejada flew out to Pollock in Center for the first out. Centeno chased a slider in the dirt for strike three which led to a toss over to Goldie by Montero for the 2nd out. Right hander Eric Campbell came in to Pinch Hit for the pitcher sporting a .350 AVG with 1 HR and an OBP of .348. Perez managed to hit Campbell on the back foot with a back foot slider. Go figure. So with 2 outs and a runner on 1st Juan Lagares would come up to bat, but Perez dispensed with him fairly easily getting a swinging strike 3 on a pitch that was substantially outside and up. After 7 they were still all tied at 1-1. I know, exciting right?
Left hander Josh Edgin would come in to pitch for the Mets having a 3.86 ERA with 0 K’s and 0 BB’s on the year in 2 1/3 innings of work. Can you say LOOGY? Parra shot one right at Tejada at short for the easy out. With right hander Chris Owings coming up to bat, Terry Collins pulled Josh and put in Valverde. Apparently he didn’t get the memo that there would be a 2nd game either and has gone with the option of trying to go with matchups early in game 1. Valverde was sporting a 4.19 ERA with 23 K’s and 7 BB’s in 19 1/3rd innings. Valverde gonna Valverde I suppose. Owings hit a fairly hard liner to Granderson for the easy out. Goldshmidt then came up with a 1.000 average against Valverde (SSS, 1 HR in 1 AB) in a pretty tight game. Goldie hit a sharp double down the left field line (still perfecto) and they decided to intentionally walk Montero to get the match up against Aaron Hill. Things didn’t go quite as Collins expected as Valverde walked Aaron on 4 straight pitches. So with bases loaded and 2 outs, Eric Chavez came to the plate. Chavez got ahead 2-0 as Valverde had thrown 8 straight balls. A Bronx cheer went up as Valverde let loose a 93 MPH fast ball down Broadway (see what I did there?). Valverde threw another ball putting Eric in the ideal hitters count. When Valverde let loose of another pitch down the middle all Eric could do though was foul it. Eric would also foul the next pitch. Then on the 7th pitch of the at bat Eric would hit it 500 feet. 300 feet straight up in the air and 200 feet deep for a lazy fly ball. Out #3.
Perez came in to work the bottom of the 8th and promptly gave up a single up the middle to Daniel Murphy. David Wright would get a walk giving us yet ANOTHER situation of runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out. Granderson hit a screamer right at Parra but it was enough to advance Murphy to 3rd. With the go ahead run at 3rd, 1 out, and right hander Chris Young at the plate, Gibby pulled Perez for rookie Evan Marshall. Evan was sporting a 0.00 ERA through 8 innings, and really this was probably the only call Gibby could make. During the break Collins switched Chris Young for left handed pinch hitter Bobby Abreu. Marshall walked Abreu on 4 straight pitches bringing up aggressive swinger Duda. Duda once again swung on the 1st pitch and hit it directly to Goldschmidt who threw to Montero at home. Then Montero threw right back to Goldie at 1st to convert the double play and get out of the inning unscathed. After 8 they were still tied up at 1.
AJ Pollock would lead off the 9th and hit a double to right field which landed just out of 40 year old Bobby Abreu’s reach. Ender Inciarte would come in for the pitcher and put down a beautiful bunt to move Pollock over to 3rd with 1 out. Martin Prado would come in to pinch hit but struck out swinging for out number 2. This brought Gerardo Parra up to the plate to try and get a 2 out RBI but the Mets decided to intentionally walk Parra to get to Owings. Four mid 40’s fastballs 10 feet from the plate later and Chris found himself with runners on the corner and 2 outs. Chris hit what should have been a routine play to David Wright at 3rd, but Murphy clanked the catch at 2nd which allowed Pollock to score from 3rd. D-Backs up 2 to 1. Goldschmidt would sky it to Tejada for out 3.
The last chance for the Mets started off with Tejada facing closer Addison Reed. Tejada got down quickly 0-2 and found himself facing a good slider for strike 3. Juan Centeno also fell behind early 0-2 but managed a single between short and 3rd. Wilmer Flores would come in to pinch hit and find the same gap as Centeno between short and 3rd. Lagares would come in with, get this, runners on 1st and 2nd and one out. Color me surprised. Lagares would get called out on strike three. That gave Daniel Murphy a chance to be the hero for the Mets. Addison threw strike 1 over the middle of the plate but it was called a ball for some very unknown reason (I looked at it on mlb pitch tracker.. it was as much as strike as a strike could be). The next pitch would prove to be the game "Ender" (see what I did there). A short fly ball to left field had Ender Inciarte on a dead sprint as he made a shoe top catch for the final out of the game. Had it dropped, that would have given up the game tying and game winning run. Turns out, the difference in this game was the defense of the pinch hitters. Abreu couldn’t get to a fly ball in right, while Inciarte snagged a shoe string blooper.
Comment of the day goes to me. Mostly cause I’m a selfish jerk but also because Bob Brenley asked the same thing 4 innings later and my epic failure at spelling:
If the Dimaondbacks score 6 runs in both game
Do we get 6 free tacos with the order of a large drink?
I’m still waiting for my official answer.
Bells and whistles
[Click to enlarge, at Fangraphs.com]
Christopher Walken: Chris Owings, +42.0%
Billy Joel: Marshall, +25.2%; Arroyo, +20.6%; Reed, +16.6%; Pollock +13.0%
Barbara Streisand: Martin Prado, -19.2%
Zeppo Marx: Alfredo Marte, -17.1%
A broad but shallow pool of comments today, Rockkstarr12 leading the way with 30. hotclaws and onedotfive tied for second on 24, with songbird one further back, so a good day for the ladies of the SnakePit. Also present: AJV19, Clefo, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, RaizAl, TolkienBard, Xipooo, benhat, imstillhungry95, oldspartan, preston.salisbury, shoewizard, txzona and xmet. The Comment of the Day was awarded above by Xipooo, so thanks to him for the guest recap.