Record: 28-37. Pace: 70-92. Change on 2013/2010/2004: -8/+2/+2
Todays rubber match starred rookie sensation Chase Anderson taking the mound for the Diamondbacks with a 4-0 record (3.32 ERA) and veteran Aaron Harang who started the day with a 4-4 record (3.24 ERA). The Waldo family showed up to the game and were treated to a Diamondbacks win 6-5 featuring some late inning fireworks from both offenses.
Chase Anderson would get off to a good start getting the first 3 batters out in order. Chase's counterpart Harang would issue a walk to Paul Goldschmidt after getting Parra and Owings to pop up to center. Later Paul would steal 2nd on a 2-2 pitch to Montero. Harang then walked Montero just 2 pitches later giving red hot Prado a chance to jump to an early lead. Unfortunately a bullet back up the center was snagged by Tommy La Stella for the 3rd out.
Anderson would get Justin Upton to ground out to short, followed by outfield flies by Chris Johnson, and La Stella. Hill would lead off the bottom half of the 2nd inning with a fly to center. Rookie David Peralta grounded to 2nd, and Cody Ross would hit a deep fly to the glove of Heyward in right center.
Chase would give up his first hit to .234 AVG hitting Gerald Laird after striking out Andrelton Simmons. This brought up pitcher Aaron Harang who couldn't drop down the sacrifice bunt. It's somewhat doubtful that a positive outcome would have occurred had he been successful in the first place. Laird and Harang are not the Upton brothers when it comes to speed. This would bring hot hitting Jason Heyward to the plate, but the best Heyward could do was a grounder to Hill for out number 3.
Chase would lead off the bottom of the 3rd inning by grounding right back to the pitcher, while Parra could do no better and flied out to Justin Upton in left. Chris Owings would follow with another dribbler back to the pitcher for out number 3 making the least active fielding crew on the Braves, responsible for 2 of the 3 outs in the inning.
BJ Upton would strike out on a changeup down and inside. Freddie Freeman would put a charge into the first pitch of his at bat, but Bazooka G was able to flag it down right at the warning track. JUp would get a 4 pitch walk, which was the first of the day for Chase, but it looked somewhat intentional as nothing really was near the plate. This brought slumping Chris Johnson up who could do no better than a strikeout for the 3rd out.
Goldschmidt started the home half of the inning with the 3rd walk of the game for the Diamondbacks. Montero would get his own walk on 4 pitches, giving the home team the best chance up to that point to put a score up on the board. However a double play by Prado and Aaron Hill's continuing struggles at the plate would lead to another blanked inning.
LA STELLAAAAA!!!! grounded to 2nd for out number 1. Simmons managed to reach 1st despite a nice play and jump throw by Aaron Hill to make it close on a ball back up the middle. The spectacular defensive plays wouldn't stop there though. Laird hit a hard grounder just fair up the left field line. Prado leapt for the snag and landed face first into foul territory where he would throw from his knees over to 1st for the 2nd out of the game. It was probably the best defensive play for Prado all season. Harang couldn't do much to get Simmons in either as he would strikeout for the 3rd out to finish the top half of the inning.
David Peralta would get his first hit of the game giving him the DBacks record for the most consecutive games with a hit for a rookie at 7. Cody Ross worked a 4 pitch walk giving the DBacks their second 2 on, no out opportunity in a row. Pitcher Chase Anderson put down a perfect bunt right between the charging then retreating 3rd baseman Chris Johnson, and the pitcher. Since the shortstop Simmons was running to cover 2nd and Chris Johnson was running back to cover 3rd, there was no one to fill the gap.
This turned out to be Chase Anderson's first big league hit, and it came at a great time. With bases loaded and Bazooka G up at the plate, things looked bright. But all hopes were quickly dashed when on the first pitch Parra grounded right back to the mound. With a throw back to home plate and a quick toss to 1st, it was a tidy double play that got the leadoff runner. All hope was not lost for the Diamondbacks however, as Chris Owings would still have a chance with 2 runners still in scoring position at 2nd and 3rd. Unfortunately it was not to be as Owings would go down swinging on some very bad pitches.
Jayson Heyward would lead off the 6th inning with a ground out to the pitcher. BJ Upton would work to a full count, but ultimately strikeout looking at a perfectly placed fastball on the outside corner. Struggling Freddie Freeman showed some patience at the plate and got a single back up the middle on a 3-1 pitch right over the heart of the plate. With a runner at 1st Justin Upton's bat would strike the first blood of the game. On a first pitch fastball down and in Justin deposited it into the Diamondbacks bullpen to give the Braves an 0-2 lead. Chase Anderson would get Johnson to strike out for the 3rd out, but the damage had been done.
Paul Goldschmidt led off the inning with a strikeout, Montero would follow suit with his own strikeout, and Prado would fly to Heyward for out number 3. This left the Braves firmly in control after 6.
La Stella would get a swinging bunt up the first base line but Chase made a good athletic play and underhand tossed over to Goldie for out #1. Andrelton Simmons hit a lazy fly to center for Peralta and the second out. Laird managed to find the gap in right center for a nice double which prompted a visit to the mound. But Harang would strikeout to end the top half of the inning.
Aaron Hill led off the bottom of the inning with a single up the middle, and this brought up David Peralta. Peralta didn't waste any time swinging at the first pitch which was absolutely clobbered for his first major league home run to right center, tying the game at 2. Cody Ross followed up with a walk and was lifted for pinch running Ender Inciarte. That would end the night for Aaron Harang. He would finish his outing with a line of 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 earned runs, 6 walks and 4 strikeouts on 109 pitches.
Ailing Eric Chavez would come in to pinch hit for Chase Anderson ending his day 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. The switch would pay off with another walk issued to Chaves putting runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs once again. Not wanting to injure his prized veteran, but also not wanting to waste anyone off the bench, Gibson swapped Chavez for starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Gerardo Parra would drop down a good sacrifice bunt to move both runners. With hot hitting shortstop Chris Owings at the plate the Braves would bring in David Hale to try to work out of the inning, but it was not to be.
Owings laced a single between short and 3rd. Both Inciarte and Arroyo would come around to score giving the DBacks the lead 4-2, but the fireworks did not stop there. Goldschmidt would launch a no doubt 2 run home run in the very next at bat increasing the lead to 6-2. Don't forget your free tacos tomorrow. Miguel Montero came a foot short of hitting another home run in the inning when he scalded one to the fence in right field for a stand up double. This would bring Prado up who despite being up 4 runs still proved to be the most unselfish player on the team. Prado grounded to the right side of the field advancing Miggy on to 3rd. Aaron Hill could not capitalize though and grounded into the 3rd out of the inning.
Joe Thatcher would come in to pitch for the D-Backs and a lefty on lefty matchup against Jason Heyward. Thatcher would manage to strike out Heyward and BJ Upton could do no better as he would also strikeout for out number 2. Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot to left center bringing the score up to 6-3, and ending Joe Thatchers day. Evan Marshall replaced Thatcher to face Justin Upton. Upton battled at the plate and managed to get a walk. Chris Johnson followed that up with a single to right field putting runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 out.
Tommy La Stella followed with his own single allowing Upton to score and some angst among the D-Backs fans who have become used to seeing other teams win on their turf. Andrelton Simmons now up to bat and runners on the corner would get the walk on a borderline pitch loading the bases. So now with bases loaded and 2 outs, Laird would end the excitement with a swinging strikeout leaving the score at 6-4.
Alex Wood came in to pitch for the Braves in the bottom half of the 8th and got Peralta to ground out to 2nd for the first out. However he wouldn't be so lucky with Inciarte who had come in to pinch hit for Cody Ross back in the 6th. Inciarte would hit one right back at Wood but Wood had trouble snaring it. Instead Wood threw a bullet at the feet of Inciarte over at 1st and that allowed Inciarte to advance all the way to 3rd with only 1 out. Nick Evans would come in to hit for Evan Marshall but just strike out for out number 2. Parra grounded to short to end the inning still with the lead 6-4.
Brad Ziegler would come in to close out the 9th allowing pinch hitter Ramino Pena to hit a solo shot to the pool causing me to wonder if Addison Reed decided to swap jerseys and pitch underhanded. Luckily for the D-Backs that's when the bleeding finally stopped. Jason Heyward's last chance to keep the 11 game hitting streak alive ended on a grounder to Aaron Hill for out number 1. BJ Upton would follow with a grounder to short for the second out, and Ziegler would get Freddie Freeman to strike out swining to finish the game.
Overall it was a fun game with a good pitching duel to start, and some late inning fireworks to please the crowd. Chase got his 5th win of the season increasing his chances of a permanent position in the rotation. Comment of the Day goes to the cheeky bastard, ruler of all things Snakepit, and our Overlord Jim McLennan for this beauty after Goldie hit the 2 run home run to make it 6-2:
I go with
Bells and whistles
[Click to enlarge, at Fangraphs.com]
Top Gun: David Peralta, +34.2%
Rain Man: Ross, +11.6%; Goldschmidt, +11.4%
Cocktail: Gerardo Parra, -23.4%
Days of Thunder: Martin Prado, -18.5%
Bumper Gameday Thread, over 700 comments, with 30 different people there. JoeCB1991 led the way, ahead of DbacksSkins and SenSurround. Also taking part in the festivities: AJV19, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Circa4life, Clefo, DeadmanG, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jim McLennan, LUKEthe1st, Majabe, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, SebSwo, SongBird, TolkienBard, benhat, blank_38, cheese1213, globaldistrust, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, makattack71, onedotfive, preston.salisbury, txzona and xmet.
The Astros come to town tomorrow for a short, two-game set. Like us, they started off the season really badly, but have turned things around of late, and are playing better than their current record would indicate. Should be an interesting series.