Record: 40-56. Pace: 68-94. Change on 2013/2010: -10/+3.
So, the numbers say that Arizona is a better offensive team than San Francisco. The Diamondbacks have scored 7 more runs, have the 13th best batting average in the league to the Giants' 25th best, get on base at a slightly better rate, and even out-slug St. Buster and his pals. That last one became a much closer stat today, as the Giants' battery mates each managed a grand slam in a game that went from a pitchers' duel to a laugher in two short innings.
The top of the first looked like classic Diamondbacks baseball: get ‘em on, get' em over, get ‘em thrown out on the base paths. Ender Inciarte started things off with a single to left. Looking good, especially when Martin Prado walked up and singled to right. This wouldn't be Arizona unless some guy thought he was faster than he actually is, and got thrown out running the bases. So, Inciarte obliged by getting thrown out at third. One on, one out. Paul Goldschmidt wasn't able to move Prado over, going down swinging. Prado tried to pick up his teammate, moving over on a wild pitch during Mark Trumbo's at bat. But this is Mark Trumbo, remember? He also went down swinging.
Vidal Nuno didn't start out badly in his second Arizona start, managing to get through the bottom of the first with no damage. Every batter he faced put the ball in play, but only Pablo Sandoval was able to reach safely. The inning came to an end with Sandoval still on first, and Posey lining one to Trumbo for the third out.
Neither team could get much going until the top of the third. After Nick Ahmed got on with a single, Nuno sacrificed him over the second. Considering Inciarte's baserunning gaffes this game, it was only a good thing when he flied out to center. Prado came up and got his second hit in his second at-bat, scoring Ahmed from second. Goldy would end the inning with a fielder's choice, but at least Arizona was ahead.
It wasn't the hitting that would let Arizona down today. We had atrocious defending, horrible baserunning and the long ball to thank for that one. Historic long balls, in fact. When Brandon Crawford struck out swinging to start the bottom of the fifth, it would be the last frustration the near-capacity crowd suffered. Madison Bumgarner came to the plate to much discussion of his dog Snotrocket. (Yes, the Giants' broadcasting crew thinks that name needs to be repeated over and over and over again. And you thought Grace was bad.) He smacked a double to the deep part of left field. Hunter Pence became the second baserunner when he was hit by a pitch. Gregor Blanco gave Arizona fans some hope by flying out. Then came Panda, whom I didn't even recognize since he's become only a partial Panda these days. Maybe that weight loss is a good thing, huh? I can't imagine the huge Panda getting an infield single to load the bases. This Panda did, though. Bringing up St. Buster, who made the game a mere formality by depositing the second pitch he saw over the left field wall. Michael Morse struck out swinging, but the damage was done.
It was the top of the sixth, but it felt like a replay of the first. Horrible baserunning. Just horrible. Inciarte's single to center was followed by Prado's single to right. With the best player on the team in the batter's box and no one out, Inciarte thought it would be a grand time to steal third. He was promptly thrown out. Prado took the opportunity to take second. After originally being ruled out, the umps rightfully reversed the call because Sandoval literally tackled Prado off the base. And, yet, Bruce Bochy argued the reversal. Knock yourself out, Bochy. It's not like it mattered, anyway. San Francisco's 4-1 lead would remain, as Goldschmidt lined out and Trumbo grounded out.
Did I mention repeats of bad innings? Um, yeah. Pitching and defense were repeatedly awful, too. Matt Stites, the lone remaining player from our IPK "haul", came in to relieve Nuno. Joaquin Arias tried to hit a single, but Inciarte and Trumbo decided to kick it around the outfield, allowing Arias to reach second on the Inciarte error. Ehire Adrianza thought that being gifted a base or two looked like fun. His pop-up to short was promptly dropped by Ahmed. What was a young pitcher like Stites to do when his "defense" was playing Little League? Try to strike everyone out, of course, which always goes well for a young guy. Or not...
Brandon Crawford worked the count full before drawing the walk. Bases loaded. Again. I think I've heard this one before. This time, it would be the other member of the battery up with the bags juiced. The pitcher wouldn't hit a grand slam, would he? Well, he might, since he's already hit one this season. And he did. 8-1 Giants. The Giants' battery became the first such pair to hit grand slams in a single game in Major League history. So, we were part of that.
Stites was able to get Pence out swinging, but that was the sum total of his success. After walking Gregor Blanco, Stites was lifted in favor of Evan Marshall. Marshall thought he'd get in on the fun by giving up a single to Sandoval. Followed by a walk to Morse to load ‘em up again. Thankfully, Arias took pity on us by lining out to center field. The damage? Four runs, three hits, two errors, one forgettable game, zero fun.
Bumgarner was allowed to return to the mound after his grand slam inning, which allowed Arizona to exact some manner of revenge. Aaron Hill's single was followed by a Cody Ross homer, getting two of the eight runs back. Hey, it was still only the top of the seventh, right? After inducing the ground out from Tuffy Gosewich, Bumgarner gave up a single to Ahmed. Nick Evans scored Ahmed with a double to left, forcing Bumgarner out of the game and closing the score to 8-4. Javier Lopez was finally brought in to get Inciarte out. Juan Gutierrez did the same to Prado.
Neither team would do any more scoring. The pain of the first half was over for Arizona fans. We can now watch Goldy be an All Star, and wonder who else gets shipped out in the second half of the season. Will Prado still be a Diamondback by season's end? If not, the Upton fans will be angrier than angry. And the Kevin Towers defenders will have to listen, although I am sure they will attempt a defense. If only the team on the field could mount some kind of defense...
263 comments from 19 participants in the thread, about what I'd expect with the World Cup Final on, and the last string of our first half being played out. JoeCB1991, GuruB and SongBird were the most active, along with AJV19, AzDbackfanInDc, GODSCHMIDT, Hazzard21, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, SenSurround, blank_38, cheese1213, freeland1787, hotclaws, onedotfive, preston.salisbury amd xmet. James Attwood takes home the last Comment of the Day for the first half, with this bit of sarcasm.
But hey, don't forget
with just a little bit of health and maybe a key pick-up, this team is a playoff contender next year.
The contributor formerly known as TolkienBard.
All-Star festivities get under way tomorrow - actually, with the Futures Game today , I guess they already are - with the Home-Run derby. We'll be chatting about that and other stuff until your regularly scheduled D-backs activity resumes next Friday, so stick around...