Record: 9-12. Pace: 69-93. Change on last season: -6.
This ended up being almost a polar opposite to last night’s game. Instead of everything going wrong, everything went oh-so-right. The offense clicked, the pitching was solid, we cashed in on a few breaks that went our way, and the result was significantly different (and better). Ten runs, on just eight hits, and only two hits for the opposition: you just can’t ask for much better than that.
The Diamondbacks started doing damage right from the get-go. In the first, Lopez walked and Ojeda reached on a little base hit to right. A passed ball moved them over to second and third, and Tracy smacked a ball to right that bounced over the fence in the pool area, driving them both in. Reynolds reached on a bunt attempt that went a little too far, but Lee was unable to do anything with it. A Byrnes groundout scored Tracy from third, and we found ourselves with a quick 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Doug Davis was dealing. He gave up a hit and a walk in the first, but that was the only hit the Cubs would get until there was one out in the seventh. He struck out the side in the second with a variety of 82-mph scorchers and big, looping curve balls, and was in control for the majority of his start (DD in control? Wha?).
After giving Davis just six runs of support in his first four starts, the Diamondbacks continued to come through in spades today. Tracy led off the third by smashing a home run into the right-field seats to extend the lead.
In between, the teams traded zeroes through the middle innings. But the seventh was a microcosm for today’s results. In the top half, Davis was brought back out with 102 pitches, and gave up a base hit with one out. Melvin let the leash hang loose for one more batter, and Double D promptly responded with a double play to get out of the inning, and back into the dugout with a standing ovation.
Meanwhile, in the bottom half, the wheels came completely off for the Cubs. It was fun to live through, but the batter-by-batter results do far more justice than I could ever explain:
Bottom 7th: Arizona
- R. Roberts hit for D. Davis
- R. Roberts walked
- C. Marmol relieved R. Dempster
- F. Lopez walked, R. Roberts to second
- A. Ojeda sacrificed to catcher, R. Roberts to third, F. Lopez to second
- C. Tracy intentionally walked
- M. Reynolds walked, R. Roberts scored, F. Lopez to third, C. Tracy to second
- C. Jackson hit for E. Byrnes
- C. Jackson walked, F. Lopez scored, C. Tracy to third, M. Reynolds to second
- J. Samardzija relieved C. Marmol
- C. Young struck out swinging
- J. Upton doubled to deep right, C. Tracy, C. Jackson and M. Reynolds scored
- C. Snyder struck out swinging
5 runs, 1 hits (!), 0 errors
One hits. Tee hee. Anyway, it should be noted that Marmol’s final contribution was particularly embarrassing: just a third of an inning pitched (and that out was an Ojeda sac bunt), 4 ER, 4 BB. CY’s strikeout was disappointing with one out, but Upton unloaded the bases in a hurry with his huge double.
But the humiliation didn’t stop there. In the eighth, Clark pinch hit and struck out (he has K’d in half of his at-bats this season, BUT HE HAS TWO HOME RUNS), and Lopez whiffed behind him. But with two outs, Kevin Gregg deteriorated into a whiny wimp on the mound. He walked Ojeda. Tracy laced a base hit into center. He walked Reynolds. He walked CoJack (his second RBI bases-loaded walk). Finally he was removed, with a few choice words for the home-plate umpire, and Patton finished striking out the side by blowing past Young.
With Davis out of the game, Tony Pena was already slotted to work the eighth, so despite the large margin, he came in and worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Gutierrez worked around a walk in the ninth for an easy inning as well. And suddenly that was that: a second series win, a winning (barely) homestand, and our first double-digit scoring game of the season.
Awfully good-looking fangraph there. Unsurprisingly, with his 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K line, Davis is the star of today's game. Tracy did most of the early damage at the plate, so he gets the benefit of the doubt on the offensive side (all the runs in the seventh did virtually nothing to the win expectancy). It's a little strange to see Upton (2-4, 3 RBI) tied with Byrnes (0-3, SB, RBI, K) and Young (0-4, 2 K), but that's tied to Upton stranding runners in his first two at-bats with the outcome still in doubt.
For the Diamondbacks, it was a walk parade: 10 in total, which was two more walks than hits. Lopez went hitless but walked twice; Ojeda had a hit and a walk; Tracy reached four times, being a triple short of the cycle and adding a walk; Reynolds had a hit and two BBs; Upton had two hits; and Jackson's line might have been the best of all: 0-0, 1 R, 2 RBI. The pitchers were documented above, but with a shutout, it doesn't take much imagination to figure they all threw the ball well.
For the Cubs, only Reed Johnson reached twice: a walk and a hit-by-pitch. On their pitching side, the adventures of Marmol's aid have already been chronicled above. Dempster started and didn't pitch well, including giving up a leadoff walk in the disastrous seventh. Gregg's line wasn't much better looking than Marmol's: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. About the only plus side for Chicago was Jeff Samardzija and David Patton striking out three of the four batters they faced collectively, without giving up any runs.
Busy GameDay Thread: Nearly 1,000 comments, and a wide variety of people showed up and had decent outputs. Unsurprisingly, Skins (270) and kishi (150) led the way. Present and accounted for were Pyromnc, Azreous, DbacksSkins, chem, sb24ws2005, kishi, 4 Corners Fan, unnamedDBacksfan, hotclaws, luckycc, John Connor, jaydubsped, Turambar, Jim McLennan, venomfan, dtpollitt, mrssoco, ol Pete, snakecharmer, IHateSouthBend, NewJackCity, TwinnerA, AJforAZ, Wimb, emilylovesthedbacks, Muu, Bcawz, Lisalisa8, frightenedinmate#2 and Snake Bitten.
Looking ahead, for the first time this season, the Diamondbacks have a game on Thursday: the opener in a four-game set against the Brewers in Milwaukee. It's Max Scherzer against our old buddy Jeff Suppan in that 5:05 start. With a win, the Diamondbacks could finish April just two games under .500, which seems remarkable considering the journey it's taken to get to this point.
[Audio Update] Post-game comments from Melvin, amongst other things explaining the decision to replace Byrnes with Jackson, and also from Doug Davis on the joy of run-support, and Chad Tracy discusses the importance of getting ahead early. Couple of minor points to repeat, that may have got buried in the Gameday Thread: this was the biggest shutout of the Cubs in Arizona franchise history, and the biggest for the D-backs in almost three years [13-0 over Atlanta on May 20, 2006]. It was also the worst shutout inflicted on the Cubs in nearly six seasons, since the Pirates posted the same score on them, on May 26, 2003.
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620