As Jim mentioned in the Game Preview, we've had the opportunity this season to see many sides of Rubby de la Rosa. This game summed up well his season. Ineffective and wild to start but did well to fight through 5 innings of 2-run ball.
Rubby was wild early on, giving up a double to Yunel Escobar, back to back walks to Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper, and then back to back sacrifice flies from Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. With his 29th pitch of the inning, Danny Espinosa would fly out to left for the 3rd out.
But for how much Rubby struggled in the 1st, he settled down and was solid afterwards. Giving up just a bloop single to Rendon in the 3rd inning, and a walk to Escobar in the 5th. Despite the lack of threat from the Nationals, Rubby ran his pitch count up and left after 5 innings. His final line was 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3BB's and 3K's over 101 pitches.
With an early lead, Gio Gonzalez went to work and scooted around trouble in every inning. A 2-out single for Paul Goldschmidt ended his 0 for 15 skid, and he stole 2nd immediately to put a runner in scoring position. But it was for naught as Welington Castillo struck out.
The 2nd again had the Dbacks threatening, with a leadoff walk from Aaron Hill and a sharp single off the bat of Yasmany Tomas. But Gio bore down and lit the back end of the Dbacks lineup up, getting strikeouts from Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Rubby de la Rosa to end the threat.
The 3rd had the Dbacks again finding early success against Gio but unable to finish the job. Ender Inciarte singled but A.J Pollock switched places with him after a groundout for the 1st out. But Goldy and Castillo singled with 1 out to load the bases and Aaron Hill finally delivered, hitting a flyball to center to score Pollock and make things 2-1. Although that would be the end of things, as Tomas struck out.
The 4th for the Dbacks was a quick one, as the went down in order but the 5th was eventful. Pollock singled with 1-out and Goldy followed that up with a single of his own. Chip Hale called for a beautiful double steal that was executed perfectly as Pollock beat the throw at 3rd. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, we were sure to get the lead right? Wrong. Castillo and Hill both struck out to end things.
The 6th saw the end of Gio Gonzalez after he allowed a leadoff single to Tomas and the flood gates for the offense exploded. Aaron Barrett entered and Owings greeted him to the game with a single up the middle. Nick Ahmed bunted beautifully to 3rd and with Escobar covering 3rd, Barrett overthrew Zimmerman at 1st and allowed Tomas and Owings to score with Ahmed reaching 3rd and giving the Dbacks a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish. Jarrod Saltalamacchia came on as a pinch hitter and hit a broken bat single to score Ahmed and make things 4-2 with still 0 outs. Inciarte popped out to 3rd for the 1st out but Pollock singled and that was it for Barrett as he was pulled for Tanner Roark. Goldy lined out to right for the 2nd out but Roark lost control as he walked both Castillo and Hill to gift the Dbacks a run 5-2. Tomas would strike out to end the inning.
Things were silent for both teams as the Nationals and Dbacks bullpens did a solid job limiting things until the 8th, when Nationals lefty reliever Matt Thornton allowed a leadoff triple to Inciarte. A Pollock line out followed, but Goldy would unintentionally intentionally walk to put runners on the corners with Welington Castillo up. He decided to bring the beef with a 3-run blast to centerfield and make things 8-2.
The 9th followed the same plan for the offense against hard throwing Felipe Rivero. Owings was HBP, Pennington singled, and Inciarte had an 8 pitch at-bat before singling. A balk would score the Dbacks 9th run of the game. Pollock beat out a grounder to 3rd for the 10th run and after Tyler Moore replaced Rivero, Goldy grounded out for the 11th run.
The bullpen was solid in relief of de la Rosa, going 4 innings and only allowing a rogue 2 run homer to Michael A. Taylor in the 9th with the game already out of reach. Those that pitched included, David Hernandez, Addison Reed, Oliver Perez and the suddenly struggling Daniel Hudson.
Definitely a weird game. Struggles early for both the pitchers and hitters but things righted themselves later on as the Matt Williams bumbled his bullpen management. Aren't we glad we let him go?
The Good - Nick Ahmed (+23.5%), Literally everyone
The Bad - Rubby de la Rosa (-5.5% batting, -1.4% pitching)
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Early game on a Wednesday usually mean trouble for attendance but I think the length of this game inflated some of the numbers. AzDbackFaninDC was our comment of the thread with his awful prediction skills. Skip on the lottery ticket this week.
Come back tomorrow for the series finale.