Record: 50-72. Pace: 66-96. Change on 2015: -11.
Jean Segura singled to lead off the game again - the 39th time the D-backs’ first batter has got a hit (all of them by Segura), which trails only the Cubs in the National League (41). But it was interesting to contrast the relatively static approach taken by the D-backs early tonight, to the “run and gun” offense they have shown of late. Over the three games against the Mets and the opener here, they stole eight bags in nine attempts. And Segura got on base to lead off, not just the first, but also the fifth and the seventh innings. Yet the D-backs were very conservative, at least initially; Segura didn’t advance at all in the first or fifth. The seventh? We’ll get to that.
The teams traded single runs in the second inning. In the top half, Yasmany Tomas led off with a double, then a Welington Castillo single put men on the corners. After Mitch Haniger struck out, Chris Owings put the ball into the hole at short and legged out an RBI infield hit. This lead proved short-lived, as San Diego quickly leveled things back up, getting a one-out double, immediately followed by an RBI single, which tied the game at one. Both Zack Grienke and Jarred Cosart then settled down, and neither side allowed another run through the end of the sixth - Michael Bourn helped with a couple of good defensive plays.
Cosart’s reputation for wildness didn’t seem too accurate tonight, though he was fairly inefficient, and took 106 pitches to get through 5.2 innings. Grienke was much more efficient, needing barely 80 through six. The most interesting inning was probably the bottom of the fourth, where a towering fly-ball seemed to flummox Tomas in right-center, who got to the right spot by the wall, only to miss the ball, flapping at it with his glove, and turn it into a double. The look on Grienke’s face when that happened was not one of tolerant forgiveness, shall we say. Fortunately, the runner was then caught stealing third, albeit a decision which needed to survive a Padres’ appeal.
The teams then traded single runs again in the seventh. As mentioned above, Segura got his third hit of the night to lead off. He was then bunted to second by Bourn, and the inevitable walk to Paul Goldschmigt followed, as the Padres brought in a left-handed reliever to face Jake Lamb. The D-backs’ previous conservative approach on the base-paths evaporated, as Segura and Bourn pulled off a double-steal, and Derek Norris’s throw down to third was barely in the same zip-code. It sailed into left-field, allowing Segura to score and Goldie to reach third. Lamb popped up meekly, and after a walk to Tomas, Castillo fouled out to end the threat, but Arizona had a 2-1 lead.
This lasted no longer than the first one. Back-to-back singles from San Diego put runners on the corners with no outs, and a sacrifice fly brought he home team level again. Another single brought Chip Hale out for a chat with Grienke, but Zack apparently won the argument, and that decision proved a correct one, as coaxed a double-play ball out of the Padres’ speedy lead-off hitter to end the threat, without further damage. That was the end of his night: Grienke worked seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. It was a solid rebound after his struggles last time, even though he did seem to have problems throwing anything but his fastball consistently for a strike.
With the game tied again, it once more came down to a battle of the bullpens, but Arizona had one last chance to put Zack in line for a win. Haniger walked to put the go-ahead run on base... And was promptly picked off. Welcome to the bigs, kid. Unimpressed Chip Hale was unimpressed. However, Chris Owings got on base for the fourth time with another walk - he had previously had two hits and another walk - and pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks Jr lined a ball into left-field for a double to put men on second and third. Segura then flipped a 1-0 pitch into shallow right-field for his fourth hit of the evening, a two-run single that made the score 4-2 for the Diamondbacks.
But just as in the second, and the seventh, the lead didn’t last. Enrique Burgos was the battered bastard of the bullpen this evening. He got two strikeouts, but also gave up a double and a two-run homer to Ryan Schimpf, which tied the game up once more. In Burgos’s defense, it wasn’t a bad pitch, a splitter down and out of the zone, that the hitter went and golfed out to left-center. But it was another blown save for the bullpen, the 15th of the season for the Diamondbacks, and the second in consecutive nights for Burgos. Randall Delgado and Steve Hathaway combined for a scoreless ninth, and we were on to extra innings. In a game not scheduled to start until 7:45p, #ThankPadres.
The Diamondbacks wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 10th. With one out, Phil Gosselin came off the bench to single, and Jean Segura got his fifth hit of the night behind him. [Segura is now hitting .320 for the year, a figure only reached by Goldie (2015) and Gonzo (1999 and 2001) among qualifying D-backs hitters] They then took off for another double steal, but Michael Bourn waved at a pitch in the dirt, and after yet another obvious intentional walk to Goldschmidt loaded the bases, the horrible slump made flesh which is Jake Lamb also struck out swinging, leaving him 0-for-6 on the night.
Arizona sent out Patrick Corbin for the 10th, and at least that resulted in the end not being dragged out any further. After getting a ground-out, Corbin went walk, single, three-run walk off homer, the last also surrendered to Schimpf. The D-backs bullpen ended the night with this communal line:
Bullpen: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR
Since the All-Star break, covering 32 games and 113 innings, the Arizona bullpen ERA is now 7.09, having allowed 89 earned runs and 24 homers. It would be the worst second-half ERA for any relief corps since the 1930 Phillies.
[Click for details, at Fangraphs.com]
Usain Bolt: Jean Segura, +61.0%
Simone Biles: Gosselin, +19.8%; Weeks, +18.1%; Owings, +12.6%; Hathaway, +12.2%
Ryan Lochte: Patrick Corbin, -37.9%
James Feigen: Burgos, -36.4%; Lamb, -35.5%; Bourn, -34.3%; Haniger, -10.5%
In case you’re interested, Schimpf ended up at +73.5%. Segura’s figure is the third highest in a loss ever by a D-back. The record-holder is Goldy’s +67.1%, last August 18 against Pittsburgh. Just a dozen hardy souls in the GDT for this one: well, the Cardinals were playing a pre-season game, also in San Diego, so whaddya expect? Those brave people were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, MichaelMcD831993, MrMrrbi, Xerostomia, asteroid, hotclaws and noblevillain. Nothing got more than one rec, so no Comment of the Thread.
We’ll try to do...less awful tomorrow night, which at least begins at the more civilized hour of 5:40pm. Robbie Ray starts for the Diamondbacks.