Record: 44-65. Pace: 65-97. Change on 2015: -9.
Things nearly got off to an ugly start, when the Brewers greeted Braden Shipley with a lead-off double, which Yasmany Tomas almost caught at the wall, but instead ended up turning into a triple. A good play by Paul Goldschmidt at first held the runner at third for the first out. This was followed by a great one from Chris Owings, who fired home to cutdown the lead runner there. Another ground-ball out allowed Shipley to escape with a zero in the first - it looked extremely unlikely when there was a man on third with no outs.
That kinda set the tone for Shipley’s evening, as he seemed to be weaving in and out of trouble all evening. He had two on in the second, but was helped by having the pitcher’s spot come up. Shipley walked the lead-off man in the third, but a neatly-turned double play, particularly by Jean Segura on the pivot, ended any threat there. He finally ran out of lives in the fourth, as a two-out RBI single got the Brewers on the board. What was weirder was what happened after. That was Orlando Arcia’s first major-league hit, so Segura kindly tossed the ball into the Brewers’ dugout. Unfortunately, it was still a “live” ball, so Arcia ended up getting two bases, courtesy of Jean, moving to third.
Again, however, Shipley was fortunate to be in the National League. The #8 hitter was up, so he was intentionally walked, in order to get to Chase Anderson, who duly obliged with the final out. Braden stranded two more runners in the fifth, then bounced back with an actual 1-2-3 inning in the sixth. This proved a false dawn, however. He gave up a solo home-run to lead off the seventh, and that was the end of Shipley’s night. It was an evening where he struggled badly to locate his pitches, walking six, and against another team, that might have ended up leading to more than two earned runs. He allowed four hits and fanned two.
Meanwhile, the Arizona offense was... Yasmany Tomas. Remember when we were concerned about his apparent lack of power? It was supposed to be his calling-card, but in his first 127 games for the club, he only had nine home-runs. Yasmany seems to be making up for lost time since: Over his last 85 appearances, he now has 21 homers. and is on pace for a 30-HR season at age 25. That’s only been achieved by less than a handful of Diamondbacks his age or younger previously. Paul Goldschmidt was the most recent in 2013, preceded by Justin Upton (2011), Mark Reynolds (2009) and Chris Young (2007).
He certainly seems to have an ability to punish pitching mistakes ruthlessly. His second home-run in particular was a good example, as Chase Anderson missed his spot by several feet. Tomas took it the other way, knocking the ball just over the right-field fence, out of the fielder’s despairing leap. No such doubt about the first one, in the second inning, where he obliterated a change-up to left. The Brewers would have needed Optimus Prime playing left-field to have had any shot at making a play. It was Tomas’s sixth multi-homer game of the season, breaking a tie for the major-league lead with... Mark Trumbo. But, oddly, it was Yasmany’s first such at Chase Field.
There wasn’t much other offense to speak of for Arizona, just three hits through the end of the 10th inning. Michael Bourn had a ground-rule double with two outs in the third. Welington Castillo a two-out single in the fourth, and David Peralta led off the seventh with a single. Indeed, the Diamondbacks had their lead-off man on base in the sixth (a Goldschmidt walk), seventh and eighth (Segura reaching on a dropped third strike), but could do nothing. Their best chance was the last; it looked like Segura had stolen second, but Bourn was bunting. An intentional walk to Goldschmidt put two on, but Jake Lamb and Tomas grounded out.
The D-backs bullpen had one of their better outings for a while. Enrique Burgos looked particularly impressive with his two strikeouts in the eighth, Both sides benefited from some fine outfield defense in the ninth inning. For the home side, David Peralta made a fine leaping grab at the wall to take away a likely triple from Arcia, leading off the top half. However, this was matched in the bottom half, when the Brewers’ Kirk Nieuwenhuis took away extra bases from Welington Castillo with a fine sprawling catch to his right.
Jake Barrett was efficient in a seven-pitch ninth. I wondered if we might see him in the tenth - his spot was left on-deck in the bottom of the ninth - but Chip Hale made the brave decision to go to Daniel Hudson instead. It’s kinda sad that I now find myself holding my breath for Huddy’s outings. Tonight was no different, as he put two on and took 28 pitches to get through the tenth. At least the end result was a zero. Adam Loewen worked the 11th, completing five scoreless innings for the bullpen, in which they faced only two batters over the minimum. They combined to allow two hits and one walk, striking out six.
Former D-back Blaine Boyer came on for Milwaukee, and was greeted rudely by Goldschmidt and Lamb, who both hit solid singles. Tomas couldn’t continue his heroics, striking out, but David Peralta was able to reach, when Arcia was unable to field a chopper up the middle cleanly, loading the bases. That brought up Castillo, who was jackknifed by a pitch he might well have let hit him, before eventually taking ball four low, allowing everyone to trot forward for a walk-off walk. It was the D-backs 8th such in team history, and the first since September 10, 2011, when Lyle Overbay did it, against the Padres and Joe Thatcher. Preston wrote about the others earlier this year.
[Click for details, at Fangraphs.com]
Cerberus, the triple-headed bullpen beast: Hudson, Loewen and Barrett, +13.9% each
Pegasus: Burgos, +10.8%
Cyclops: Chris Owings, -12.7%
Interestingly, Tomas was only +1.5%, despite a pair of go-ahead home-runs. The value of those (+24.1%) was largely undone by his subsequent at-bats. Makakilo led the commenters tonight, ahead of tucsondbacks and makattack71. The others present were: Diamondhacks, GuruB, Indedave, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, MichaelMcD831993, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, PorkMac, Smurf1000, Sprankton, Tepo6688, aricat, asteroid, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, onedotfive and piratedan7. Nothing with more than one rec, so I’m going with Michael’s comment on Twitter instead.
@AZSnakepit If Tomas hits a walkoff HR, I think the Snakepit might break.— Michael McDermott (@MichaelMcD80393) August 6, 2016
We’re back at Chase Field tomorrow night, as Patrick Corbin takes the mound for Arizona, and the D-backs try to win a series. It’s Greinke bobblehead night, and also Pokemon something. I’ll be staying well clear, personally...