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Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 3: The defense rests

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On a night when the bats were quiet, sound fundamental baseball was necessary. Unfortunately, Arizona didn’t get it.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 62-85. Pace: 68-94. Change on 2015: -8

On the plus side, I guess Zack Greinke did not allow a franchise-tying five home-run to the Dodgers, like he did when he faced them in Los Angeles. He certainly pitched a great deal better, with his off-speed stuff looking particularly impressive. But it wasn’t enough, on a night where some key defensive gaffes proved costly, and the offense went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The game started badly, with a lead-off double to LA on the very first pitch of the game. The runner then advanced to third on a wild pitch by Zack, though that proved irrelevant. A fly-ball was floated down into the right-field corner, which Yasmany Tomas not only failed to catch, he appeared to be playing Pokemon Go, and by the time he had chased the ball down in the corner, Justin Turner (not a man noted for speed, with six triples in eight MLB seasons) was standing on third. Another defensive blunder, this one a passed ball by Welington Castillo, brought him home, and the Dodgers were two up with only one batter retired.

After a walk, Greinke got a double-play to escape the inning, and was certainly better thereafter. The only other damage incurred came in the fourth, when he had put two men on with one out. Howie Kendrick grounded to Chris Owings at short, who flipped the ball to Jean Segura for the first out, but Josh Reddick was barreling down on Segura, who ended up hurrying his throw and yanking it to the right of Paul Goldschmidt at first base, into the Dodgers’ dugout. Jean would have been better off tucking the ball in his pocket, but instead the runner got to trot home from third and another unearned run was added to the D-backs tally for the year. That’s now 65, already 20% more (+11) than the whole of last season.

Grienke worked through six innings without further issue, and ended the night with a line of three runs (but only one earned), on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts. The Diamondbacks bullpen was solid thereafter. Steve Hathaway, Randall Delgado, Edwin Escobar and Jake Barrett combining for four innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one hit, with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. The Dodgers managed only one hit with runners in scoring position all night, that being Turner’s RBI triple in the first, and I’d say with a competent outfielder, say David Peralta (or, possibly even David Peralta’s bobblehead), they’d have been hitless. In fairness, I do have to say, both Tomas and Segura did make decent defensive plays after their errors, but I’d rather they’d made them instead of the mistakes...

Unfortunately, that’s what the Diamondbacks were, leaving 11 men on base compared to the Dodgers’ five. Their first chance came in the second inning when a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Mitch Haniger did get Arizona on the board, with a soft chopper to short that got one run home, but Greinke was unable to help himself at the plate, though hit the ball a decent distance for a pitcher into left-center. Arizona also had the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, again courtesy of Los Angeles wildness (they walked seven all told). Rickie Weeks Jr came off the bench to pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot, but his PH appearance went as well as the previous ten - he hasn’t had an actual pinch-hit since August 22, and is now hitting .170 in the role this year.

There was a slight flurry of excitement in the ninth, as Chris Owings banged a one-out triple to the wall in left-center. Paul Goldschmidt then gave one a good ride into the Chase Field air, but it ended up dying at the warning track for a sacrifice fly. There would be no late-inning heroics this evening for Jake Lamb, as he grounded out, representing the tying run. The defeat did not just end our modest four-game winning streak, it also formally eliminated the 2016 Arizona Diamondbacks from post-season contention. Yeah, I thought that had happened around the All-Star break, personally.

Welington Castillo got two walks and a single, as did Brandon Drury, and Haniger got a pair of walks, as Arizona actually outhit Los Angeles 6-5, while also getting more doubles, triples and walks. Baseball is like that sometimes The best thing to happen tonight was probably the successful fundraiser for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, with the Fox Sports Arizona broadcast selling out of their charity packages, and raising a total of a quarter million dollars. So something good did come out of this one, even if it ended our hopes of post-season play. Arizona did, however, survive marginally longer on Playoff Island than Oakland and San Diego, both also eliminated tonight.

[Click for details, at fangraphs.com]
Ninja Warrior: Welington Castillo, +12.2%
American Idol: Paul Goldschmidt, -18.9%
The Batchelor: Weeks, -15.4%; Tomas, -12.2%

MichaelMcD831993 led the Gameday Thread, ahead of Diamondhacks and asteroid. Others present were: AzRattler, DbacKid, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Oldenschoole, SongBird, coldblueAZ, gamepass, hotclaws, makattack71, onedotfive and preston.salisbury. Comment of the night goes to SongBird:

I liked it when Segura was hitting multiple HRs per game

Can we have that back? Bring back Rockies pitching!

by SongBird on Sep 16, 2016 | 8:33 PM reply rec (2) flag actions

Tomorrow night, with the series even at a game apiece, it’s a 5:10pm start, and the Diamondbacks will see if Shelby Miller, having actually not lost last time (mostly thanks to the team scoring 12 runs), can progress further and actually win a game. Please keep the poor guest recapper who will be writing about this one in your thoughts. I’ll probably be at the supermarket or something.