Record: 64-90. Pace: 67-95. Change on 2015: -10.
It’s a sad indictment of the 2016 Diamondbacks season that a more compelling and competitive game could be found in the qualifying round for next year’s World Baseball Classic. At the same time the D-backs were rolling over for Baltimore, in Brooklyn, Brazil and Great Britain - two countries more associated with football (and by that, I mean the kind you play with your foot) and cricket - were battling each other to see who would face Israel in the final tomorrow. It easily surpassed this game for excitement and interest.
This was a feeble, late September effort from the Arizona Diamondbacks in just about every conceivable way. It may even have become so bad that Yasmany Tomas was yanked from the game for not hustling to first on a dropped third strike ending the fourth inning. Or he may have been hurt; nobody seems to know at the time of writing. Or maybe they just don’t care. For, elsewhere, Robbie Ray couldn’t make it through four, and the Arizona hitters were shutout by former Diamondback Wade Miley for 8.2 innings. Where to start on this cavalcade of sub-mediocre performances?
Let’s begin with Ray, who didn’t have it tonight. On the broadcast, Bob Brenly was harshly critical of the game-plan attempting to be executed by Ray and catcher Welington Castillo. This appeared to play away from Ray’s strengths, using his fastball to attack the zone, and pound it in on left-handed hitters, relying (too much, according to Brenly) on off-speed stuff and “nibbling”. Certainly, whatever it was, wasn’t working, and that was clear from the first inning. The Orioles got on the board AND also loaded the bases, before Ray managed to retire a batter, on two walks, two singles and a wild pitch. Miraculously, Robbie managed to escape, getting a strikeout and a 1-2-3 double play, but unlike Shelby Miller last night, did not then settle in and deliver a quality outing.
Baltimore scored another run in the second, though that was unearned. It came after Yasmany Tomas kicked the ball around in right-center badly enough for the Orioles’ catcher to reach third, the first of three Arizona errors on the afternoon, Brandon Drury and Jean Segura also contributing. After retiring the side in order for the third inning, the wheels fell off Ray in the fourth, starting with a lead-off home-run. A walk and a double were followed by a two-out intentional walk to get to left-handed slugger Chris Jones, but he scorched the ball back up the middle for a two-run single, chasing Ray from the game. He lasted 3.2 innings, and was charged with five runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks with five K’s. It leaves him needing nine strikeouts in his final outing, next Thursday, to surpass Dan Haren for #8 on the team’s single-season K list.
Meanwhile, Wade Miley was mowing down hitters in a way we very rarely saw in his four seasons with the Diamondbacks. It was the strikeouts which were particularly impressive: Kyle Jensen, Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Welington Castillo all went down twice, and Miley ended up tying a career high with 11 strikeouts. He took a shutout into the ninth, and it was only ended when Drury banged an RBI double off the scoreboard in right field. That was the end of his night, but Wade pitched deeper into this game than he ever went for Arizona, and the Game Score of 77 was one short of the highest Miley achieved as a Diamondback either.
Since it seems to be a weekend for weird things - Miley flirting with a complete-game shutout, Shelby Miller not looking like a dumpster fire - let me complete the rule of threes with this. Dominic Leone has been reasonably good of late. I’ve certainly been a fierce critic of Leone this year, and with very good reason. But his last few starts have actually been pretty decent. He tossed a pair of scoreless innings this evening in Baltimore, though admittedly it took some escapology to get out of the second, after loading the bases with no outs (a nifty double-play certainly helped). But over his last eight games, he has worked 9.1 innings and allowed two earned runs. His K:BB is still far too close to even (6:5), but he hasn’t sucked. And that’s a significant improvement.
Elsewhere, Silvino Bracho worked 1.1 innings and allowed a solo home-run to Mark Trumbo - that’d be #45 on the year for him. Er, Trumbo not Bracho... Matt Koch bounced back after giving up the walk-off last night, with a scoreless eighth frame. On offense, Paul Goldschmidt had half of Arizona’s six hits, and....uh, that ends the positive news for this game, since the D-backs had a K:BB ratio of 11:0. Hale has just addressed the Tomas situation, albeit largely by refusing to comment.
"That's between he and I. It's a personal thing. Yas played his tail off all year for us. He's one of the guys on this team I really love."— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) September 25, 2016
[Click for details, at Fangraphs.com]
Express lane checkout: Dominic Leone, +0.4%
Trolley with a wonky wheel: Robbie Ray, -23.7%
Unsurprisingly quiet in the Gameday Thread, particularly once Robbie Ray left the game. Present were AzDbackfanInDc, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Indedave, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, Oldenschoole, Re Tired, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, makattack71 and onedotfive, and nothing got more than two recs, so this game gets the Comment of the Thread it deserves, i.e. none at all.
Braden Shipley starts for the Diamondbacks tomorrow, as they try to avoid a road-sweep. It’s an early start, with a 10:35am first pitch, so bring your own caffeinated beverages. Me, I’m off to watch Team GB try desperately to cling onto a 3-2 lead with six outs to get against Brazil, having repelled a tsunami of base-runners over the last couple of frames. The British bullpen did a pretty good impression of the D-backs in the opening game against Israel, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better things here...