It’s A Vibe. Like Daniel Hudson (#slaphands, #pitcherswhorake) before him, Archie Bradley was looking for something to post on Twitter after wins. And with the way the D-backs were playing around midseason, he had a pretty good reason. He settled on #ItsAVibe, sourced from the song by the same name from 2 Chainz. It may just be some silly saying from a rap song on the surface, but this mantra really does fit this team to a T. Never too high, never too low, they are just a bunch of hard working dudes playing a game they love. It just so happens they’re pretty darn good at it.
The Diamondbacks (93-69) faced the Colorado Rockies (87-75) this evening in the NL Wild Card for the rights to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Divisional round of the NL Playoffs. Zack Greinke started for the D-backs and was his usual self early on against the always dangerous Rockies lineup. 15 pitches, 3 grounders for Zack to get back in the dugout.
For the Rockies, they started the young and explosive Jon Gray, who like Greinke, had an excellent season himself and looked to continue that trend for his team. The D-backs had other ideas, with David Peralta singling to center field for the first of many base runners on this night. Ketel Marte matched that single with one of his own, getting runners on the corners and MVP Paul Goldschmidt up to bat. September slump be damned, he launched a hanging curveball into left field for a home run 3-0. The D-backs would not give up that lead for the rest of the night. They tried, oh boy did they try, but it never flipped for the home team.
The D-backs weren’t done. After a J.D. Martinez fly out, Jake Lamb smacked a liner to right for single and A.J. Pollock doubled, moving Lamb to 3rd with only 1 out. But unfortunately the bottom of the lineup couldn’t capitalize, with Daniel Descalso and Jeff Mathis striking out to strand the runners but the damage was done. Greinke was staked to a huge lead early and all the pressure was on Colorado to respond.
Greinke retired the side in order in the 2nd, and in the 3rd allowed a 1-out walk and single before escaping with no damage.
The offense wasn’t content with just a 3-run lead, as Peralta singled with 1 out and Ketel Marte tripled to score him, giving us a 4-0 score. Descalso redeemed himself in the bottom of the 3rd, homering to right for a 2-run home run and giving the D-backs a 6-0 lead heading to the 4th.
Then the seams started to unravel a bit for Greinke and the D-backs. Carlos Gonzalez singled to start off the inning but Nolan Arenado grounded out, erasing CarGo at 2nd. Then the Rockies started their station to station antics, with a single from Trevor Story, Gerardo Parra single, scoring Arenado (6-1). Mark Reynolds squibbed one to Goldy at first for a grounder that scored Story 6-2.
With a chance to end the threat, Greinke threw a fastball on the outside corner that Lucroy smashed to right field, driving home Parra 6-3. That wasn’t it, as pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista singled to center field cutting that massive lead to 6-4. That was unfortunately the end for Zack Greinke, as his ballgame ended with Andrew Chafin replacing him and getting the final out. Was it some BABIP bad luck? Sure, but it wasn’t like the big guns were beating Greinke. He just didn’t get the luck of the draw. Oh well, we’ll see him again I’m sure.
The D-backs wasted a surefire scoring chance in their half of the 4th as Ketel Marte tripled for the 2nd time tonight with 1 out. Goldy grounded out, J.D was intentionally walked, and Jake Lamb popped out to the pitcher for the 3rd out, squandering the opportunity.
With both starting pitchers out of the game, it was time for the bullpen depth to shine, and they definitely did. Robbie Ray came on in the 5th and was lights out, giving up a lone single in his first two innings and Chris Rusin following suit.
The 7th saw Ray allow a leadoff double to Lucroy and a wild pitch before ending his night after striking out Ian Desmond. Blackmon laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Lucroy. Archie Bradley came on in relief and retired LeMahieu to end the inning.
The D-backs responded in just about the most perfect way imaginable in their half of the 7th. Lamb singled again. After a Pollock popup, Descalso took 4 straight balls to bring up Mathis, who struck out. Not wanting to waste Archie after 1 batter, Torey Lovullo let him bat. On a 2-2 pitch, Archie did something no one could’ve imagined.
It’s A Vibe.
The Rockies fought back, with Arenado and Story hitting back to back homers to match the 2-run triple, 8-7 D-backs. A 2-out double from Pat Valaika threatened to tie the game, but Archie induced a line out to Martinez to end the threat.
(Side note: I was playing in a softball game with my phone in my glove checking the score. Most of my team and theirs were doing the same.)
Ketel Marte struck out to lead off the 8th, but Goldy had his back, lining a two strike single to left. J.D. grounded out but beat out the double play, keeping the inning alive. Jake Lamb hit another single and A.J. freakin Pollock tripled into right-center to score both J.D. and Lamb, 10-7 D-backs. After an intentional walk from Descalso, Jeff Mathis finally joined the fun with a bunt single to Holland, scoring A.J. and giving us an 11-7 lead.
For a second I thought we’d miss the Fernando Rodney Experience™ with the game not in a save situation but we were not so lucky. He came on and was actually pretty good. A leadoff single to Desmond preceded two strikeouts of Blackmon and LeMahieu. Cargo singled to score Desmond after two defensive indifference advances and Nolan Arenado grounded out the 2nd, ending the game with our final score 11-8 Diamondbacks.
IT’S A VIBE.
Despite the game being within 1 run multiple times, the Expected Win % never dipped below 68.6%. What a game.
Your MVPs for the night are Ketel Marte (3 for 5, 2 triples, 17.4% WPA) and hitter Archie Bradley (1 for 1, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 16.0% WPA).
LVPs were Zack Greinke (3.2 IP, 4 ER, -5.9% WPA) and J.D. Martinez (0 for 4, 2 Ks, -5.4% WPA).
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Big props to the Colorado Rockies team for never quitting and proving they were just as deserving as the D-backs were to participate in the playoffs. No doubt this was one of the greatest games I had the privilege of spectating. They are a dangerous team and WILL be a thorn in the side of the NL West for a while. Again, thank you Colorado and Purple Row.
With the victory the D-backs head to Chavez Ravine for the start of the Divisional Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. We know Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers, but the real questions will need answers as to whom will pitch for the D-backs come Friday. First pitch on October 6th is scheduled for 7:30pm on TBS. Check AzSnakepit for more insights and news on the upcoming series. We will no doubt have the D-backs content and conversations you are looking for.