Record 7-5. Pace: 94-68. Change on 2016: +3.
For full disclosure: I did not watch a single pitch of tonight’s game. I went out with Mrs. Snakepit for a nice dinner at Haus Murphy’s in Glendale, and then on to watch a play put on by a local amateur group, in which our son was performing. I am therefore likely more able to give an informed opinion about the paprika schnitzel (tasty, though should perhaps have been warmer) or SnakePit Jr’s acting talents (sold, though the character seemed, to a large extent, to be playing himself) than tonight’s game. However, between the Gameday Thread, reports elsewhere, and the “highlights” (quotes used advisedly)... Yeah, I think I had the better night. #SorryNotSorry
Let’s start with the positives. Nick Ahmed had himself a career night, driving in all four Diamondbacks runs, giving him his first four-RBI game. He notched his first home-run of the season in the second inning, a three-run shot that scored Jake Lamb and Daniel Descalso, then singled home Brandon Drury in the fourh. Both hits came off the Los Angeles starter, Kenta Maeda, who lasted only four innings. When you dispose of the opposing pitcher that quickly, and your guy delivers a quality start, you would generally think your team has a fairly good chance of winning. We also got a scoreless inning of relief from Jorge De La Rosa, and J.J. Hoover struck out both batters he faced.
Now, for the bad... [If you can imagine a roll of toilet paper bouncing away down the street, that would probably be helpful] It began in the bottom of the first, where the Dodgers greeted Patrick Corbin by going double, single, double, and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0 to Los Angeles with one out recorded. After Ahmed had given Arizona the lead, it lasted only two batters into the bottom of the second, as Corbin allowed a game-tying solo home-run. He did work a scoreless third, but Ahmed handed his run back, as his error put the lead-off man aboard, and he came round to score; Corbin then left the bases loaded.
But it was the fifth inning that Arizona really hurt. First, the top half saw Jeremy Hazelbaker TOOTBLAN, on an ill-advised attempt to go first to third, on a ball that didn’t leave the infield. Then, with two outs in the bottom half and men on first and third for Los Angeles, the runner on first took off. Chris Herrmann, behind the plate, faked a throw to second, then fired the ball to third, where the man there had broken for home. However, the throw there pinged off the back of the Dodgers’ runner, arcing into shallow left-field, allowing him to scurry home with the go-ahead run, giving Los Angeles a lead they would never relinquish.
Corbin did work through six innings, being surprisingly efficient, taking only 95 pitches. And it was, technically, a quality start: three earned runs allowed. But nine hits and three walks is an awful lot in that time, and he struck out only as many as he walked. Indeed, the same is true for the season, with Corbin’s K:BB 7:7 in 16 innings. If that keeps up, his ERA isn’t going to remain under three - it’s currently 2.81 - for very long. The unearned runs, coming off two more Arizona errors to add to their league-leading tally, are also mounting up. True, the Dodgers made more tonight (3); however, they didn’t cause any real damage, such as the tying and go-ahead runs allowed by ours.
The offense really didn’t threaten, doing a very poor job of work against the Dodgers’ bullpen. Over their five innings, the D-backs managed only one hit (a Paul Goldschmidt single in the seventh) and no walks, with seven strikeouts. The K:BB ratio on this end tonight was 12:1, bringing the overall tally on this road-trip to 50:10, a 28% K-rate as the batters racked up their sixth consecutive game being held to four runs or less. That’ll happen when you only have four at-bats with runners in scoring position. David Peralta went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and is now batting below the Uecker Line for the season (.195).
The D-backs had some hope, with it still at least being a one-run game after Hoover fanned Joc Pederson and Yasmany Grandal in the bottom of the eighth. Torey Lovullo then turned to Fernando Rodney for the final out, to get him some work - unfortunately, it took Rodney five attempts before he could actually retire a batter. That included a three-run homer of particular irritation, to the Puig, which left Rodney sporting a shiny ERA of 12.46. I suppose we should be glad this particular meltdown did not come in a save situation, but I suspect I’m not the only person who basically has zero confidence in our closer at this point.
After that, Descalso, Ahmed and Herrmann went down swinging in the ninth, and the D-backs had lost their fourth in the past five, and dropped out of first place in the NL West, thanks to the Rockies victory. On the plus side, if you’d said on Opening Day we’d be 7-5 at this point, I would still have taken it - it’s still a better record than the World Series champion Cubs. However, all the goodwill engendered by the 6-1 start has basically evaporated. Now, if we come home from this road-trip above .500, that would still feel like something of a success.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Howards End: Nick Ahmed, +34.6%
Bridget Jones's Baby: Patrick Corbin, -34.4%
Nanny McPhee: Rodney, -13.2%; Peralta, -12.1%
Thanks to those braver souls than I, who stuck it out. Present were: Anachronistic1, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BIGredmc, Cumulus Choir, Diamondhacks, FormerlyChelsea75, GuruB, Hazzard21, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Juvi Juice, Keegan Thompson, Lozenge, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Xerostomia, aldma, asteroid, blue_bulldog, catbat, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, kamshing, makattack71, shoewizard, smartplays, soco, thunderpumpkin87 and tommyt_16. Comment of the Night to Keegan, for his thoughts on the day being celebrated:
Same two teams tomorrow, with Taijuan Walker facing Rich “The Blister” Hill. First pitch just after 1pm, so be there or... Well, be somewhere else. It worked out for me quite nicely this evening, so who am I to criticize?