Record: 12-7. Pace: 102-60. Change on 2016: +2.
We headed out for dinner at J.J.’s Grill on Camelback to take in the early innings of this one. Good place: friendly staff, more than happy to adjust the TV so we could watch the game, and the food was solid. We had the nachos, and I had the Lei’d Burger, which came with pepper bacon strips and a slice of pineapple. [Don’t @ me...] Mrs. S had the fish and chips. Little short on the draft beer front, but I found a nice Lagunitas that was worth a couple of pints. Think we stumbled into happy hour pricing, because it was barely $30 for the two of us. We’ll be back.
However, the Dodgers had rudely not bothered to wait for us to get seated before they had started scoring, the very first batter of the game swatting a full-count pitch from Robbie Ray into the left-field bleachers. But after falling behind 2-0 in the first inning last night, that seemed like little more than a mild inconvenience. So it proved, as David Peralta doubled with one out, and Jake Lamb gave the D-backs the lead, with his fourth home-run of the year. Yasmany Tomas followed immediately with his third bomb, and the D-backs were 3-1 up. The natural order of balance in the universe had been restored.
Robbie Ray allowed the Dodgers to pull a run back in the third, but the Diamondbacks restored the lead and then some, with long-ball action in the fourth and fifth. First, Chris Herrmann delivered a two-run homer of this own, and Tomas added his second, for his first multi-homer game this year. That made it 6-2 to Arizona after five, and my decision to bench Kenta Maeda in fantasy (I will strenuously avoid any reason to cheer against the D-backs) looked like genius. Ray wasn’t exactly cruising, but was doing reasonably well - particularly abusing Corey Seager, who showed why Dave Roberts made him the only left-hander in the line-up, going 0-for-3 with three K’s against Ray.
Then the sixth inning happened, and the Diamondbacks teetered on the edge of an implosion not dissimilar to the one suffered by the Dodgers in the eighth inning last night. Ray allowed back-to-back singles opening the frame, got a strikeout, but then an RBI double singled the end of his night. He went 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and two walks with six strikeouts. With the tying run at the plate, I was a bit surprised to see Torey Lovullo turn to the low-leverage Tom Wilhelmsen. So it turned out, as he retired one of three batters faced - though in Wilhelmsen’s defense, he wasn’t helped by Chris Owings inexplicably allowing Adrian Gonzalez to leg out an infield RBI single.
With the bases still loaded, Lovullo went to J.J. Hoover. He didn’t help matters, walking the first batter faced on four pitches, bringing in another run. The comfortable lead had evaporated, with the score 6-5, and the tying run now standing on third-base. But after Justin Turner, the man with the second ugliest haircut on the Dodgers’ roster, worked the count full, Hoover struck him out, and the D-backs held onto their lead. Hoover and Jorge De La Rosa then worked a scoreless seventh, despite JJ repeating his early yips there too, walking the first batter he faced on four pitches again. And that was the Puig, who pretty much swings at aircraft coming in to land at Sky Harbor.
It looked like this was going to be a nervous last couple of innings, probably climaxing - if that’s the appropriate word - in another Fernando Rodney Experience. However, we had not taken into account the generosity of the Los Angeles bullpen, who allowed Arizona to score five more runs over their last two turns up. Another Peralta double and Paul Goldschmidt walk, were followed by an embarrassing error, to load the bases. Tomas then completed his fine night’s work, with his own bases-load walk, and Owings added a two-RBI single. De La Rosa had a perfect eighth, before Goldschmidt completed the scoring with a two-run single.
Fernando Rodney came in for some work in a non-save situation, and remarkably, didn’t suck, facing the minimum with the help of a game-ending double-play from the Puig. #WarmFuzzies. Peralta led the offense on the night with a franchise-record four doubles tonight; the fourth is above. A.J. Pollock, Tomas and Owings got two hits apiece, with Goldie reaching base twice, on a hit and a walk. The ‘BEAT LA!” chants were loud and proud at Chase Field tonight, as the team won their seventh straight game there, the best run since 2012. The 8-1 record at home is also their best start at home ever, and it’s the most runs scored in back-to-back games over LA since 2000.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
The Shining: Jake Lamb, +19.1%
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Tomas, +17.1%; De La Rosa, +13.0%
Anger Management: Paul Goldschmidt -7.0%
Thanks to you all for playing nicely in the GDT. :) Present were AZSunDevilP, Augdogs, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Diamondhacks, GuruB, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, JoeyLewis, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Mr Butterworth, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Smurf1000, SongBird, The poster formerly known as Zephon, The so-called Beautiful, TylerO, Xerostomia, aldma, asteroid, hotclaws, kamshing, makattack71, nolanriley13, onedotfive, pcmonk, shoewizard and smartplays. Comment of the night is a tie between Jackwriter and AzDbackfanInDC for their replies to Keegan’s question, shown below.
Keegan, I’ll see you in the SnakePit office at 9am on Monday morning. We have some matters of SnakePit policy we need to go over. :)
The Rockies won, demolishing the Giants, so we remain one-half game back in the NL West, though our run differential is still the best in the league, and far superior to Colorado’s (+26 to +2). The Giants are now 6-12, and have their ace out of action, likely for two months. Fun fact: no team in the wild-card era has reached the post-season after a 6-12 start. We may be able to stick a fork in the Giants by the end of April, which would be just lovely.
Tomorrow, we go for the sweep over Los Angeles, with Shelby Miller taking the mound for us. More 99 mph fastballs? We’ll see. 1:10pm start for that