Record: 21-16. Pace: 92-70. Change on 2016: +4.
It didn’t take long for the Pirates to surpass last night’s offensive output. Four batters in fact, as a lead-off single was followed by a two-out RBI double that Yasmany Tomas’s dive just failed to corral. And when I say, “just failed to corral,” I am speaking with as much sarcasm as it is possible for a British person to muster. Seriously, this season we have already seem so many startlingly inept outfield plays, I am beginning to think they deserve a special category of their own in the ‘Pitties. The last time I saw such a misplaced dive... [REMEMBER TO PUT SOMETHING WITTY IN HERE BEFORE PUBLISHING]. I’ll just refer you to the picture below. Hey, at least Tomas got up this time...
The D-backs vaguely threatened in the first couple of attempts, with a pair of two-out baserunners. But Paul Goldschmidt was out by a surprisingly far distance as he tried to steal second, ending the fiurst, and Jake Lamb was stranded on third at the end of the second. But this was almost a throwback game: a throwback to the earlier games in this season, where the Diamondbacks’ hitters struggled the first time through the order, only to dismantle opposition pitchers the second and third time they see them. Here: we were 1-for-6 with two walks the first time through. The second? 6-for-9. The third? 5-for-9.
It was Chris Iannetta who got things going, with a monstrous bomb half way up the batter’s eye in center, his third on the season. Estimates had it at 441 feet, and it certainly seemed to shake up the Pirates’ starter. He immediately walked Patrick Corbin, and then unraveled completed, as the D-backs collectively hit for the cycle before an out was recorded. A.J. Pollock had an RBI triple to the gap in left-center, David Peralta doubled him home then stole third, and Paul Goldschmidt had an RBI single. Jake Lamb added a single, and one out later, Brandon Drury completed the rout with a three-run homer to left, his third. Eight men to the plate; seven scored.
Despite now being 7-1 down, the Pirates briefly threatened to make a game of it, with a two-run homer off Corbin in the top of the fourth. However, the D-backs got those runs back, and then some, adding four more in their half. Lamb had a two-run single, with Tomas and Chris Owings adding RBI hits. All told, in the third and fourth innings, the D-backs sent 19 men to the plate - Iannetta had three at-bats! - and went 12-for-18 with a walk, and 11 runs scored. Corbin did allow another run in the top of the fifth, but got through six innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks, with three K’s. Not exactly a no-hitter, but good enough on the night, Patrick.
Chris Iannetta is currently at a local hospital receiving treatment after he was hit in the face with a fastball tonight. pic.twitter.com/bWCjRgnusH— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) May 13, 2017
There was a nasty moment in the seventh, again involving Iannetta. Leading off, he took a 93 mph fastball from the appropriately-named Barbato to the face - somewhere around the upper lip/nose area. He went straight down, and you could immediately see blood seeping out. The trainers rushed out, and to everyone’s relief, our catcher eventually got back to his feet, and made it off the park under his own steam. He was up and walking around in the clubhouse, but to be safe, is being examined at a local hospital. It appears his lip took the brunt of the damage, but it could very easily have been much worse.
Yes, it’s the Pirates, pulling this same shit yet again. We barely see them a handful of times a year, but hardly a season goes by without them instigating some kind of incident. They’ve been doing this at least since April 2013, when they broke Aaron Hill’s hand. In August 2014, they broke Goldschmidt’s hand. And last May, Jean Segura and Nick Ahmed were hit above the shoulders, in the same game, by the same goddamn reliever, Arquimedes Caminero. Now this. Since the start of 2014, the Pirates have hit 25 more batters than any other team. Does MLB want a beanball war? Because perpetually allowing the Pirates to get away with this nonsense, and doing nothing about it, is exactly how you GET a beanball war.
While I don’t want it, I’d have absolutely no complaints if we hit someone tomorrow. Because it’s apparently the only way the Pirates are ever going to suffer consequences for a persistently reckless and dangerous pitching style. MLB’s utter failure, just as we saw with the Orioles-Red Sox series, to police the game adequately and protect the players, means there is really no alternative to this vigilante form of justice. [Though if it was Buster Posey who got hit in the face, I’m sure the rules would rapidly be changed.] Torey Lovullo was clearly livid: “I think the pitch got away from their pitcher,” said his lips - his expression, however, told an extremely different story.
The rest of the game played out, as it did. We got scoreless innings from J.J. Hoover, Andrew Chafin and Tom Wilhelmsen. Drury came up in the ninth inning, needing a triple for the cycle, but flew out to left field. Still, he was one of a trio of D-backs with three-hit nights, alongside Peralta and Lamb, on a night where every Arizona starter had at least one hit, by the end of the fourth inning. It pushed the D-backs back to five wins above .500, and with the Rockies losing to the Dodgers in Coors Field, moved us two games back of them for the lead in the NL West.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Getting medieval: A.J. Pollock, +14.3%
A pair of pliers and a blow torch: Iannetta, +11.0%; Drury, +10.9%
Pride only hurts, it never helps: Chris Owings, -3,5%
Thanks to the evenly-spread GDT tonight: only one comment separated Songbird, shoewizard, GuruB and blue_bulldog. The full roll-call was: AzRattler, BIGredmc, BenSharp, Cumulus Choir, DORRITO, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Incomplete Translation, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, JoeyLewis, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, SongBird, Xipooo, aldma, asteroid, bbtng, blue_bulldog, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, kilnborn and shoewizard. Comment of the night to kilnborn.
Tomorrow sees Taijuan Walker take the mound for the D-backs, and you should probably ready the popcorn, just in case. 5:10pm first pitch for that.