Did you ever hear the tragedy of Braden Shipley the Prospect? I thought not. It's not a story Keith Law would tell you. It's a legend. Braden Shipley was a Prospect of the D-backs, so powerful and so wise he could use the Force to influence pitches to create strikeouts... He had such a knowledge of pitching that he could even keep the ones he cared about from walking. The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural. He became so powerful... the only thing he was afraid of was losing his power, which eventually, of course, he did. Unfortunately, he faced the Nationals, and the Nationals destroyed him. Ironic, he could save others from striking out, but not himself.
Earlier today, the D-backs rewarded Jeremy Hazelbaker for his first home run of the season with a demotion to Reno to bring up Braden for today’s start. He had been fairly successful in Reno this season, but his peripherals weren’t the greatest. Still, it’s coming to the point where Shipley needs MLB innings in order to improve and see what the D-backs actually have in this aging prospect. Today’s performance did nothing to show confidence in Shipley as a starting pitcher going forward.
The 1st inning was quiet for both teams, with 2 strikeouts for the D-backs and 1 for the Nationals. The Nats pounced on Shipley in the 2nd, with Ryan Zimmerman drawing a leadoff walk. Daniel Murphy and Michael Taylor followed with singles to load things up with just 1 out. Shipley induced an infield-fly to grab the 2nd out with Max Scherzer up to bat. Of course, Scherzer dribbled a ball just to the left of Shipley, who struggled with it and let the first run of the game come across the board 1-0 Nationals.
The 3rd was more of the same for Shipley, walking the bases loaded before a Rendon double scored two more runs, giving the Nationals a 3-0 lead. Michael Taylor walked on 4 pitches to load things up again, but Shipley induced a double play to hold the Nationals to a pair of runs.
The D-backs and Nationals struggled over the next couple of innings, with Braden Shipley leaving after an inflated pitch count due to 6 walks. He finished with a line of 4 IP, 3 runs on 5 hits and 2 strikeouts. Yikes.
Randall Delgado come on in relief and was his normal shaky self, flirting with disaster in each of his 3 innings. But somehow he struggle-bussed through with scoreless innings despite allowing a runner in scoring position each time.
Jake Lamb had enough. He was tired of watching the Nationals have all the fun and crushed a first-pitch fastball to CF for a home run, cutting the lead to 3-1. Unfortunately no one else was fired up, and the D-backs went down in order. Stopping the rally before it even started.
The 8th saw the Nationals play some small ball, grabbing a run from a single, walk and stolen base from Trea Turner to put him on 3rd with 1 out. Chris Heisey of course pushed the run across with a grounder to give the Nationals another insurance run, 4-1.
Goldschmidt had enough too, so he hit a home run against Joe Blanton to give us our final score of 4-2.
Onto the GameGraph, which is as boring as the Star Wars prequels.
Empire Strikes Back - Jake Lamb (+11.5%)
Force Awakens - Randall Delgado (+7.6%)
The Prequels - Braden Shipley (-15.0%)
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Not a bad turnout for a morning game, with 30 users chipping in for 420 comments. Comment of the thread is this one, which is about as believable as the prequels.
Not a bad series with the Nationals, as they had chances in each of the 3 games to win. Still, we’ll need a solid showing in Colorado if we want to keep pace. First pitch is scheduled at 5:40pm. May the Force be with you!