Record: 41-26. Pace: 99-63. Change on 2016: +12.
Arizona wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, putting up a two-spot in the opening frame, just as they did last night. Gregor Blanco led the game off with a hit and ended up standing on third-base, though let’s just say that Justin Upton nifty dummy on the play in left-field, would have fooled many an MLS soccer defender. Blanco came home to score on a David Peralta sacrifice fly, and after hits by Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings, Brandon Drury doubled the lead with an RBI single. However, trying to score from second, Owings was thrown out at home by quite some margin, on what appeared an ill-advised send by third-base coach Tony Perezchica.
D-backs Nation held its collective breath in the first inning, as Taijuan Walker took the mound in a game for the first time in almost a month - no rehab assignment apparently needed. After a one-out walk, hearts went in mouths, as Walker pitched... without actually delivering the ball, breaking off his motion half-way through. A balk was called, and a meeting at the mound quickly followed between all interested parties. However, there did not appear to be any particular health issue, and Walker got out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout.
Walker worked a clean second, but his streak of consecutive batters retired was ended as seven, as two-time Arizona Diamondbacks’ draft-pick Ian Kinsler doubled with two outs in the third. An RBI single got the Tigers on the board, and they threatened to tie the game in both the fourth and fifth. The situations were identical: Detroit had men on second and third with two outs. But Walker got a pair of big outs to end the threat. He was expected to be on a pitch limit of 75, but ended up going a little longer than that (82 pitches) to get through the fifth inning. His final line was one run on six hits and a walk with six K’s. Hopefully, there will be no ill-effects.
After getting to Jordan Zimmermann very nicely in the first inning, he seemed to settle down. From then on, Arizona sent the minimum to the plate up until Jake Lamb’s leadoff single in the seventh inning. The D-backs’ only other base-runner was Chris Herrmann’s single to start the second, and he was erased on an inning-ending double-play. Between those two, 14 Diamondbacks in a row were retired, and Zimmermann ended up throwing eight effective innings, with four of the six hits Arizona managed coming in the first frame. By that point, things on our end had been nervously turned over to the D-backs bullpen...
Randall Delgado, freshly demoted from the rotation to make room for Walker, was first up, taking over in the sixth. I guess it made sense to have a “tandem starter” for the game, in case Walker needed a quick hook. But Delgado almost immediately triggered his June quota for sweaty palms: the first batter faced launched one that the ballpark just held. With two outs, Kinsler then yanked a ball with home-run distance, before drifting foul. And in the eighth, some nifty defensive footwork by Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury helped avert a two-on with one out situation, as Randall successfully negotiated his way through the treacherous shoals for three scoreless innings.
The D-backs did get another base-runner in the top of the ninth, with a one-out walk to Goldschmidt. But he was erased on another double-play. The Arizona offense ended the day having left only two men on base, and had just one at-bat with a runner in scoring position, Drury’s RBI single in the first. Fortunately, the Tigers had only one hit with RISP too, despite significantly more chances (6). That brought Fernando Rodney in for another one-run save, and he delivered his most dominant performance in Sedona Red, striking out Justin Upton, Nick Castellanos and Andrew Romine for his 18th save, to set up a happy flight tonight.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Karma Chameleon: Randall Delgado, +34.1%
It's a Miracle: Taijuan Walker +19.5% and Fernando Rodney +20.4%
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me: Nick Ahmed, -7.0%
Again, the Fangraph appears to have stopped early, in the top of the eighth inning, but I trust you can fill in the blanks thereafter. Thanks to everyone who showed up in the Gameday Thread. That would be: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BenSharp, DORRITO, Diamondhacks, GuruB, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Joey Lewis, Justin27, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, PaulGoldsmith, Rcastillo, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, ford.williams.10, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7 and smartplays. Nothing Sedona Red, but comment of the thread to onedotfive:
With the Rockies teetering on the verge victory, and the Dodgers in a tie with Cleveland, the D-backs can hop on a flight to Philadelphia, where they begin a series after tomorrow’s off-day. Patrick Corbin gets the start in Friday night’s opener, and remember, it will be another East coast start time, at 4:05pm Arizona time.