Record: 34-25. Pace: 93-69. Change on 2016: +9.
This was an annoying loss, because it was one where the outcome could have been different, “if only” one of a number of things had gone the other way. Specifically, if only...
- ... Braden Shipley’s hard smash down the third-base line in the second inning, with men on second + third and one out, had got past the infield.
- ... Paul Goldschmidt had started a double-play, rather than throwing wide of second
- ... Goldschmidt’s double had been a little straighter.
- ... Archie Bradley had been able to retire A.J. Ellis on pitches one through thirteen of the at-bat.
At least the no-hit streak didn’t continue very deep into this afternoon’s game. Precisely zero batters and three pitches, in fact, as Daniel Descalso doubled to lead off the top of the first inning. One out later, Paul Goldschmidt knocked to left-center, and the D-backs had a one-run lead. Braden Shipley, called up to make a spot start because Taijuan Walker’s blister issue still hadn’t quite resolved itself, worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, and things were looking good for the Diamondbacks. Then the second inning happened...
There’s no doubt that Torey Lovullo would be one of the front-runners for NL Manager of the Year, if the season ended today. A team that virtually nobody outside Arizona expected to make the post-season, has the sixth-best record in the major-leagues. But Lovullo’s golden touch has turned a bit gold-plate over the weekend. Sending Zack Godley down might have worked out, had Walker been able, as originally intended, to start today. But we got literally no benefit from that move at all, as reliever Silvino Bracho, called up as an extra bullpen arm, did not appear in a single game before being sent down to make way for Shipley. And Shipley’s second MLB start this year didn’t go much better than his first.
Admittedly, he wasn’t helped by the Arizona defense, a rare Paul Goldschmidt error factoring significantly into a three-run second inning for the Marlins. After a clean first inning, Braden walked the leadoff man in the second, and then got a ground-ball to Goldschmidt which could well have emptied the bags. However, Paul’s throw sailed way to the outfield side of second, and everyone was safe. Inevitably, the next batter hit what would have been a solo home-run, but was instead a three-run shot, and Miami had jumped out to a 3-1 lead at the end of the second. Shipley was fortunate to escape, getting Giancarlo Stanton to ground out firmly, with two in scoring position.
Fortunately, the Marlins’ starter, Vance Worley, was also spot-starting and doing not much better than Shipley. The teams traded runs in the third, with the D-backs getting an RBI groundout off the bat of Chris Owings, but the Marlins answering with a sac fly in their half. And Arizona then took the lead with a three-run fourth. After Shipley had grounded out hard to third, with men on second and third, for the second time today, Descalso came through with a two-run double. He then traded place with Goldschmidt, who came back from 0-2 down, to smack a full-count pitch off the wall in center for an RBI double. Eight inches to the right, and it would have been a two-run homer.
With an off-day tomorrow, I was a bit surprised to see Shipley bat for himself in the top of the fifth, with two out and Rey Fuentes (who had three hits today - I clearly must write diss previews more often) on first. Braden couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom half, a lead-off double to Stanton coming around to tie the game. He then loaded the bases on catcher interference - like many. a call initially missed badly by home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley - and a pair of walks. But he got the benefit of a very high Danley strike three to escape. Shipley was done after five. He was charged with five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.
The Marlins bullpen proved to be a great deal more effective than their starting pitcher. In fact, they tossed a total of 5.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks, while striking out seven. The last hit managed by the Diamondbacks was the one by Fuentes with two outs in the fifth inning. We didn’t get anyone past first-base the rest of the way. The only base-runners thereafter were Goldschmidt, who reached on an error with two outs in the sixth, only to be caught stealing, and Chris Iannetta, who walked with two outs in the seventh. Descalso and Goldschmidt had two hits apiece: together with Fuentes, they accounts for seven of Arizona’s eight hits.
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen was just not quite good enough. Jorge De La Rosa, Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin combining to allow five hits and a walk over three innings. There was only one run allowed, and it came in the seventh, when Bradley was unable to put away A.J. Ellis. The hitter fouled off 10 pitches, clocked as fast as 100 mph, eight of them with two strikes, before finally floating the 14th pitch of the at-bat into left center for the go-ahead RBI single. It was the first time any D-backs pitcher had ever allowed an RBI after the thirteenth pitch of a plate appearance, and proved the deciding margin as the last seven D-backs’ hitters were retired.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Maleficent: Rey Fuentes, +17.8%
Wanted: Goldschmidt, +14.8%, Descalso, +10.2%
Cyborg 2: Braden Shipley, -32.4%
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life: Herrmann, -17.6%; Bradley, -13.0%; Owings, -10.0%
Those present in the Gameday Thread were: BigSmarty, Diamondhacks, EphBoston, GuruB, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Joey Lewis, Keegan Thompson, Michael Hahn, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Renin, SongBird, TylerO, Xerostomia, asteroid, blue_bulldog, catbat, hotclaws, kilnborn, noblevillain, onedotfive, since_98, smartplays, thunderpumpkin87 and winger49, so thanks to them. Comment of the thread to Michael [it would be Sedona Red if I refreshed, but I trying to get out the door to see Wonder Woman, so bear with me there!]
An off-day tomorrow as the team returns from their longest road-trip since 2010. A series against the Padres starts on Tuesday, and we’ll be hoping that the D-backs can continue their excellent form at Chase Field.