Record: 36-25. Pace: 96-66. Change on 2016: +10.
If you wanted an advertisement for everything wrong with pace of play in modern baseball, then tonight’s game would probably have been your ideal poster child. At three hours and 48 minutes, it was the longest regulation game at Chase of the season, and tied with the 6-3 win in Washington for the longest regulation game anywhere by the D-backs. 3-2 counts, endless pickoffs, nine pitching changes and an average of 21.3 pitches per inning all helped. Even given this was a game we won, it seemed strangely tedious.
The mood of the Gameday Thread did not start out happy, as the Padres took their first lead of the series. Yangervis Solarte homered with one out in the first inning. It wasn’t a bad pitch by Zack Greinke: it was an 0-2 count, but was well out of the zone, and Solarte got down and got it, pulling it down the line to right field. It reminded me a bit of the home-run Greinke allowed to Gregory Polanco of the Pirates, ending his no-hit attempt - a pitch which really should not have been hittable, never mind going out of the park. Greinke’s reaction reflected this.
Still, it was only one run. The problem was, it was soon joined on the board by another San Diego tally. This one came largely courtesy of David Peralta, who managed to get himself all turned around in right-field and ended up waving forlornly at a well-hit fly-ball as it went over his head. What should have been an out, ending the third inning, instead turned into a two-out triple, and one which immediately came home to score on an RBI single. With the D-backs being held entirely hitless the first time through the order, the irritability in the GDT comment was both palpable and increasing.
But after the first two Diamondbacks made outs in the bottom of the third, things then turned around extremely quickly. Despite having the bases empty, Arizona scored five runs in the space of just 24 pitches from Luis Perdomo, without making an out. It began with walks to David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt. On the latter,, the Padres’ catcher inexplicably threw the ball down to second-base: I say “inexplicably”, both because it was ball four, and because there was nobody at all covering second. Peralta ended up at third-base, but it didn’t matter much in the larger scheme of things, because Jake Lamb immediately happened, for the 15th time this season (below).
Chris Owings legged out an infield single, and Brandon Drury then utterly obliterated a baseball (above), getting his fifth home-run of the season, on to the concourse just to the left of the batters’ eye. I don’t think I’ve seen him hit a ball harder. That was all the runs Arizona would need on the night, although they added two more in the seventh on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Nobody had more than one hit for Arizona, but they had more walks (8) than hits (7) - the first time they’ve done that in a game they’ve won, since July 27, 2015. They also took advantage of four San Diego wild pitches and stole three bases, including their 10th double-steal of the season.
Zack Greinke was not at his best. Despite the early homer and the run gifted to the Padres by Peralta, he was actually fairly efficient, getting the first eight outs on only 27 pitches. But then... I wouldn’t quite say the wheels fell off the Greinkemobile, but it did appear to be stuck in the mud and making some unpleasant grinding sounds. The remaining seven outs took Zack 75 pitches, and he had to work through a procession of San Diego base-runners. He left two in scoring position in the fourth, and the fifth started double, RBI single. With one out, a walk put the tying run on base, before Greinke finished strong, ending his night with back-to-back K’s.
His final line was three runs over five innings, on seven hits and a walk with eight strikeouts - but a total of 102 pitches. It was tied with Zack’s outings on April 2 and April 14 for his shortest of the season. However, he was significantly BABIP’d to death, the Padres going 6-for-13 on balls in play. The Arizona bullpen pieced things together from there, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Not so hot were J.J. Hoover, who had to be bailed out of the sixth by Andrew Chafin, and Jorge De La Rosa, who allowed a run on three hits in the eighth. But Archie Bradley fanned two in his perfect seventh inning, and Fernando Rodney worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save.
The win kept the Diamondbacks up alongside the Rockies, who crushed Cleveland earlier, and the Dodgers, who edged the Nationals 2-1 in a day game. Arizona remains tied with Los Angeles, and two back of the Rockies. The Fangraph appears to have got stuck in the bottom of the eighth - I think whoever works these things probably got bored and went to bed. But I don’t think it will have changed much after that point, so I’ll include it for your interest.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Taken: Jake Lamb, +30.5%
Schindler's List: Brandon Drury, +17.7%
Clash of the Titans: Daniel Descalso, -11.7%
I think the Fangraph operator wasn’t the only one. as it was a relatively quiet Gameday Thread. Present were: Anachronistic1, AzRattler, BenSharp, BigSmarty, BobDolio, GuruB, I suppose I'm a Pessimist, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Joey Lewis, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, SongBird, asteroid, catbat, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7, since_98 and smartplays. Comment of the night to BobDolio, for accurately summing up the entire pace of play problem. If only the commissioner had stuck around to see this one...
It’s a day baseball game tomorrow, with a 12:40pm start at Chase Field, as the D-backs go for the sweep. Patrick Corbin is the starting pitcher for Arizona.