Record: 51-31. Pace: 101-61. Change on 2016: +15.
Greinke improved his record at home to 8-0 and earned his 10th overall victory for the season. David Peralta produced 2 RBI doubles and Fernando Rodney finished out the game, recording his 21st save of the year and extending his hitless streak to 11 innings.
The top of the first was a perfect one for Zack Greinke, although a couple of balls were well hit. Tyler Chatwood took the hill for the Rockies wearing one blue sock and one "Cat in the Hat" sock proving that patriotism is more important than fashion sense in the game of baseball. As it should be. He promptly gave up a triple to Daniel Descalso who seems to be doing it all these days. An RBI groundout by David Peralta started the scoring for the Diamondbacks.
In the top of the third, with the game still 1-0, Mike Tauchman reached on an infield single to third base. This was another example of Jake Lamb not being aggressive enough on a softly hit ball. Since he is on pace to drive in 130 runs this year, I will let it pass. Tauchman advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs, but Zack Greinke gets out of it unscathed by striking out Tony Wolters and inducing two groundballs. Greinke had his best stuff working tonight. He carried that success through the 4th inning as he continued to roll, looking to stay perfect this year at Chase Field.
In the bottom of the 4th inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit an excuse me triple down the right field line. Chris Owings would knock him in with a double down the left field line. In the last couple of years, Owings would be like most D-backs players after a hit like that and start the "driving the bus" motion with his hands. It was always a little bit embarrassing seeing that considering Mount .500 was nothing but a pipe dream at the time. Ironically, it would be more appropriate this year, but I'm glad they have moved on. Owings would end up scoring on a wild pitch making the score 3-0 heading into the 5th inning.
Greinke took care of business in the fifth striking out two. His second strikeout came against Alexi Amarista, who swung at strike three as he was trying to avoid getting hit by the pitch. Reminds me of the Randy Johnson days. Good times. I'm just glad Amarista was filling in for an injured DJ LeMahieu. I still go on rants about that play earlier this year when he got a groundball to his left, but instead moved to his right and forward before reaching out with his glove hand to make contact with AJ Pollock who was running a straight line on the basepath to second base inducing a baserunner interference call. "That is the worst call I have ever seen!" was my first reaction. Upon reflection, I now know who to blame. But maybe it is time to move on and let it go.
The Diamondbacks threaten in the bottom half of the fifth after a base hit by Greinke and a double off the bat of David Peralta. However, the inning ends scoreless with Goldy grounding out to first base. It was nice to see Greinke get a hit. He has not been swinging the bat well this year, but if it means he doesn't pull his oblique muscle, I'm all for it.
In the 6th inning Greinke continues to cruise along retiring the side in order. It is like he is pitching in a video game, able to move his pitches to the corners after he throws them. But in the 7th inning, Greinke faces his nemesis Trevor Story who seems to have gotten the best of Greinke for the last year and a half. With a slider on the outside corner, Story reaches out, with one hand and on one knee and hooks the ball into the left field bullpen to make the score 3-2. I could say this is the next chapter in Trevor's story of dominance of Zack Greinke. Sorry. Honestly, that home run is a perfect illustration as to why Greinke will struggle to keep his ERA under 3.00 pitching half his games at Chase Field. But we had a ballgame at that point. Especially with Greinke's difficulties late in the game at times this year, I started to feel some anxiety.
In the bottom half of the 7th inning the Diamondbacks responded. After an error by Story and a triple by Jeff Mathis (the Greinke whisperer), the Diamondbacks were in business. Marte pinch hit for Greinke and hit a fly ball that was officially scored as an RBI sacrifice fly. Unfortunately for the Rockies, Mike Tauchman forget to catch the ball allowing Marte to reach second base. He would score on a subsequent double by David Peralta making the score 6-2. The Diamondbacks had a chance to blow the Rockies out by loading the bases with one out. However, Chris Owings and Brandon Drury couldn't get the ball out of the infield ending the threat.
During the break Archie Bradley must have borrowed Chatwood's patriotic mismatched socks. I think Archie made it look good, but it would have been even better if he dyed his beard white to pull off the Uncle Sam look. Regardless, he pitches a scoreless 8th inning. After a scoreless bottom half, the game proceeded to the 9th with Chafin pitching with the Diamondbacks holding onto a 6-2 lead. Chafin proceeds to give up consecutive singles before striking out Mark Reynolds, who managed to strike out in all 4 of his at-bats today (more on that in a bit). The two baserunners did allow Fernando Rodney to come into the game in a save situation. Even though he didn't give up a hit over 9 innings in the month of June, I still get a bit squeamish when he takes the mound. But I should be more confident. He takes care of the last two Rockie batters and fires the arrow into the air for the victory.
As for Mark Reynolds striking out in all four of his at-bats. He is the one player on the Rockies that I am happy for his success this year. As a kid (I was an odd child) one of my favorite players was Rob Deer. The fact that he would hit home runs for the Tigers, yet almost have more strikeouts than batting average points was super cool to me. In 1991, he almost pulled it off with a .179 average and 175 strikeouts. It wasn't until 2010 did Mark Reynolds become the first and only player with more than 100 PA to pull it off, a .198 average and 211 strikeouts. Of course, Rob Deer did it before widespread use of Sabremetrics, so it was just a charming idiosyncrasy for him. By the time Mark Reynolds achieved the goal, it was frowned upon. Reynolds had a Deeresque type of game today, but I still root for him.
Zack Greinke continues to put last season behind him with another strong effort. He is close to being on pace this year for a 20-win season, ERA and WHIP ratios around 3.00 and 1.00 respectively, 200+ innings and striking out over a batter per inning. I don't know if anyone is worth a million dollars a start, but the Diamondbacks are getting the ace they paid for last year. I think many D-backs fans were starting to think that Robbie Ray was our new ace. But Ray has been pitching great for 12 weeks, while Greinke has been pitching that way for 12 years. But that time difference does explain the difference in their salaries.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Parallel Lines: Zack Greinke, +22.7%
KooKoo: Jake Lamb, -8.9%
An overall solid performance by on our Gameday Thread. Present were: AzDbackfanInDc, BenSharp, BigSmarty, Cumulus Choir, DeadManG, DesertWeagle, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, PaulGoldsmith, SongBird, TylerO, asteroid, catbat, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, nolanriley13, piratedan7, since_98, smartplays and tommyt_16. My favorite line was by Song Bird describing Amarista's strikeout.
That's what baseball should always be. Escaping our miseries. It sets up a deciding game in this series tomorrow afternoon at Chase, where Taijuan Walker will start for the Diamondbacks. First pitch will be just after 1pm.