Record: 55-40. Pace: 94-68. Change on 2016: +15.
The starting line-up today feature no A.J. Pollock or David Peralta - with the enforced absence of J.D. Martinez, it was an entirely revamped outfield for this afternoon’s game of Daniel Descalso, Gregor Blanco and Chris Herrmann. Descalso batted leadoff, followed by... Chris Iannetta? Oh, yeah: and providing protection of clean-up hitter Paul Goldschmidt, and batting in the fifth spot was... Herrmann. You don’t need me to tell you what the Internet thought of this line-up. Though a couple of the resulting Tweets will be appearing in our weekly round-up, for the team rolled to their biggest margin of victory in almost a month, since the 16-5 pounding at Coors on June 21.
It certainly didn’t hurt that the Diamondbacks jumped out to a three-run lead before a batter was retired. Descalso did what a lead-off hitter is supposed to do, getting on base with a walk, and Iannetta continued his recent parade of extra-base hits with a double. Jake Lamb then jumped on an 0-1 pitch and crushed it an estimated 425 feet to center for home-run number 21 on the season. 11 pitches in and Arizona were 3-0 up. But would that be enough? Especially on an unexpected start for Patrick Corbin, who had been pulled into duty, after the departure of Taijuan Walker on paternity leave.
At least with Monday’s off-day, Corbin was still on regular rest. But neither the D-backs nor Patrick had won a Corbin start in the last five attempts. That streak came to an end, as Corbin delivered likely his best outing since blanking the Rockies into the seventh back in April. Today, he scattered seven hits and a walk over 7.1 innings, helping out a bullpen which was quite heavily taxed last night. He struck out six, and allowed just the one run, a solo shot which led off the fourth inning. However, it was Corbin’s work later in the same inning which likely proved the deciding factor in this contest.
The score was 3-1 to the Diamondbacks after the home-run, but Corbin got into a bunch of trouble, allowing back-to-back-to-back singles to the Reds, loading the bases. With no-one out, the tying run was already in scoring position. But Patrick buckled down admirably: a pair of pop-ups to the middle infield, around a swinging strikeout, and he had escaped without any further damage. The Reds didn’t have a single at-bat with runners in scoring position the rest of the way, though did get a run in the bottom of the eighth as J.J. Hoover allowed a solo home-run to the first man he faced. Fernando Rodney, appearing for the first time since July 7 worked a perfect ninth.
Meanwhile, in offense, Arizona got the run Corbin allowed back immediately, as Blanco tripled off the wall, on a ball that certainly Greg Schulte on the radio thought was an easy fly-out. Descalso got Blanco home, to restore the three-run margin. In his next at-bat, with one out and Ketel Marte on base in the seventh, Blanco hit the ball a little further, a two-run shot that was his third of the year, and made the score 6-1 to the Diamondbacks. That would have been an entirely acceptable final score. But we doubled that offensive output in the ninth, on a two-run homer by Marte, an RBI double by Pollock off the bench, then Lamb’s 22nd homer, another three-run shot.
Marte’s (below) was particularly cool, a two-iron off his shoe-tops, that stayed just fair down the right-field line for his second home-run. His OPS is now up to .735, and with both Chris Owings and Brandon Drury struggling of late, we might see a bit more of Marte in the line-up. Elsewhere, Lamb became the first D-back with two three-run homers in the same game since Adam LaRoche in August 2010. Iannetta had a pair of walks and Blanco a walk in addition to his seven total bases. But Goldschmidt’s hitting streak came to an end with a resounding thump, as he went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, picking up the golden sombrero.
The D-backs were remarkably efficient this afternoon in Cincinnati, with 92.3% of all their baserunners coming around to score, the sole exception being Iannetta’s one-out double in the top of the third (though that did extend his torrid spell of extra-base knocks, which now represent 18 of his last 20 hits). Per ESPN Stats and Info: “The Diamondbacks scored 12 runs today while getting just 13 runners on base (9 hits, 4 walks). They're the first team to score at least 12 runs with no more than 13 baserunners since Aug. 27, 2014 when the Rangers did it against the Mariners. The Diamondbacks are the first National League team to do it since July 13, 1979 (Braves did it against the Pirates).” So, slightly more than 38 years!
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Apollo 11: Patrick Corbin, +25.0%
Apollo 8: Blanco, +13.7%; Iannetta, +11.7%
Apollo 13: Paul Goldschmidt, -4.4%
Roll-call tool appears to be misfiring and says there were only 92 comments. I’m seeing somewhat over 300, so this roll-call may be short. Apologies if you were missed off - I’m among the ghost commentors, so don’t feel too bad! The tool says present were: BenSharp, DbacKid, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, GuruB, James Attwood, JoeCB1991, PaulGoldsmith, Renin, Xipooo, asteroid, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7, preston.salisbury and smartplays. Tie for most rec’d comment, onedotfive’s argument against a flat Earth just losing out to hotclaws, the latter being actually D-backs related, a suggestion of how to fund Goldy’s contract extension if Ken Kendrick won’t.
So, the team salvages the final game of a roadtrip, on which they went 2-4, despite outscoring the opposition 35-27. Today’s emphatic win will make for a happier flight, as they return to Arizona, in preparation to take on Washington in a stern test of their skills over the weekend. The good news is, the team could have J.D. Martinez back in the line-up as soon as Friday, according to Torey Lovullo (below). That would certainly be a significant boost for the team, if what looked a very scary injury turns out only to be a one-game absence. The D-backs have still not set their rotation for the series; it’s Zack Godley on Friday and Robbie Ray Sunday, with Saturday to be decided.