Record: 58-43. Pace: 93-69. Change on 2016: +16.
I wouldn’t bet too much money on it actually happening, but I’d like to think this afternoon’s win at Chase Field might act as the baseball equivalent of breathing into a paper-bag, and sooth the nerves of the panicky section in Diamondbacks fandom. When the second-half of the season started off by getting swept in Atlanta, even I would admit, things looked potentially a bit wobbly. But since then, Arizona has righted the ship, going 5-4, winning two of three series - and particularly notable, outscoring the opposition over those nine games by a total of 60-36.
We’ve scored double-digits four times over that spell, and new acquisition J.D. Martinez was a good part of the reason why today is included there. He is now 4-for-16 with two walks and seven strikeouts for us. Which wouldn’t be notable, except for three of those four hits having left the yard, giving J.D. [which Twitter tells me, stands for “Just Dingers”] a line of .250/.333/.813 in his first five games with us. Also chipping in was the Ketel Marte Party, who delivered our first inside-the-park home-run of the year (above) as part of a four-run fourth. It’s was the 12th such in franchise history - here’s the full list, from the team’s media guide, with Marte added.
Diamondbacks inside-the-park home-runs
|Tony Womack||July 21, 1999||@ HOU||8||3|
|Junior Spivey||June 9, 2002||@ BOS||7||0|
|Luis Gonzalez||July 28, 2002||vs. SD||5||0|
|Damian Miller||August 18, 2002||@ CHI||6||0|
|Kelly Stinnett||August 29, 2005||@ SD||4||0|
|Stephen Drew||April 5, 2010||vs. SD||4||1|
|Gerardo Parra||June 9, 2010||vs. ATL||8||1|
|Ryan Roberts||June 20, 2012||vs. SEA||6||1|
|Justin Upton||August 25, 2012||vs. SD||2||1|
|Phil Gosselin||October 1, 2015||vs. COL||7||0|
|Jean Segura||April 7, 2016||vs. CHC||2||0|
|Ketel Marte||July 26, 2017||vs. ATL||3||1|
It looked a little dicey early on, with the Braves getting on the board first. Patrick Corbin allowed a single and double with one out, but then did a good job of limiting the damage to an RBI ground-out. That set the tone for his afternoon: he seemed almost perpetually to have Braves in scoring position, but he did a very good job of limiting the damage. Atlanta went 0-for-6 with RISP against Corbin, scoring their two runs on that groundout and a sacrifice fly in the fourth [which we’ll get to]. Over his six innings, Patrick allowed seven hits and four walks, striking out five. His season ERA is now a respectable 4.36 - over his last eight starts, it’s 2.83.
The D-backs didn’t waste time getting on the board themselves, though there were likely a little lucky to do so. Gregor Blanco led off with a single, and stole second. He then made some kind of attempt at stealing third, while the Braves’ pitcher, former D-back Aaron Blair, still held the ball. Once Blair overcame his shock, Blanco was caught in a rundown, and was initially called out despite attempting to Matrix his way past the defender to third-base. However, the call was overturned on appeal, and Jake Lamb followed with a sacrifice fly, locking us back up at 1-1.
The six outs from the bottom of the third through the top of the fourth are likely where the game hinged. Blair wasn’t being any more effective than Corbin: each starter stranded a pair in both the first and second innings. But while Corbin left two more on base in the top of the third, Blair cracked in his half. The Diamondbacks pushed four runs across with one out, starting with lead-off walks to Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. J.D. Martinez... did not have the best of at-bats, shall we say. But Daniel Descalso proved as clutch as ever, banging a two-RBI triple to center, and Marte followed with his home-run, opening up a four-run lead for Arizona.
Now, all we needed was a shutdown inning from Corbin and we could go about our business. Didn’t quite happen. A single and two walks - including one to Blair on four pitches, albeit with an assist from the home-plate umpire - brought the tying run for Atlanta back to the plate, with nobody out. But again. Corbin managed to avoid melting down entirely: even after a sacrifice fly and walk re-loaded the bases with one out. He got Matt Kemp to strike out on three straight pitches, then the third out was a harmless fly-ball to right on the first pitch. The Braves never really threatened the rest of the way.
Though in large part, that was because the rest of the way became the J.D. Martinez show. I think we’re going to have to get used to our new slugger being roughly equal helpings of feast and famine. The fourth inning was a trip to the buffet as he launched another 440-ft plus bomb, after Goldschmidt had just missed one, settling for a double. That made the score 7-2, and gave enough breathing room for all but the most obstinate. Brandon Drury added an RBI single in the seventh, and although Jorge De La Rosa allowed a run in the eighth, Martinez repaid it with interest, scoring himself and Goldschmidt, courtesy of a mere 410-footer. Here are both bombs.
12 hits for the D-backs, who also took advantage of nine walks issues by the Braves. Goldschmidt reached base five times on two hits and three walks. That’s his sixteenth such game, which is now more than other two Arizona batters combined (second and third are Luis Gonzalez on eight, and Justin Upton with seven). Blanco, Martinez and Marte each had two hits and a walk, while Jeff Mathis had a hit and two walks: his OPS is now up to .612, which is 13 points better than Dansby Swanson’s. It was a nice way for the team to finish the home-stand, before heading out on a 10-game road-trip which will likely not be easy.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
The Queen: Daniel Descalso, +14.9%
Caligula: A.J. Pollock, -12.1%
Always a good day when there is only one player in negative WP territory. Happy and busy GDT, with those in attendance being: AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DORRITO, DbacKid, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, LamparT, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, PaulGoldsmith, Renin, Sean Testerman, SenSurround, david.munter, hotclaws, megnetic, noblevillain, onedotfive, preston.salisbury, red_leader, ryeandi and smartplays. Comment of the Day goes to preston, as promised in the preview:
Diamondbacks 1, Nattering Nabobs 0, I think. Off to St. Louis go the team, for a four-game set which begins tomorrow. Zack Godley starts the opener, with a 4:15pm first pitch.