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Arizona Diamondbacks 1, Cincinnati Reds 2: No Appeal to Authority

You mean managers don’t get to convert unused appeals into W’s in the standings at year end?

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Record: 53-36. Pace: 96-66. Change on 2016: +15.

The Diamondbacks bats - particularly with runners in scoring position - could certainly use a few days off to recharge and regroup. As has been the tendency over the past couple of weeks, Arizona just couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it. They were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position - and that hit didn’t even score a run. They had the lead-off man on base, six of the nine times they were up (and you could argue a credible case that it should have been more). But none of those runners scored. And Torey Lovullo’s reluctance even to challenge two possibly blown calls, each probably cost the D-backs a run.

There will still positives, particularly on the mound. For it was another well-pitched game, from both Patrick Corbin and the bullpen. Say what you like about the hitting, the starting pitching has really been getting it done, and today was no exception. Over the past 18 games, we have had 12 quality starts, and it was nice to see one from Corbin, who had his slider working very nicely. He got 17 swinging strikes, mostly off it, and struck out nine over his six innings. Fingers crossed he can build on that in the second half.

The Reds did get the lead, courtesy of the speedy Billy Hamilton. He got on base in the third as the result of a fielder’s choice (it took a nice play by Ketel Marte to take a hit away from Hamilton). Inevitably, he stole second and then scored the game’s first run, when Joey Votto blooped a single over the infield. But the Diamondbacks came back immediately in the bottom of the third, with A.J. Pollock going opposite-field for his first home-run since coming back off the DL, his third overall. He had led off the game with a walk, and stolen a base of his own, but was stranded on third - that would become a familiar tune this afternoon.

Pollock’s home-run tied the game, but there’s a case to be made that it should have given Arizona the lead. For it immediately followed Patrick Corbin grounding a ball up the middle. He was called out at first, but on replay, there seemed to be a very credible case that he was actually safe. However, Torey Lovullo apparently didn’t want to risk losing his appeal so early - though with hindsight, it would have been nice if A.J. blast had been a two-run shot.

The D-backs squandered another chance in the fifth. Gregor Blanco led off with a double, the ball just evading the diving left-fielder, and was bunted over to third with one out. I get the concept of the contact play, but don’t understand why the runner on third doesn’t freeze on a hard-hit groundball. If it gets past the infield, it’s an easy run; if it doesn’t, you can stay at third and avoid being out at home by a mile. The latter is exactly what happened to Blanco here, as A.J. grounded out to short. Maybe he could even have got into a rundown or something, let Pollock reach second? But since David Peralta waved over the top of ball four, it didn’t matter much.

The game turned decisively in the sixth. Corbin allowed a one-out double, then struck out the next batter - who got himself ejected by the home-plate ump. Unfortunately, the next hitter lined one to right center, and Peralta stumbled on his first step. By the time he recovered, the ball was past him to the wall, and the Reds had a lead they would never relinquish. I’m reluctant in this case entirely to blame Peralta, even though he has had his shared of outfield misadventures, since there have been any number of people commenting on the terribly poor condition in which the outfield grass at Chase appears to be. Hopefully, this gets addressed over the break, too.

The bottom had its share of drama too. Goldschmidt singled and Lamb walked, to put the first two on. Chris Owings then singled to left. A very aggressive send with no outs by Tony Perezchica sent Goldschmidt home, even though the outfielder reached the ball in very shallow left. The throw beat Paul and he was tagged out. But, again, there seemed at least an appeal-worthy case that the catcher had not given him the required lane to reach home. While there was an element that the throw pulled the catcher up the line into the runner’s path, he seemed largely camped on the line anyway. But, once more, Lovullo demurred, waiting for... I don’t know what.

We did have men on second and third, but Chris Iannetta and Ketel Marte both struck out swinging, and our last, best hope was gone. Jake Lamb walked to start the eighth, becoming out sixth and final lead-off man to reach, but was immediately erased when Chris Owings hit into a double-play. Even though Andrew Chafin and Archie Bradley did their part, by tossing three scoreless innings of one-hit relief, the bottom of the order went down quietly in the ninth, and the D-backs had lost their first consecutive series since doing so on the road to the Nationals and Rockies, from May 2-7.

Click here for details, at
A League of Their Own: Jake Lamb, +12.3%
Big: Archie Bradley, +10.2%
He Knows You're Alone: Ketel Marte, -27.2%
Punchline: Iannetta, -22.3%; Owings, +15.0%; Goldschmidt, -12.2%

Present in the last Gameday Thread of the first half were: AzDbackfanInDc, Cumulus Choir, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Joey Lewis, Keegan Thompson, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Oscar Goldman, SongBird, Sprankton, Xerostomia, asteroid, catbat, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, kilnborn, makattack71, megnetic, onedotfive and smartplays. I’m tempted to make AzDback’s selfie comment of the night, but it might frighten the horses. :) You can wander into the GDT if you want to see it... So we’ll go with Keegan, after Goldschmidt’s impressive leaping catch in the early stages.

And that ends a first half that, even with a downturn at the end, can only be described as thoroughly awesome. I can’t wait for the second half to start on Friday, when the D-backs will be in Atlanta, to kick off the stretch run. But, between now and then, the SnakePit will not be vacant. Stay tuned for mid-season updates, and of course, All-Star coverage, as Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke, Lamb and Robbie Ray showcase their talents in Miami.