Record 66-53. Pace: 90-72. Change on 2016: +17.
The last time the Diamondbacks played a weekday afternoon contest, was the unending nightmare - from which we eventually woke up - that was the 10-8 win over the Cubs in Chicago. It was a six-hour emotional grind, where you hung on every second, relief only coming during the three rain delays. This afternoon’s contest was, at least, nowhere near as stressful. For the Astros were 7-0 up by the middle of the third; though the D-backs did at least make a game of it, the first part of this home-and-away series ended in a split.
Anthony Banda was treated extremely rudely by the Astros’ hitters. After a scoreless first, and retiring the lead-off batter in the second, he almost couldn’t get anyone out. Houston were hitting hit pitches, and hard: Banda was tagged for six hits, four of them for extra-bases, and five runs scored. There was also a run-scoring wild-pitch - if you think there have been a few of those, you’re not wrong. The Diamondbacks trail only the Padres across the National League in the number of wild pitches overall, uncorked by their pitchers this year.
Banda got through four innings for the second consecutive start, and this time, there can’t have been much argument about the quick hook being on him. He allowed two more in the third plus one in the fourth. His final line was eight earned runs over four innings, on nine hits (six of them for extra bases), with three hits and three walks. I dug into the vaults to find the previous occasions on which a Diamondbacks rookie has allowed eight earned runs or more, in four innings or fewer. Here are the examples which I tracked down.
- Anthony Banda, 2017-08-15 - 8 ER, 4 IP
- Zack Godley, 2016-08-27 - 9 ER, 2 IP
- Billy Buckner, 2009-06-26 - 8 ER, 1.2 IP
- Edgar González, 2004-09-03 - 10 ER, 1 IP
- Casey Daigle, 2004-04-09 - 10 ER, 2.2 IP
It seems likely we’ll need one more outing from Banda, before we hopefully get Robbie Ray back after his rehab outing. That will likely come on the road in Minnesota on Sunday, and we will definitely hope it goes a bit better. There was something of a bright spot in the performance from the back of the bullpen. The two arms we called up earlier this week, combined to give the rest of their relief colleagues a rest. Silvino Bracho and J.J. Hoover combined to allow one run over five innings - they were one batter away from five shutout innings
As Michael noted on Twitter, Bracho looked particularly decent, striking out the side in the fifth, then working a scoreless sixth. Since the end of May, in his time up and down, he has now allowed one run over 10 innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks. He might be worth a slight stay of execution before being sent back down this time: I imagine Hoover will be the most likely victim when Peralta returns. Beyond that, we’ll see how things unfold with the likes of Randall Delgado and Rubby De La Rosa. The latter was optioned down to make room for Banda on August 4, so would now be able to return if needed.
To the D-backs credit, they made the final score a good deal more respectable than it looked like it was going to be in the middle of the fourth. At that point, the Astros were 8-0 up, and we were still looking for our first base-runner, never mind hit. With that eight-run lead, it seemed all but certain that Brad Peacock would roll his record to 11-1. But just five outs later, he was trudging off the mount, short of a W, having at one point had the tying run in the on-deck circle. That came in the fourth inning, as the D-backs scored three times and had the bases loaded with one out.
It all started innocently enough, Ketel Marte becoming our first base-runner, courtesy of a weak squibber which caromed off the first-base bag into foul territory for a very lucky hit. A.J. Pollock and Jake Lamb took full advantage, each man doubling, and Paul Goldschmidt then reached on an infield single to third. After J.D. Martinez struck out, Chris Iannetta singled, filling the bags, and Brandon Drury walked, to push across the third run of the frame, still with only one out. Unfortunately, neither Chris Herrmann nor Gregor Blanco could do any further damage, both striking out - you can imagine, I’m sure, how Twitter felt about that.
Though Herrmann was hardly alone: SEVENTEEN Diamondbacks ended up carrying their bats back to the dugout this afternoon. That’s a tally which has been matched (actually, surpassed) only twice in a regulation game by Arizona. We fanned 18 times on June 5 last year, against the Cubs, and the Padres on April 25, 2007. Oddly, we not only won both of those, there were by the same 3-2 score [the Padres game was the one where Stephen Drew walked off against Trevor Hoffman in the ninth] Today, the bottom half of our order was particularly savaged. Martinez, Ianetta, Drury and Herrmann were a combined 1-for-13 with ten K’s.
We got one further run back in the fifth, Goldschmidt doubling in a run. But our last real chance to get any closer than four runs, was killed when the seventh was ended by a double-play after Daniel Descalso and Pollock got on base with one out. Goldschmidt and Marte - the latter starting at lead-off for the first time as a Diamondbacks - each had a pair of hits, Drury drew two walks, and Descalso + Pollock each got a hit and a walk.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Wellington: Brandon Drury, +4.5%
Napoleon: Anthony Banda, -37.4%
Those present for this were: AzDbackfanInDc, BigSmarty, Cumulus Choir, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, LamparT, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Oscar Goldman, PaulGoldsmith, Vaintiquity, catbat, coldblueAZ, ford.williams.10, gamepass, hotclaws, noblevillain, onedotfive, smartplays, tiptill2017. No comment got more than two recs, so we’ll move rapidly on.
However, there is some good news, with the Cardinals doing little better, being 7-0 down in the fifth against Boston at the time of writing. Tomorrow, it’s the same two teams, just in a different state. Taijuan Walker starts for the Diamondbacks.