Record 69-57. Pace: 89-73. Change on 2016: +17.
After the dramatic tension which were the later innings of last night’s game, I think we could all have done with a nice, comfortable Diamondbacks’ victory tonight. And that turns out to be pretty much what we got. Any concerns about the offense were largely allayed in the opening frame, when J.D. Martinez matched the total offensive output from all 10 innings the previous night, with one swing of his bat. Chris Iannetta had singled with one out, and Paul Goldschmidt followed with a double to left, setting the table for Martinez’s tenth home-run as a Diamondback. It went the other way, just over 400 ft, and gave him his 25th RBI in his 29th appearance for Arizona.
Similarly, if you were worried about which version of Patrick Corbin was going to show up, the first plate-appearance would have been the pitching equivalent of a cup of herbal tea and a Yanni CD, in terms of soothing the nerves. Strike looking, strike looking, strike swinging, and the Mets’ batter was carrying his lumber back to the dugout. His successor failed no better, and good Corbin was unlocked. There was a bit of static in the third, after the first two New York hitters reached - including a walk to his opposing number. But Corbin got a ground-out and double-play ball to end the threat. Another double-play ball, erased a lead-off hit in the fourth.
Corbin’s scoreless streak made it out of its teenage years, but fell just short of being able to buy alcohol. It ended in the fifth, with a one-out homer, which ended the run at 20.1 innings for Corbin without allowing a run. That covers the sixth inning against the Giants; 6.2 against the Cubs; 8.2 versus Houston and the first four innings in New York tonight. Yoenis Cespedes was the only Mets hitter who seemed regularly capable of dealing with Corbin, reaching base all three times he was up. Otherwise, Patrick was crisp and economical, getting through eight innings on 110 pitches, allowing four hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
Following on from his 8.2 innings against Houston, Corbin became the first D-backs starter to throw 16.2 frames over consecutive outings since 2013. That season, Brandon McCarthy twice had a complete game and an eight-inning outing, for 17 IP. The past three starts have been the Corbin we wanted to see, and if it’s sustained through the rest of the season, is going to leave Torey Lovullo with some interesting decisions for any wild-card game and on into the Division Series. And it’s not even just the last three starts. Since his season ERA peaked at 5.19 on June 16, Corbin has now made 12 appearances covering 74 innings, with an ERA of 2.92 over that time.
Unlike in the opening game of the Twins series, the offense didn’t take the rest of the night off, having scored three runs. There was an element of fortune to the fourth. Iannetta had doubled, and A.J. Pollock bounced one off the side of the pitcher’s mound, which took a funny hop and corkscrewed off the glove of the NYM shortstop, into shallow left-field. Iannetta came all the way round to score. There was no such luck about the taco-providing run, Adam Rosales hitting his first home-run as a Diamondback, just fair down the left-field line. It was nice finally to see the renowned Rosales home-run sprint. [Below may be slightly sped-up]
Paul Goldschmidt drove in both of the two remaining Diamondbacks runs. He doubled home Chris Iannetta in the fifth inning, and then drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh. That was the only run Arizona managed to score after loading the bases with no outs, on walks to Corbin and Ianetta, around a David Peralta single. A.J. Pollock flew out to the shallow outfield, and Martinez struck out after Goldy’s walk. But all told, I was quite satisfied with the offense this evening, which did the necessary damage to a not very good pitcher. Iannetta and Goldschmidt each had two hits and a walk, with Peralta walking in addition to his single.
Matt Koch entered to mop up the ninth, but did a VERY poor job of it. A lead-off walk was followed by a single and a ground-rule RBI double, and Torey Lovullo suddenly had to go into full bullpen management mode. Koch left, having retired none of the three batters faced. Not exactly the impression you want to make in your first major-league appearance of the year: 0 IP, 3 ER allowed. For Andrew Chafin came in, and got a K, then an RBI groundout for the second out, but then gave up a bloop RBI triple into left-field. With the tying run on deck, that meant we’d gone from a six-run lead to Fernando Rodney time, but he retired the batter he faced, for his 29th save.
With the Colorado Rockies having just lost to the Kansas City Royals (being two-hit in the process!), that means the Diamondbacks overtake them for the first wild-card spot. The Cardinals are also losing heavily to the Padres, which just leaves the Brewers as the only potential wild-card rival team in play.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Little Earthquakes: J.D. Martinez, +23.2%
Boys For Pele: Patrick Corbin, +17.7%
American Doll Posse: Matt Koch, -3.7%
Present in the Gameday Thread were AzDbackfanInDc, BigSmarty, DORRITO, Fangdango, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoelPre, Keegan Thompson, LamparT, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Renin, SenSurround, Turambar, Xerostomia, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, megnetic, onedotfive, piratedan7 and smartplays. Just the one Sedona Red comment, but one which we can all endorse:
For, yes: this win ties the tally from the team for all of 2016, with more than a month left to go in the season. Let’s hope the D-backs can keep it going again tomorrow, with Zack Godley going for Arizona. Make it three in a row...