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AZ 2, SF 7: Just Dingers goes deep again, but D-backs can’t complete sweep

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Taijuan Walker entered today's match with a 3-0 record, 1.26 ERA, and a .212 Opp Avg in his last three games.  Early on it appeared Walker was on his way to more of the same. 

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Record: 87-63. Pace: 94-68. Change on 2016: +24.

However, in the fourth and fifth inning, pitches started to miss the strike zone and he found himself in trouble. While he was able to work his way out of the fourth with little damage, the same could not be said about the fifth when three Giants crossed home plate. Diamondbacks gained momentum in the sixth when, with Paul Goldschmidt on first, Julio Daniel Martinez, aka J.D. Martinez, aka Just Dingers, went deep cutting the lead 4-2. Unfortunately, they couldn't continue the momentum, the Giants went on to score three more and the Diamondbacks were unable to complete the sweep.

Walker started strong and worked easily through the first. In the second, he allowed back to back singles and walked Nick Hundley (interesting fact: Hundley went to the University of Arizona) to load the bases. He was able to get Ryder Jones to hit a grounder to Daniel Descalso who turned two and the inning ended without a run. (It must be mentioned that Descalso had the glove working at second today, but I digress.)

In the fourth Walker found himself in trouble again after singles to Austin Slater, Brandon Crawford, and Jarrett Parker to start the inning. He got Pablo Sandoval to hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run, then struck out Hundley and Jones to end the inning. I had hoped those back to back strikeouts were a sign that Walker was rebounding and would continue to pitch strong.

Unfortunately I was wrong and, to kick dirt on a man while he's down, the umpiring crew decided to keep the Giants at the plate. In the fifth, Walker again found himself in trouble by allowing singles to the first three Giant hitters and walking the fourth to bring in a run. With bases still loaded and no outs, Walker gets Crawford into a 1-2 count. On the next pitch he forces Crawford to check his swing, Chris Iannetta correctly appeals and the crew says he did not go around. Torey Lovullo and the bench rightful let the home plate up hear it as replay showed that Crawford went, which would have been the first out of the inning. Crawford then hits a sacrifice fly allowing a run to score. Jarrett Parker would drive in another run but get himself picked off at first to end the inning and Walker's night. The Giants would end up scoring one in 6th and two in the 7th.

Similar to Friday and Saturday, the Diamondbacks had difficulty getting runners across the plate. In the second and third, the Snakes were able to get runners on first and second but were unable to score any runs. The third inning was somewhat frustrating as, with runners again on first and second with one out, Jake Lamb and Goldschmidt were unable to bring anyone home and put early pressure on the NL West's last place team. As previously mentioned, J.D. continued his homer-ing ways and took Chris Stratton deep in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-2. Unfortunately that was the only spark from the visiting team as the bats were quiet in the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Sure, it is frustrating the team was unable to complete the sweep against the lowly Giants but the Wild Card lead remains at 5 games with the Rockies losing to Padres this afternoon.

Although the team's performance today was forgettable, two things stood out:

First, while Diamondbacks pitchers hosted more walks than an active retirement community today, I was elated to see Anthony Banda getting some relief work in the eighth inning and striking out two. Based on their recent performance, none of us should believe TJ McFarland and JJ Hoover are seeing playoff innings, except for a blowout. I am of the position that in games like these, Lovullo should let Banda and Jimmie Sherfy pitch and retain some more big league experience.

Know I'm not lobbying for Banda to be sent to the bullpen as his future is as a starter, but if he's on the expanded roster and spends his days in the bullpen anyways, why not use him over Hoover? Let Hoover, McFarland or Jake Barrett sit for a couple more days than normal with the hopes they will figure their issues out and let these younger guys get some innings. Heck, Sherfy has already shown he can get the big outs and I feel more confident with him getting the ball over Hoover in playoffs.

Second, Ketel Marte stole a base today. What happened to the team's aggressive base running? I recall that all the team did before the All Star Break was run; now we hardly attempt a stolen base. I understand Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed are still on the DL, but there is still some speed in our lineups. Hey, it might be important in the postseason.

Anyways, the team travels to San Diego for three against the Padres. I'd really like two of three, if not a sweep, for what they did two us two weekends ago. I am sure that feeling is shared by many of you. Thanks to AZSnakePit for allowing me the opportunity to guest recap, @jackloconnor is out! Go DBacks!

Bells and whistles, by Jim

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Hey, Good Lookin': J.D. Martinez, +9.6%
Your Cheatin' Heart: Taijuan Walker, 16.0%
Lovesick Blues: Lamb. -12.0%; Fuentes, -10.3%

NFL season is once more upon us, likely reducing the audience for this game. But present in the Gameday Thread were: AzDbackfanInDc, Cumulus Choir, GuruB, Jackwriter, Keegan Thompson, LamparT, Makakilo, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, RAF2018336, SongBird, Steven M. Taylor, asteroid, hotclaws, jackloconnor, megnetic, onedotfive and smartplays. Nothing get more than a couple of recs, however, so we’ll withhold a Comment of the Thread, much like the Diamondbacks withheld the sweep of the Giants.

It’s down the coast of California we go, for a series against the Padres in San Diego. That starts tomorrow night, with Patrick Corbin starting for Arizona, and a 7:10pm first pitch.