Record: 87-64. Pace: 93-69. Change on 2016: +24.
Without checking the schedule, I’m not quite sure how the D-backs managed to win the season series over the Padres. I can only presume we must have kicked their San Diegoean asses back in the early part of the season. Because based on the evidence of last series and tonight, with the Padres winning three of the last four contests against the Diamondbacks, they don’t suck. They’ve certainly done better this year than many expected: USA Today predicted 97 losses and the worst record in baseball. They won’t even have the worst record in the NL West (hello, San Francisco).
Tonight, I’m not sure whether they won the game, or Arizona lost it. We’d forgotten about Patrick Corbin’s first inning woes, during his recent improvements, but they came back again tonight, with a vengeance. He got the opening two Padres easily enough, but then allowed a long ground-rule double to Wil Myers. The next at-bat was the key one, Yangervis Solarte somehow fouling off an array of sliders, including four consecutive 2-2 pitches, to draw a walk. Hunter Renfroe then pounced on a 1-1 offering, and sent it high over the fence in center for a three-run homer. Corbin’s first inning ERA is now 7.55. Thereafter? 3.44.
There was another long-ball allowed by Corbin with one out in the second, but was a solo shot - albeit, only thanks to Chris Herrmann nailing the lead-off walk when he tried to steal second base. But thereafter, Corbin allowed only one more hit, a one-out double in his fifth and last inning. He finished the night by getting Solarte to pop up to Herrmann. Though we almost got to see Chris trip over his own mask, because he just kinda dropped it casually by his side, rather than tossing the equipment well clear. Corbin could probably have gone further, only throwing 81 pitches, but we needed the offense. He was charged with four runs on four hits and three walks, with three K’s.
Diamondbacks’ manager Torey Lovullo shook the line-up up, with Paul Goldschmidt batting third, ahead of J.D. Martinez, and Jake Lamb dropped to sixth. I know there are certainly some posters here who will have been delighted with that change. But you’d be hard pushed to have detected any improvement in the team’s production as a result, being held to just two runs for the third consecutive game. It’s the first time that has happened this season, which is kinda impressive considering we had three such streaks from July on last year. [Fun fact: the franchise record is nine games in July 2003, over which we scored a total of 11 runs. Somehow, we still won two of them!]
Both tonight’s tallies came in the third inning. Herrmann led off with a walk, and was sacrificed over to second. David Peralta got Arizona on the board with a single to center, and Ketel Marte followed with more of the same. One out later, J.D. Martinez continued his RBI per game rate, driving in Peralta with a bloop to left-center. But that was all, with Daniel Descalso being robbed of an RBI hit with an unpleasantly impressive sliding catch in center. That ended the inning, though the Diamondbacks had cut the Padres’ advantage in half, making the score 4-2.
Opportunities thereafter were limited, Arizona steadfastedly refusing to take advantage of a stream of gift base-runners. In the six innings which Luis Perdomo started for San Diego, he gave the first batter a free pass in four of them, and issued a one-out walk in another. Only in the second inning did that man get past first base, although in the sixth, it did help set up the visitors’ best chance. Two walks around a single by Lamb loaded the bases for Arizona with one out. However, Herrmann flew out too shallowly for the runner at third to come home, and Rey Fuentes popped out on the infield.
That was it, until the ninth, when we got the tying run to the plate with one out, and on base with two outs. But Marte flew out to center, and we dropped the opener. One positive was three hitless innings from people who are likely auditioning for spots in the post-season bullpen: J.J. Hoover, Jimmie Sherfy and David Hernandez all posted a zero in their frame of work, facing one batter over the minimum. Though, again, with help from Herrmann, who threw out another attempted base-stealer to end Sherfy’s inning - given Myers was at the plate, this was probably no bad thing! Only five hits for Arizona, Martinez and Peralta each getting one plus a walk.
Speaking of Peralta, he left this game with what was described by the team as tightness in his right quad: doesn’t sound too serious, but we’ll await updates. The loss reduces our wild-card lead over the idle Rockies to 41⁄2 games, but they were also caught up on by the Brewers, who also won, and so sit 21⁄2 games behind Colorado. Magic numbers for clinching a post-season spot and home-field advantage there, both remain unchanged.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Ninotchka: J.D. Martinez, +8.7%
Hulk Hogan: Pollock, +38.2%; Goldschmidt, +20.3%; Mathis, +18.8%
The Joyless Street: Patrick Corbin, -19,4%
Big Parade of Comedy: Herrmann, -11.2%; Marte, -10.6%; Fuentes, -10.6%
Thanks to those present in the GDT: Anachronistic1, AzRattler, DeadManG, Gilbertsportsfan, Greinkeschmidt, GuruB, Jackwriter, JoelPre, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, PaulGoldsmith, SongBird, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, kilnborn, onedotfive, rustynails77, smartplays and soco. Comment of the night to Michael, after one of Herrmann’s victims died on the base-paths:
We reconvene at Petco again tomorrow night, with Zack Godley starting for the D-backs. It’s another 7:10pm first pitch, so bring the caffeinated beverages. :)