Record: 92-68. Pace: 93-69. Change on 2016: +25.
This game was rather aggravating from the first pitch to the last. It began with me watching the official MLB stream on Facebook, because Fox Sports Go had initially decided to skip it, in favor of a drag racing replay. With hindsight, not necessarily a bad choice. The main problem with Facebook was the constant stream of reaction emojis that flowed across the bottom of the screen: smileys, hearts and thumbs-ups. Seriously, why? What are they supposed to do? The only way to get rid of them involved having the game on full-screen, not really a credible option for those of us who a) have jobs, and b) want to keep them.
Fortunately, Fox Sports Go got its act together by the middle innings, but I was not on the whole particularly impressed by the Diamondbacks’ performance either. They managed only three at-bats with a runner in scoring position all night. And although the pitchers kept Kansas City to a pair of runs, Zack Greinke’s performance was mediocre. Not exactly the kind you wanted to see in his final appearance before the most crucial contest for the Diamondbacks in six years. All that, and the game finished virtually as soon as I left work and got in the car, delaying the quick recap. I hate midwest start times.
I’m likely going to struggle to find much to say about this. It felt as if everyone on the D-backs was more concerned with next Wednesday’s contest, and getting there intact. Greinke was out there to throw 75 pitches, and it didn’t seem to matter particularly much whether they were good ones or not. He allowed four hits in the first inning, and was only able to escape with as few as one run allowed, because Chris Iannetta nailed the runner for a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double-play for the first two outs of the frame, after a lead-off single. A double and two more singles followed, but Greinke escaped just one run down.
I should probably backtrack a bit, and mention the top of the first, because that represented a full two-thirds of our at-bats with runners in scoring position tonight. Iannetta doubled with one out. And that was it, as Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez both struck out against former Diamondback Ian Kennedy. Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and is not exactly accelerating into the playoffs. Since the start of the series in San Diego, he is batting .182, having gone 6-for-33 with 11 K’s. Still, if anyone has earned the right to be exempt from concern, it’s Goldy, even if he’s not exactly filling in MVP ballots with his September numbers.
The D-backs did tie things up in the second inning, as Jake Lamb reached his own little landmark, notching his 30th home-run of the season, with a nice shot to left-field, leading off the inning. But the only Arizona player who got past first base the rest of the way was Martinez, who had a two-out double in the sixth. Lamb followed with a walk, but A.J. Pollock (who did have two of the team’s six hits tonight) struck out. That was the last realistic chance: we weren’t helped by a couple of double-plays, including repaying the Royals with our own K/CS double-play, Martinez and David Peralta being the two culprits respectively.
Greinke got through four innings, and went out for the fifth, but was lifted after walking the first two batters there. He threw exactly the 75 pitches expected, and ended with a line of two runs allowed over four innings, on six hits and those two walks, with four strikeouts. As Zack told Fox Sports Arizona after the game (below), “Wasn’t amazing, but it was all pretty solid.” I’m entirely happy to treat this one as, effectively, a spring training outing and read precisely zero into it. Perhaps you remember when some of us were deeply concerned about Greinke’s diminished velocity in the Cactus League...
The bullpen looked solid enough, working four innings of shutout ball. Though the bulk of that was starter Patrick Corbin, who was also out there to get his work in and keep fresh. After David Hernandez did a nice job in the fifth, stranding the two runners bequeathed to him by Greinke, Corbin worked 2.2 innings and threw 41 pitches. He allowed two hits, two walks and two strikeouts, but kept Kansas City off the scoreboard. Fernando Rodney came in with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, and gave up a hit before recording the final out there.
If it’s any comfort, the Dodgers didn’t exactly look impressive either, getting mauled 9-1 at Coors Field. The Brewers won as well, so that stopped the Rockies from booking their tickets to Chase Field on Wednesday. They still need one more W or a Milwaukee L to clinch that, so it is looking ever more likely. Just remember: what the D-backs do over this final series is basically entirely irrelevant with regard to being an indicator of what will happen in Wednesday. It simply does not matter. They could get blown out tomorrow and Sunday, and it means nothing. It’s their performance on Wednesday, and only on Wednesday, which counts. So, breathe...
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Deadwood: David Hernandez, +13.1%
Sexy Beast: Corbin, +12.1%
Lovejoy: Daniel Descalso, -20.3%
American Gods: Martinez, -15.5%; Goldschmidt, -15.3%
AzDbackfanInDc, Cumulus Choir, DeadManG, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Xerostomia, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, jacques_souvenier, onedotfive, piratedan7, rustynails77, shoewizard. No Sedona Red comments, so we’ll file this one in the trash compactor of history, as thoroughly forgettable. Taijuan Walker starts tomorrow, with a 4:15pm first pitch, Arizona time. I’d expect another abbreviated outing, but at least I won’t have to watch this one through a flock of emojis.