Record: 11-4. Pace: 119-43. Change on 2017: +1.
There won’t be a short recap. Doesn’t seem much point, since I doubt anyone will exactly be rushing to discuss the merits of this afternoon’s stinker. Still, get it all out of the way in one, I say: over the first fourteen games, the combined margin of defeat in all the D-backs’ losses was four runs. So it was about time they laid a rotten egg, though the main source of this was unexpected: Zack Godley. He had been quite excellent over his first two starts, and the opening inning of this one promised more of the same. He retired the Dodgers on seven pitches - even more remarkably, two of those were by strikeout. Yep: seven pitches, seven strikes.
With Clayton Kershaw having taken 25 pitches for his first inning, it looked like it might even be advantage Diamondbacks. But then, Godley lost it, in spectacular fashion - he simply could not find the strike-zone. Including the opening frame, he had issued just one walk in the first 15 innings of work. But he then gave up two in the second; that, and an uncharacteristic error by Nick Ahmed put the Dodgers on the board, though Zack was able to escape further damage. But he was just warming up for the 40-pitch third inning, which included FOUR walks, and the Dodgers scored three more times. Given Kershaw has a record of 100-1 when getting 4+ runs of support... yeah, this recap was started early.
Part of the problem was that the Diamondbacks’ bullpen was already sorely taxed, having had to throw seven innings last night, due to the early departure of Taijuan Walker. Regular long-relief man, T.J. McFarland had thrown four innings in that game, so wasn’t available. It was clear that Torey Lovullo was going to leave Godley out there, to take one for the team, and throw something getting toward 100 pitches, almost regardless of the results. In the end, that got him one batter into the fifth, before Lovullo finally opted to pull the plug, Godley ended up at 93 pitches, and was charged with six runs (five earned) on five hits and six walks, with our K’s. His ERA rose from 0.64 to 3.00.
The newly-arrived Silvino Bracho was the sacrificial lamb, and actually pitched pretty well. He allowed one run over his three innings of work, on three hits and a walk, but struck out seven batters. Only two relievers for Arizona have ever had more K’s in an outing: Randy Johnson’s 16(!) in the infamous “power outage” relief appearance against San Diego and... Would you believe, Vidal Nuño, who fanned eight over 6.2 mop-up innings in May 2015. The sole man to fan seven in as short a relief appearance as Bracho‘s was Byung-Hyun Kim, who did it in May 2001. Definitely credit Silvino for saving the pen from unnecessary punishment. Jorge De La Rosa worked a scoreless last frame for Arizona.
There was very little doing on the offensive front for the D-backs. David Peralta represented their first two base-runners. He reached on an error to lead off the top of the first, and then doubled off the center-field wall in the third. But Kershaw’s slider was particularly vicious, though it has to be said, he was getting a whole lot of help that he didn’t need from the home-plate umpire, as shown by the above strike. If Zack Godley had received that kind of strike-zone, I suspect he probably would not have walked six batters. I’m just sayin’... As was, the Diamondbacks were held off the board for the first six innings, with base-runners notable by their complete absence, except for Peralta.
Paul Goldschmidt, of course, wasn’t having any of it, and finally got the D-backs on the board with a solo home-run, to lead off the seventh inning. It was the second and last hit Arizona would get off Kershaw, and Goldy ends the road-trip with his OPS now back up to .925. I think it’s safe to say that normal service has been resumed. Despite going into the sixth down by six runs, the Diamondbacks did manage to make a little bit of noice, and force LA to get Kenley Jansen up. Peralta got his second double, and came home on a Marte single, then Goldschmidt walked. But there would be no Cubs-ian comeback, and the D-backs suffered their first blow-out loss of the year.
Still, hard to call the road-trip anything except a roaring success. Arizona won all three series, went 6-3 overall, and comes back to Chase Field, for series which should be a little bit easier, with a three-game lead at the top of the NL West, and tied for the best run differential in the National League. Hard to complain about any of that!
☆☆☆: Silvino Bracho - 3 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
☆☆: David Peralta - 2-for-4, R, two DBL
☆: Paul Goldschmidt - 1-for-3, R, HR, RBI
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Jackie Robinson: David Peralta, +6.3%
Jack the Ripper: Zack Godley , -26.4%
464 comments in the Gameday Thread, which is probably close to 450 more than this one deserved. Those present were: AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BigSmarty, BobDolio, CumulusChoir, DORRITO, DeadManG, DesertWeagle, Desert_Devil, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Kantera, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, SongBird, SonomaComa1999, Sprankton, The so-called Beautiful, hotclaws, onedotfive, ponus, rekameohs, rustynails77, smartplays and suroeste. Comment of the thread to ish95:
Not the way we wanted to end the road-trip, but as I’ve said before - usually because I’ve been recapping them! - you can’t win ‘em all. The team will be able to enjoy a day off in their own beds tomorrow, before the series against the woeful Giants (who just lost three in a row to the Padres!) starts on Tuesday night at Chase Field.