Record: 14-6. Pace: 113-49. Change on 2017: +2.
In the middle of the first, it looked like it was going to be the kind of birthday for Zack Godley, which ended with him being stalked by a masked killer around a deserted camp ground. But he turned it around, in no small part to his prowess at the plate, where he drove in the tying run in the bottom of the second. He’s not the first D-backs pitcher to have an RBI on his birthday - Patrick Corbin did it on July 19, 2015 - but is the first to have an RBI and get the W. Last year, we had no starters win on their birthdays, but three relief pitchers did: Jorge De La Rosa, T.J. McFarland and Andrew Chafin. The last named did it in 2016 as well, so I presume we’ll see Chafin in the game on June 17 against the Mets.
Anyway, this did not start well for Godley, and after his previous outing went a bit melty, it did not do much to settle fans’ moods. He did fan two of the first three, but the other Padres reached on an infield squibber. Another single and an out later later, last night’s terror, Franchy Cordero, who had the third-longest home-run in Chase Field history (pausing only to spit derisively in the direction of the humidor), hit another long ball. This one, humidor be praised, stayed in the park, but both runners scored. The D-backs also managed to botch the rundown, after Cordero strayed too far off third, though Godley escaped further damage. At 26 pitches though, he seemed not long for the game.
An 11-pitch second inning helped restore hope, and the D-backs then bounced back in their half of the inning, with the bottom of the order doing good work. Chris Owings singled, advanced on a Nick Ahmed groundout, and put Arizona on the board, courtesy of Deven Marrero’s first career triple (above). This allowed us to clear the pitcher’s spot, but Godley was having none of that, and singled back up the middle, tying the game. after the Padres left two on base in the third, A.J. Pollock gave the home team the lead, with his fifth home-run of the season. and Godley seemed to be settling in. He faced the minimum in the fourth and fifth, the only base-runner (an infield hit) being caught stealing, and left after retiring the first batter in the sixth.
The final line was not bad: two runs allowed over 5.1 innings, with six hits and a walk, Godley striking out eight. But I have to say, it looked rather rockier watching it than that line would suggest, and the fact he was lifted at this relatively early point suggests Torey Lovullo was not exactly comfortable with Zack’s ability to protect a one-run lead. Andrew Chafin tidied up the sixth inning, and subsequent runs gave the A-bullpen a night off - probably much-needed, especially in Brad Boxberger’s case. Fernando Salas worked the seventh, and although Archie Bradley did start to warm up, T.J. McFarland threw two innings, despite the crowd’s chants of “Archie! Archie!” on his bobblehead night.
The D-backs did a good job against the SD bullpen, who came in to this contest with a 2.67 ERA, second only to the D-backs. Arizona got five hits, two walks and scored three over three innings from the Padres bullpen, to provide some breathing room. Daniel Descalso came off the bench to drive in a fourth run with a single in the sixth, and the D-backs added two in the seventh. Ketel Marte drew his second walk of the game (hopefully that’ll get his bat going), and Paul Goldschmidt tripled to center, the ball ricocheting off the padding past the CF and delivering free tacos tomorrow. Pollock then singled through the drawn-in infield for our sixth and final run.
After a shaky start, it was good to see the team put that, and being one-hit last night, behind them, to bounce back and level the series. There were two hits apiece for Goldschmidt, Pollock and Marrero, while Owings had two walks in addition to his hit. If there was a black spot or two, it was on defense, which still seemed slack on a couple of occasions, and base-running where Arizona had two men thrown out trying to steal second. That’s as many as we had caught stealing over the first 19 games of the season combined, so not a good day there. But all told, it was a solid enough effort, and gives the team a chance to notch their seventh successive series win in the rubber game tomorrow.
☆☆☆: A.J. Pollock, 2-for-4, R, two RBI, HR
☆☆: Zack Godley, 5.1 IP, six H, two R, two ER, BB, eight SO, RBI, W (3-1)
☆: Deven Marrero: 2-for-4, two R, RBI, TPL
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Archie Bradley: Zack Godley, +14.3%
neo-Archie: Deven Marrero, +11.0%
The anti-Archie: David Peralta, -10.2%
735 comments from people who had nothing better to do on a Saturday night (guilty as charged, m’lord!). Those would be: AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, BenSharp, CumulusChoir, DORRITO, Diamondhacks, Fangdango, GuruB, Hazzard21, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Kantera, Makakilo, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, SongBird, SonomaComa1999, Wesley Baier, asteroid, cardshuffle, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7, rustynails77, shoewizard and smartplays. Comment of the night to SongBird, for demonstrating the remarkable obliviousness of Padres fans.
She then had to go on and explain the concept of “playoffs” to them, since Padres fans have no clue what those are about either...
Once again, we enter the series finale with a chance to win it - doing so would be our seventh series victory in a row, which if I recall, it one off the record in the integrated era. With Patrick Corbin on the mound, who has been awesome so far, we have to feel optimistic, but the Padres are sending out a starter with an almost identical ERA, so runs may be at a premium for both sides. First pitch is a little after 1pm Arizona time.