Record: 7-2. Pace: 126-36. Change on 2017: 0.
“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
— George R.R. Martin
It’s games like this which led to the “Week in Blown Calls” feature. Because home-plate umpire Tim Timmons’s strike-zone was positively Mondrian-esque in its abstractness. David Peralta was the first victim, being rung up on on the pitch above in the first inning. This was one of 12 pitches flagged by @DiamondbacksUmp: the only thing consistent was Timmons’s inconsistency. When A.J. Pollock was also struck out by Timmons on ball four, A.J. made his feelings known, and Torey Lovullo headed out to defend his player. He was rapidly ejected, and “used a very descriptive adjective that I probably shouldn’t have,” regarding Yadier Molina, who was...triggered. Let’s go to the tape, from@FoxSportsAZ:
* A.J. Pollock and David Peralta yelling at the ump.— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) April 8, 2018
* Torey Lovullo's first ejection of the season.
* Yadier Molina going after Lovullo.
* Both dugouts/bullpens clear.
"This all instigated by a horrible strike 3 call again by Tim Timmons." -- Bob Brenly. pic.twitter.com/MWfftMwV2t
Benches cleared, bullpens cleared, and there was significant quantities of milling around by both sides before order was restored, with Lovullo tossed and Molina, inexplicably, not. For I don’t care what Lovullo said about Molina, in no way does it justify that reaction. You cannot stay in the game after making contact with the umpire AND trying to go after the opposing manager. It’s inexplicable, and I strongly suspect that if Alex Avila did something like that, he’d be both tossed from the game and looking at a lengthy suspension by MLB. Something something veteran presence... Or perhaps that’s why Tim Timmons has so much trouble recognizing balls: because he doesn’t have any.
“Times may change, but men do not.”
Helped by Timmons sticking his arm out for low-flying aircraft passing nearby, this was a pitcher’s duel through the early innings. There was only batter over the minimum when we went into the fourth, where the D-backs squandered an opportunity. Peralta and Ketel Marte singled to lead things off. Peralta went to third, and as the throw came in there, Marte tried to reach second. He overslid the base, was tagged for the first out, and Paul Goldschmidt’s wretched season continued, as he struck out swining with the go-ahead run on third. Pollock flew out, and the chance was wasted.
Fortunately, Taijuan Walker was keeping the Cardinals in check too; not as many K’s, but as all series, the ball wasn’t flying well in Busch Stadium. However, he still fell behind in the fifth, after designated villain Molina singled to lead things off. He then took second on a fly ball to Peralta, which I trust is something kangaroo court will address with the Freight Train. Because if letting a 35-year-old catcher advance on a fly ball isn’t a fineable offense, I don’t know what is. The next batter squibbled one through the infield, and Molina scored. There was more shaky defense as there was no cut-off man on the play for Arizona, allowing the batter to take second, but Walker regrouped and halted the damage there.
“When men are starving and sick of fear, they look for a savior.”
The score remained 1-0 to St. Louis as we moved into the seventh inning, but the D-backs chased the Cardinals’ starter from the game with a one-out single by Pollock. As is often the case, “anyone but ________” proved to be the case. Pollock stole second, though was lucky to do so, after the St. Louis first-baseman dropped the ball on the pickoff. Daniel Descalso struck out, then the other Walker - Christian - lived up to his name with a base o balls. Cue Diamondbacks’ RBI leader Nick Ahmed (nope, that still doesn’t look right, somehow!), who got a squibbler of his own, drifting just over the despairing infield to find the grass, allowing Pollock to come around and score the tying run.
After a scoreless inning from Yoshihisa Hirano, the D-backs took the lead, with a pair of home-runs in the eighth. Chris Owings singled, and Peralta launched one 403 feet to right-field. The two-run shot gave Arizona a 3-1 lead, and Pollock then achieved full redemption with an even longer bomb into his own team’s bullpen, to make the score 4-1. Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger both allowed singles in their innings of work, though neither went anywhere. Boxberger tidied it up with a double-play ball to notch his fourth save as a Diamondback, and justice was served - at least, from the Arizona point of view. Cardinals’ fans mileage may vary.
The 7-2 record ties the franchise best, and it’s the first time the D-backs have opened with three consecutive series wins.
☆☆☆: David Peralta - 2-for-4, R, HR, two RBI
☆☆: Taijuan Walker - 6 IP, 3 IP, R, ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
☆: A.J. Pollock: 2-for-4, two R, HR, RBI, SB
An understandably lively Gameday Thread, with Jackwriter, Michael M and Cumulus all reaching 50. Those present this afternoon were: AZDovs11, AzCutter, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BenSharp, CumulusChoir, DBacksEurope, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, FishOnEmm, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rcastillo, SongBird, SonomaComa1999, Sprankton, Wesley Baier, asteroid, coldblueAZ, dbrowell, hotclaws, onedotfive, rustynails77, shoewizard, since_98, smartplays and suroeste. Michael take sarcasta-comment of the day:
but I’ll also acknowledge AZRattler, bringing us back to another day in D-backs infamy.
...and accepts his five-game suspension. With that, the D-backs leave St. Louis, but perhaps worth noting, the revenge leg of this series takes place at Chase Field from July 2-4. We’ll see if Molina remembers... For now, the D-backs complete a very satisfactory series, and go on to San Francisco. As I write, they are currently locked in a 1-1 ninth-inning tie with the Dodgers, having just denied Clayton Kershaw the win. Here’s to this one going 16 or so innings.