Record: 25-19. Pace: 92-70. Change on 2017: +1
I’d like to thank the Diamondbacks for, at least, not dragging this one. The team’s eighth loss in their last nine was completed in a crisp 2:36, the second-quickest road game of the year. Just what I wanted, allowing me to enjoy the rest of the evening. Because I certainly didn’t enjoy very much about this contest.
The top of the opening inning was marked by Jake Lamb’s return to the major leagues. But it did not start in an auspicious fashion, his first at-bat since April 2 ending on a swing and a miss at a 98 mph fastball from Jacob deGrom. The D-backs went in order, Steven Souza joining Lamb in punching out, and things didn’t get better, as Zack Godley opened up with a four-pitch walk to the Mets’ lead-off man. An error on Daniel Descalso at second, as Ketel Marte tried to get the force there on a ball in the hole, put New Yorkers on the corners with no outs. A ground-out gave the home-team a 1-0 lead, and an RBI single then doubled that advantage. Godley needed 27 pitches for the inning, though both runs were unearned.
The pattern repeated in the second inning, with the D-backs being retired 1-2-3, and Godley walking the Mets’ lead-off batter. This time, however, he was able to escape damage, thanks to a failed bunt attempt from deGrom (hitting 8th for New York - a tactic which looked like it was going to become big a couple of years ago, before fading back into “You don’t see that often” territory). Alex Avila broke up the no-hitter - is it sad I find myself worrying about that possibility the first time through the order? - getting a single for Arizona in the top of the third. Godley then mixed things up with a one-out walk, escaping again: through three, he had three walks and four strikeouts, which has kinda been his pattern.
The fourth inning featured Lamb’s second at-bat, and that didn’t go any better, striking out on three pitches; Paul Goldschmidt also struck out, but Godley responded with his first walkless - indeed, perfect - inning. Four frames down, we were probably that errant Marte toss away from a scoreless ball-game. deGrom’s velocity seemed to be back down toward his more normal 94-95 mph range, and Descalso got Arizona’s second hit, to open up the fifth. However, the reduced velocity did not seem to help the D-backs too much, with Marte, Alex Avila and Godley all striking out, around a Jarrod Dyson single. Half way through, deGrom had faced eighteen Arizona batters and recorded ten K’s.
The Mets were able to tack on another run in their side of the fifth, as Godley took four attempts to get the third out, allowing an RBI single to extend the deficit to 3-0. Arizona did respond by getting on the board in the sixth. Souza singled back up the middle, and Lamb doubled down the right-field line (above). Souza ran through a stop sign thrown up by third-base coach Tony Perezchica, but the Mets opted to get Lamb at third instead. He still picked up his first post-injury hit and RBI; the team could certainly use him. Souza was immediately replaced by Chris Owings in right: it wasn’t clear at that point if this was related to an awkward slide in foul territory the previous inning, or a result of ignoring his coach’s orders.
The seventh inning included a lead-off double and a strikeout (Avila, naturally) - yet somehow managed to last only six pitches. Uh, well done? Descalso doubled, advanced to third on Marte’s groundout, and was stranded there on Avila’s K and Dyson’s pop-up, all three balls in play coming on the first pitch. I can only presume the Diamondbacks had made other plans for Friday night. For even though deGrom had 13 strikeouts through seven, he had thrown only 100 pitches. The only comparable start in the majors this year, was Gerrit Cole’s for Houston against Texas, where he fanned 14 in seven, and needed only 93 pitches.
You can’t complain about Godley going six innings and allowed one earned run on four hits with six K’s. The walks - four of those - do continue to be of concern. But this was a quality start by any measure, even if it felt like the D-backs were always playing from behind the 8-ball after that first inning. Andrew Chafin worked a tidy seventh, although Arizona’s next inning was almost as quick as their seventh, lasting eight pitches. Fernando Salas, who has struggled badly since the calendar turned to May, loaded the bases in the 8th after Adrian Gonzalez bunted away from the shift. Descalso then dropped a ball with the bases loaded - fortunately, after it was in his glove long enough to be a catch. That would have sucked.
Jeurys Familia struck out the Diamondbacks in the ninth, including a delivery of a golden sombrero for Goldschmidt. Arizona finished the night with a K:BB ratio of 16:0. That ties the team record for the most strikeouts in a game without a walk, previously done in August 2004 against the Dodgers. Descalso had two of the team’s hits, and the six they managed was actually more than in any of the three games against the Brewers. Progress?
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Wayne's World: Daniel Descalso, +10.9%
It's Pat: Zack Godley, -9.1%
Thanks to the poor souls who suffered through this one, along with me. Present in the GDT were: BigSmarty, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Fangdango, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Johnneu, Justin27, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, Renin, ShirtOffYourBack, Xerostomia, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, gamepass, hotclaws, megnetic, onedotfive, shoewizard, smartplays and suroeste. Nothing more than two recs for anything, so I think we’ll just draw a line through this and move on.
Hopefully, to better things tomorrow, where Patrick Corbin starts for the D-backs.