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Arizona Diamondbacks 1, Oakland Athletics 2: D-backs crash-land on Mt. 500

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Hey, at least we didn’t get swept this series...

Recovery Operations Resume At Crash Site Of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Record: 26-26. Pace: 81-81. Change on 2017: -5.

The nine-game road-trip through New York, Milwaukee and Oakland comes to an end, with the Diamondbacks having gone 1-8, winning only Friday night’s game in Oakland. If you had only seen the half-innings where Arizona was pitching, you’d probably be quite surprised. Our men on the mound held the opposition to 32 runs over the nine games - that figure albeit helped by having to throw a full nine innings just the once. Still, it’s a respectable 3.44 ERA, and they allowed three runs or fewer in five of the nine games, which is generally a decent recipe for success. [NL teams this year have a record of 52-39 when allowing three runs] You’d imagine going maybe 4-5 or thereabouts, based on the pitching side of the equation.

Nuh-uh. For the offense was wretched: held to two runs or fewer seven of the nine games, averaging exactly two per game, and with a batting average on the road-trip of just .168 (47-for-279). After the false dawn which was Friday’s robust offensive production, Arizona has returned to their pathetic ways, hitting .086 across Saturday and Sunday (5-for-58, with two walks and sixteen strikeouts). They have scored 56 runs in May, and have three games left. Their previous lowest tally for this month? 103, in 2004. I might be going out on a limb here, but even though the Reds have struggled this year, I do not see the Diamondbacks crossing home-plate 48 times in that series.

Today was very much the same thing. After Trevor Cahill got pushed back, Frankie Montas made his first start since 2015 instead, and completely flummoxed the D-backs in the earlier going, The raw stuff was undeniably impressive, touching 98 mph, and the Arizona hitters seemed to have no real idea how to handle it. A 13-pitch first inning with a pair of strikeouts was followed by a 12-pitch second, again with a pair of strikeouts, and an 11-pitch third - just the one K there. So, first time through the order, Arizona had gone 0-for-9 with five K’s. The second time was slightly more successful, Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso drawing walks in the fourth, but Arizona went through five innings without recording a hit.

If you had Jeff Mathis as the man to break up the no-hitter... congratulations. He blooped one over into left-center, leading off the top of the sixth. David Peralta was then just able to stay out of a double-play, albeit only after an appeal reversed a (fairly obviously) blown call, and Goldschmidt then lined one into left field, to put men on the corners with one out. This was a situation in which the D-backs have had a poor reputation of late, but Jake Lamb got it done, his sacrifice fly allowing Peralta to come home. We might have got more, but Descalso’s hard smash down the first-base line pinged off the bag, and into shallow right, rather than rattling around in the corner. As a result, Goldschmidt had to stop at third, where he was stranded.

That run had tied the game, with Zack Greinke having allowed only a solo home-run in the third - it was the fifth consecutive such scoring play for Oakland in the series. Zack had to overcome a big jam in the opening inning, after the first two batters for the A’s dropped singles on him. But he did some fancy pitching, in particular getting a borderline strike-call for the second out, with runners on the corners. However, with the score level at one, he just couldn’t get the final out in the sixth and give us a shutdown inning. He allowed a pair of two-out walks (he had three walks, a season high) and a single to left returned the lead to the home team.

The bullpens was solid again for Arizona: Andrew Chafin, Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano combined to work a pair of scoreless frames after Greinke exited. His final line was two runs over six innings, on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts. But the A’s bullpen was immaculate. After Montas no-hit the team through five, the Oakland relief corps were perfect over the final three, retiring all nine Diamondbacks they faced. At least it was a relatively quick defeat, at 2:38. After last night’s 2:15. it’s the first time Arizona has played consecutive contests in sub-2:40 since last September 15-16. But I think someone really needs to turn the difficulty level on the hitting down a notch: this is getting old...

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Han Solo: Paul Goldschmidt, +9.3%
Dryden Vos: Ketel Marte, -18.4%
Darth Maul: Peralta, -14.6%; Lamb, -10.6%

Thanks to those who continue to stick it out in the comment section. It’s not a lot of fun watching Diamondbacks games of late, it can hardly be denied. Present were the following: AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DBacksEurope, DeadManG, GoldyHitAnotherOne, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jackwriter, Jhacker333, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Renin, ShirtOffYourBack, hotclaws, lildbackfan21x, onedotfive, shoewizard, smartplays and suroeste. Sad comment of the thread to lildbackfan21x, for the only one to get more than two recs today:

I should point out that we did actually overcome that one-run deficit. Two runs, on the other hand... Not so much. The team now returns back to Chase Field which will surely be the cure for all their hitting woes. Oh, silly me: I forgot. #Humidored. Though it has to be said, the gap between our road and home offense is no longer as large as it was before the road-trip: mostly because the way our batters hit through these last three cities, it was as if the pitchers were actually throwing up sponge-cakes soaked in honey, rather than baseballs...

We’ll see what happens. The Reds come to town for a three-game set tomorrow, and with it being Memorial Day, you should note that first pitch is an early one, the game starting at 1:10 pm. Matt Koch will be the pitcher for Arizona.