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D-backs 8, Rockies 3: Give yourself over to absolute pleasure

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This series has been a horror for the Rockies, but I’m sure Arizona and their fans have enjoyed it.

'The Rocky Horror Show' Media Call

Record: 35-29. Pace: 89-73. Change on 2017: -3.

What a difference turning the page on the calendar apparently makes. The team which looked thoroughly lost at the plate in May, and couldn’t win to save itself, is no more, replaced by a team much closer to the one which surged in April. It’s June 10th, and the Diamondbacks have already scored 60 runs this month. They didn’t score their sixtieth run last month until May 28th. This was also their fifth game reaching double-digits in hits, which matches the entire tally from May. Most importantly, after going 8-19 last month, they are 7-2 in June, and within one victory of matching last month’s total.

Now, there is some grounds for restraint. These wins have come in series against the Marlins (current run differential = -108), Giants (-29) and Rockies (-42): teams a contender would be expected to beat. But all victories count the same in the standings, and the D-backs have a good chance to improve further for the next couple of weeks. 15 of their next 17 games are against opponents who currently have losing records, and it’s only at the end of the month that the schedule toughens up a bit, with series at home against the Giants and Cardinals. Significantly, as well as keeping us in first place, obviously the preferred option, the D-backs now are just 1.5 back of the second wild-card spot.

Today, it was a collective effort. I was braced for disaster with Zack Godley on the mound, after a real horror-show outing last start, against San Francisco. But he took a shutout into the sixth inning, and was considerably more effective in the use of his pitches. He seemed to be getting ahead more often, with first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 24 batters faced, and when he’s showing he can throw his curveball in the zone, that makes it considerably more effective than when hitters can just spit on it, knowing it’s going to fall away. Zack has probably secured his spot in the rotation when Shelby Miller comes back- Matt Koch is the likely odd man out - but it’s still not certain what’ll happen on Robbie Ray’s return.

The D-backs got two walks in the first. Jon Jay was erased by a double-play, and Paul Goldschmidt then followed up with his own base on balls. This wouldn’t generally be worth mentioning, except it was a 13-pitch walk, as follows, including seven pitches which he fouled off with two strikes.

  1. Ball, Four-seam FB, 92 mph
  2. Foul Ball, Changeup, 83 mph
  3. Strike Swinging, Four-seam FB, 92 mph
  4. Foul Ball, Slider, 86 mph
  5. Ball, Four-seam FB, 92 mph
  6. Foul Ball, Changeup, 85 mph
  7. Foul Ball, Slider, 86 mph
  8. Ball, Four-seam FB, 93 mph
  9. Foul Ball, Changeup, 85 mph
  10. Foul Ball, Slider, 82 mph
  11. Foul Ball, Four-seam FB, 91 mph
  12. Foul Ball, Slider, 86 mph
  13. Ball, Changeup, 84 mph

I dug into the archive to see how rare that was, and found the answer: very. It’s the longest walk by a Diamondback since Matt Williams also took a 13-pitch stroll on Aug 18, 2000: Erubiel Durazo and Tony Womack matched them in 1999. It’s the eighth time Goldschmidt has worked a 10+ pitch walk, breaking a tie with Luis Gonzalez and, surprisingly, Chris Snyder for most by a Diamondback. His previous longest battle to end that way was a 12-pitch walk against the Phillies on July 25, 2014. For any result, there have been three longer PAs for Arizona. Womack had a 14-pitch groundout in 2000; Rusty Ryal a 16-pitch strikeout in 2010; and Karim Garcia a 16-pitch double in 1998.

Even though this didn’t end up scoring, it was good to see us running up the pitch count for the Rockies’ starter early. If the first two games proved anything, it’s that getting to the Colorado bullpen as soon as possible is definitely a Good Thing. Kyle Freeland was matching Godley in effectiveness, though Arizona did get their noses in front, courtesy of Ketel Marte’s fourth home-run of the season in the second (above). It was his tenth consecutive hit going for extra-bases tying the franchise mark, previously set by Steve Finley, Gonzalez and Chris Iannetta. That was it through five, with neither side really threatening and the D-backs clinging to a 1-0 lead.

The sixth inning was likely the decisive one. Arizona scored three times and inevitably. Goldschmidt was at the heart of it. His one-out double came around to score on a Marte single, and two further runs scored in the inning on a fielder’s choice that was not converted and a sacrifice fly. Godley then got into his only real trouble of the afternoon. He loaded the bases with two outs, and gave up a two-run single, making it 4-2 to Arizona. He was lifted for Silvino Bracho, with Godley’s line being 5.2 innings, two runs allowed on five hits and two walks, with eight K’s. The Rockies had the tying run on base, but Bracho blew the hitter away to end the inning, and Colorado never really threatened thereafter.

For Arizona immediately got both those runs back in the seventh, plus one more for good measure. Goldschmidt had a two-RBI triple, and was then driven in by a Marte double. Nick Ahmed added an RBI single in the eighth. Yoshihisa Hirano worked a scoreless seventh; although T.J. McFarland gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth, and had to be replaced by Archie Bradley, it was a very token effort. You got the definite sense the Rockies were phoning it in - not least on Gerardo Parra’s feeble outfield work. Goldschmidt had two hits and a walk, as did Owings, while Marte had three hits and three RBI. Jon Jay: 0-for-4 with a walk and three K’s, so still looking for his first hit with us.

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Frank N. Furter: Ketel Marte, +23.6%
Rocky: Godley, +17.5%; Goldschmidt, +15.5%
Dr. Everett Scott: Deven Marrero, -7.4%

A happy Gameday Thread again! Present were: AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DBacksEurope, Dcarbajal, DeadManG, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, TheMostHatedManInTheSnakePit, asteroid, coldblueAZ, frienetic, gamepass, hotclaws, lildbackfan21x, onedotfive, rekameohs, shoewizard, since_98, smartplays and suroeste. Comment of the thread to hotclaws:

#RobotUmpsNow. Though since we won... whatevs. It’s back to Phoenix for the team, who’ll look to continue their recent good form against the Pirates, starting tomorrow night at Chase Field. Our pitcher is officially “To Be Announced,” which is odd. Not sure why it would be anyone other than Patrick Corbin, but guess we will see tomorrow!