Record: 39-30. Pace: 92-70. Change on 2017: -4.
There aren’t many times that I get to use the same picture for the Gameday Thread and the recap, but on the fifth anniversary of Nik Wallenda becoming the first man to tight-rope over Niagara Falls... It’s entirely appropriate. For the first three innings from Zack Godley tonight were a feat of little if any less drama, wildness and danger. You would have got equally long odds against Godley surviving this one - let alone becoming the first D-backs starter in a dozen attempts to get twenty outs, the last being Matt Koch on June 3. Yet somehow, Godley escaped, with the help of his defense and some spectacularly inept base-running from the Mets.
It began with a lead-off walk to open the first. This was eventually stranded on third after a couple of groundouts. But credit has to go to Alex Avila behind the plate. Whatever you can say about his offense - and “it sucks” is probably being charitable at this point - he did his best Black Knight impression back there. “None shall pass!” At least three potential wild pitches were smothered or stabbed by him in that inning along, and more to come. But Godley instead escaped with a zero, and one out later, Paul Goldschmidt happened, for the fourteenth time this season (above). On May 22, he was batting .198 with a .675 OPS Since then: 33-for-81 (.407) with nine HR. He’s now at .265 with an .894 OPS.
If you thought the first inning was an escape act, it was just the warm-up for the second. Another lead-off walk was followed by a double, which even David Peralta would probably admit, he could have played just a little better. With the tying run on third and no outs, he got a ground-out to Jake Lamb at third, and the runner there opted to stay put. This was followed by a fairly shallow fly to Jarrod Dyson in center, and the runner tried to come home. [With two outs and the pitcher next up, I can kinda see the reasoning] Dyson’s throw home was not the most accurate, going well up the third-base line but was in enough time for Avila to be able to apply the tag.
Disaster averted. Or, at least, delayed. Next time up, the Mets did tie the game, after a single, hit by pitch and RBI double. That made the score 1-1, and once again, they had men on second and third with no outs. Let’s divide Godley’s outing into two at this point:
Before: 3-for-8, two BB, HBP, one SO
After: 2-for-15, BB, seven SO
It was as if a switch came on. Godley struck out Nimmo, Cabrera and Bautista to escape this jam, and apart from a home-run to lead off the fourth, seemed like a completely different pitcher thereafter. He did get some help: after the homer, he walked the next Mets batter, but a failed bunt attempt saw the runner slip on the basepaths, then attempt to swim back to first. It didn’t end well for him, being a land mammal and all.
Godley was lifted after going through the Mets order for a third time. I was reading yesterday how that seems to be increasingly the case, and it seems to be borne out. With over 40% of the season gone, D-backs’ starters have only faced opponents for a total of 12 PA past the third time through this year, and Zack Godley has exactly one such PA after 14 starts. [For comparison, there were 51 PAs seeing batters the fourth time through, in each of the past two seasons] But you can’t argue with the final line: two runs over 6.2 innings, on five hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts. But as I said in the preview, the only consistent thing has been his inconsistency. #ToldYouSo
#ToldYouSoAgain. Also from the preview: “Bottom half of the order doesn’t seem like it will be up to much, with the #6-8 spots occupied by Nick Ahmed (OPS+ 80), Alex Avila (15) and Jarrod Dyson (51). Any production we get out of there is likely to be a bonus more than anything: we’ll need the top half to come through.” The final tally for the night:#1-5 went 11-for-20 with seven RBI, whle #6-8 went 0-for-10. That included an 0-for-4 with two K’s at the plate for Avila, the lowlight being him staring at strike three with the bases loaded in the seventh (that went down well on social media, as you can imagine!). He now has 52 K’s in 97 AB, the highest ratio in the liveball era of any player with 100+ plate appearances.
Fortunately, as noted, the top half of the order made up for it. After a rough few games to start his career in Arizona, Jon Jay has really come around and had three hits today. Goldschmidt also had three, while David Peralta and Daniel Descalso each had two, the latter notching his eighth home-run (above). It was also fun watching Dyson whizz around the bases in the sixth: after reaching on a walk, he stole second AND third bases, before coming home on Jay’s single. The bullpen was... okay. Andrew Chafin got four solid outs, but Jorge De La Rosa, in part due to his own error, was so wobbly despite being given a five-run lead in the ninth, that Brad Boxberger had to come in and get the final out.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Barnum: Daniel Descalso, +22.0%
Bailey: Godley, +17.1%; Goldschmidt, +16.5%
Sad clowns: Nick Ahmed + Alex Avila, -6.4%
Thanks to those who hung out in the GDT, enlivened by more than one bit of love from the booth for the SnakePit - I almost fell off the sofa at that! Present tonight were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, Fangdango, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, Rockkstarr12, Sean Testerman, ShirtOffYourBack, aldma, asteroid, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, kilnborn, lildbackfan21x, shoewizard, smartplays and suroeste. Comment of the night to lildbackfan21x, who knows I can never resist a good pun. Regarding Descalso:
Two games in the bag, got to feel good about our chances of taking - or, better yet, sweeping - the series. Patrick Corbin starts tomorrow for the D-backs, in a late game, starting at 7:10pm. Will be in attendance for that one, so don’t let me down, D-backs!