Record: 32-29. Pace: 85-77. Change on 2017: -4.
Today’s game was a Facebook-only one. This is the first time I have been compelled to follow one of these: the previous occasions, I simply haven’t bothered, but since I’m recapping... It was a bit of a mixed blessing. Once I figured out how to disable to the comments and, of course, mute Eric Byrnes, it wasn’t too bad. I just relied on the closed captions, and the lack of adverts was nice. However, the broadcasters seemed FAR too interested in non-game related stuff. I know what San Francisco looks like, and do not really need endless cutaways to shots of boats in the bay. Similarly, the commentary seemed to drift off-topic about every other pitch. Bearable, overall. Let’s not make a habit of it.
Onto the game itself, where Clay Buchholz started for Arizona. After the D-backs were unable to convert a double from Paul Goldschmidt, dug himself a hole by allowing a long (447 foot) home-run to the Obese Raccoon. The Giants threatened again in the second, with a one-out triple, but Buchholz was able to snuff out that threat, with back-to-back strikeouts retiring the bottom of the San Francisco order. The Diamondbacks then threatened again in the third, getting Jarrod Dyson and Paul Goldschmidt on base with one down, both men advancing on a wild pitch one out later.
The visitors then caught a huge break. Daniel Descalso was up, and fouled a full-count pitch just behind and to the right of home plate. But Giants’ catcher Nick Hundley wasn’t able to corral the pop-up in the swirling wind, and it fell harmlessly to the turf. Descalso gratefully accepted the second chance, ripping a pitch to the wall in right (above) for a two-run double, and giving Arizona a 2-1 lead. Time for a shutdown inning from Buchholz. Or not... A four-pitch leadoff walk came around to score on an RBI double, tying the game back up. It required Clay to work around another Giant in scoring position, to escape the third without further damage, and keep the score a 2-2.
After a scoreless fourth, the Diamondbacks regained the lead in the fifth. Dyson started it off with a single, and took second on a passed ball. He probably needn’t have bothered, as Goldschmidt got his third hit of the day, crushing a pitch to the base of the wall in center for an RBI double. A walk to Lamb ended the day of Giants’ starter Chris Stratton, still with no outs. A long fly-out by Descalso advanced both runners, but David Peralta waved futilely at some sliders down and away, striking out against a left-handed reliever. Chris Owings was intentionally walked to set up Alex Avila for a shot at redemption... Which went as well as the rest of his season: four pitches later, he was carrying his bat back to the dugout.
Buchholz delivered a zero, and the D-backs added to the lead courtesy of... take a wild stab in the dark. Yep, Goldschmidt. It was the same combo as before. Dyson walked, and this time stole second. But, again, he needn’t have bothered taking the base, as Paul doubled down the right-field line for the 12th four-hit game of his career, and first since April 25 last season. Arizona was almost able to add on, as Jake Lamb legged out an infield single into the shift. Goldschmidt tried to motor all the way round from second, but was allegedly thrown out at the plate, a dubious call with the subsequent review not supposedly able to provide the necessary clear and convincing evidence he was safe. This would matter.
The seventh inning stretch marked the end of Buchholz’s afternoon, and once again, there can be no real complaints about his performance. He went six innings, scattering seven hits and a walk, but also struck out seven. He wasn’t even lucky with BABIP today, going 6-for-16 there, giving him a BABIP of .375. He’s looking increasingly like a real steal. and it’s going to be hard to evict him from the rotation when Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray eventually return. From there, the next two innings unfolded more or less perfectly for the D-backs, with Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley putting up zeroes. The ball was then turned over to Brad Boxberger for the ninth.
He got the first two outs, around a walk, but then nemesis Alen Hansen swatted a ball over the wall in right field, for a game-tying homer. His velocity on the pitch was only 87 mph, and you have to wonder if it’s a result of him pitching three days in a row. It was only Boxberger’s second blown save of the season, but was a real heart-breaker - because I was really looking forward to logging off Facebook... Instead, it pushed us into extras, and the D-backs wasted an immediate opportunity in the 10th. Descalso walked, then advanced on a pair of wild pitches to be at third-base with one out. Unfortunately, Ketel Marte, pinch-hitting for Avila, did not better and struck out swinging, then Nick Ahmed popped out.
At least the resulting, apparently inevitable, defeat didn’t drag on forever. Andrew Chafin came on to pitch the bottom of the tenth, and with two outs Andrew McCutchen launched a fly ball that Dyson should have snared in center, but seemed to lose in the sun. It bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. With a base open, they could have walked the uber-hot Brandon Crawford, and brought in Fernando Salas - though he was having to warm up in a hurry, which suggest this development caught Torey Lovullo by surprise. Perhaps to gain time for Salas, rather that no-pitch IBBing Crawford, Chafin pitched to him. On a full count, Andrew left one in the zone, and a walk-off single to right ensued.
There are certainly a lot of “what ifs?” here. You can level the blame at a variety of targets. Take your pick from the following:
- The home-plate umpire for blowing the call on Goldy’s slide
- MLB for blowing the replay review of Goldy’s slide
- Boxberger for serving up a meatball on a two-run homer
- Dyson for muffing the fly-ball
- Chafin for pitching to Crawford
- Lovullo for not hitting for Alex Avila with the bases loaded, among other things
- Avila, because it’s a day ending in Y.
There’s probably others. But there are positives to take out of this too, including Buchholz’s outing, against probably the best hitting team he has faced to date, and Goldschmidt being Goldschmidt. Onwards, ever onwards. Take the rest of the day off, folks...
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
YouTube: Daniel Descalso, +41.8%;
Reddit: Goldschmidt, +33.4%; Buchholz, +11.1%
Google +: Brad Boxberger, -41.5%
MySpace: Chafin, -36.8%; Peralta, -22.9%; Marte -18.5%; Ahmed, -16.3%; Avila, -13.5%
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You can engage in a bit of scoreboard watching, as the Dodgers take on the Pirates, and the Rockies the Reds. Meanwhile, there’s a day-off tomorrow for the D-backs, and it’s then on to Colorado for the first time, where we’ll face (surprise!) the Rockies, beginning on Friday.