Record: 53-44. Pace: 89-73. Change on 2017: -3.
The Diamondbacks still took the series in Atlanta, and went 3-3 on the road-trip. But a sloppy third inning paved the way for the Braves to dodge the sweep, on a muggy afternoon in Georgia. The D-backs must now await the outcome of tonight’s Angels-Dodgers game to see if they go into the break on top of the National League West.
In the early stages here, it appeared almost as if both teams had somewhere else to be for the next four days. The first two innings this afternoon saw 12 consecutive batters retired on a total of only 39 pitches. The Braves, in particular, seemed to be in a hurry, with Patrick Corbin needing only four pitches to get through the first - probably the quickest inning I’ve ever seen from a Diamondbacks. The second inning was positively epic in comparison, requiring Corbin to throw twice as many pitches. Which, to save you the math, would be eight. However, Arizona’s hitters were doing no better against Julio Teheran, who struck out four of the first six D-backs he faced.
Things pivoted badly for Arizona in the third, on both sides of the ball. The inning started well, with Daniel Descalso doubling to the wall, followed by a walk to Alex Avila. However, this situation has kryptonite to the D-backs this year. With men on 1st and 2nd and no outs, Arizona has had 55 plate-appearances this season. They are an awful 3-for-45 (.067) in those spots. Today, Corbin’s attempted bunt only went a few inches from home-plate. The Braves’ catcher threw to third for the force, and Corbin, who seemed to think the ball had gone foul, made only a token effort up the line and was easily doubled out before reaching first. That was about the closest AZ would come to scoring with Teheran on the mound.
The home team responded by putting up a four-spot in their half of the inning, as Atlanta had five hits off Corbin, including a pair of doubles. However, the key play was probably Jake Lamb throwing away an infield nubber when the score was only 1-0. While scored as an infield single - thus all four runs were charged to the pitcher - and a two-base error on the throw, it’s easy to see how the inning could have unfolded in another way, with the Braves perhaps only scoring two runs. On the other hand, two runs would still have been problematic for the D-backs. Despite platoon stacking their line-up, Teheran’s slider remained a source of torment for Arizona’s hitters.
The D-backs could, and probably should, have done better in the seventh. A.J. Pollock got only our third hit off Teheran to lead off the inning, but promptly got picked off. I’ll just leave this Tweet here (though it was actually written in reaction to the double-play mentioned above):
That brings the total outs on the bases to approximately 5,834 this season— AZ SnakePit (@AZSnakepit) July 15, 2018
The D-backs actually came into this one, one off the lead for basepath outs in the NL, though that particular metric doesn’t include pickoffs. Looking at that, it’s outs at second-base and home-plate which have been particularly problematic. Anyway, this one proved particularly costly, as Jake Lamb followed with a double and Ketel Marte then walked, chasing Teheran from the game. But instead of the bases loaded and no outs, it was first and second with one out. And this didn’t go much better than the no out version earlier, with Daniel Descalso grounding out, and Steven Souza coming off the bench to
pinch-hit pinch-strikeout for Avila.
Outside of that third inning, Corbin pitched well enough, with just one other hit allowed. He went six innings, with all four runs allowed being earned, despite Lamb’s errors. He walked one and struck out three. The was a season-low K figure for Patrick, the previous fewest being five strikeouts. But this partly reflects the aggressive approach by the Braves, who were typically swinging before getting to two strikes, even though Corbin threw a first pitch strike to just 13 of the 25 hitters he faced. He needed 31 pitches to get through eight Atlanta batters in the third, but the other five innings for Corbin required a total of 61 pitches.
Randall Delgado’s struggles since he returned from the DL continued in the seventh, as he allowed another run. While small sample size warnings apply, in six innings back he has given up four runs, including a pair of homers, and only had a couple of strikeouts. Given his rehab assignment was basically Randall’s “spring training,” it perhaps makes sense he’s still a bit behind hitters who have been seeing pitching for over three months now. But we’ll need him to be better in the second half. Jon Jay’s second homer as a Diamondback did end the shutout of Arizona in the eighth inning, but it was more of a gesture than anything meaningful.
Jorge De La Rosa and Silvino Bracho got their work in, combining for a scoreless eighth before the D-backs went down in the ninth. Descalso was the only batter for Arizona to reach safely more than once, walking in addition to his double. Not quite the momentum with which the team wanted to enter the break, yet a road series win against a team with playoff hopes is not a negligible feat.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
France: Daniel Descalso, +5.4%
Croatia: Patrick Corbin, -18.2% (and -13.5% at the plate)
Get the feeling most commentors were also ready for the All-Star Break, as we managed only 269, with even AzDbackfanInDc falling short of his customary three digits! Present this morning - or afternoon or evening, depending on your time zone! - were: $-The Moneyman-$, AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DBacksEurope, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Michael McDermott, Rockkstarr12, The so-called Beautiful, hotclaws, onedotfive and smartplays. Nothing got more than two recs, so go and enjoy your Gameday Thread free time, and return invigorated and refreshed on Friday night when we resume play against the Colorado Rockies.
We will, however, still be SnakePitting in the meantime, with threads for both the Home-Run Derby and the All-Star Game tomorrow and Tuesday. So, don’t touch that dial [kids, ask your parents!]