Record: 58-48. Pace: 89-73. Change on 2017: -2.
While this was likely premature. tonight’s game had the scent of a blowout early on, as the D-backs jumped out to a four-run lead after two innings. With Patrick Corbin retiring all six batters he had faced, four of them by strikeout, it seemed that would be more than enough offense, even if - as last night - the Arizona bats went quiet for the rest of the game. However, the Padres came back to tie this one up, and the final score doesn’t quite reflect how close this was for the bulk of the game. The Diamondbacks only took the lead with a three-run eighth, and padded their tally with two more in the ninth; our Win Probability was below 50%, for most of the fifth through seventh innings.
The game was billed as a tale of two sliders, with both Corbin and the San Diego starter, Tyson Ross, relying heavily on that pitch. However, Ross had terrible trouble locating that pitch - or, indeed, any of his arsenal. In the second inning, Eduardo Escobar had his first plate-appearance as a Diamondback, and was walked on four straight balls. Ketel Marte took five pitches to achieve the same end result and, although Daniel Descalso had to work a little harder, after eight pitches, he too was trotting down to first base, giving Arizona a golden opportunity to take the league. However, the struggle in bases loaded siutations is real: coming in, we were batting only .198 this season.
That figure will likely look a little better now. I wasn’t expecting much from Jeff Mathis and Patrick Corbin, but each man delivered a nice RBI single. Jon Jay added an RBI groundout, and Paul Goldschmidt went the other way to drive in another run. Although David Peralta brought things to an abrupt halt by grounding into a double-play, his team-leading tenth of the season, Arizona had still taken a 4-0 lead, It felt like that might be enough, because San Diego had been held to four or fewer runs in 12 of their last 15 contests. Corbin had looked very impressive early on, and so I had another helping of ham, and settled in to enjoy the game.
It didn’t quite unfold that way, at least not immediately. The Padres took advantage of some good fortune to get back into the game in the third. They led off with a bloop double which dropped virtually on the line in right field, and one out later, Ross had a lucky swinging bunt which Escobar couldn’t make a tricky barehand play on at third. Both of these baserunners came around, though there was little question about the back to back RBI doubles which scored them, along with another run, pulling the Padres to within one. And that lead evaporated entirely in the next inning on an RBI by Ross: at this point, the pitchers had combined to go 4-for-4 [#NoDesignatedHitters]
The broadcast mentioned the last time two pitchers had multiple hits in the same game, also involved Corbin - against the Pirates in May 2016. It’s surprisingly rare: since the end of 1994, only six times. [B-R.com lists eight, but in two, such as this SF-AZ game in 2001, the “pitcher” with multiple hits was actually a position player - in this case Steve Finlay mopping up in a 13-5 loss!] However, the finest example is this 1938 contest between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Browns. THREE pitchers had two hit games: Starters Joe Vance (NYY) and Fred Johnson (SLB), plus reliever Steve Sundra of the Yankees - who hit a go-ahead HR in the 7th! Pitchers that day went 6-for-8 with a homer and four RBI.
Neither team could score in the fifth, sixth or seventh inning. Though I felt certain the Padres were going to do so in the sixth, when with one out, a high pop up behind second fell to the grass for a double after Descalso and Marte lost it in the sky. Corbin regrouped to strand the runner there, and that was the end of his day. He went six innings, and was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks, with eight strikeouts. I’d have said he deserved a better line than that, with his slider making some of the Padres’ hitters look very foolish. But we had a well-rested bullpen, and I was hopeful they’d keep San Diego at bay.
That’s certainly what happened in the seventh, as Archie Bradley chewed them up and spat them out on eight pitches. The offense then showed up in the eighth, beginning with a Descalso single. Mathis sacrificed him over and a wild pitch and walk to pinch-hitter Chris Owings put runners on the corners with one out. Padres’ manager Andy Green went to his new (post-Brad Hand trade) closer Kirby Yates, whose middle name is “Kali”. He certainly destroyed any San Diego hopes of victory, as Jon Jay banged a two-run double into the right-field corner, and Paul Goldschmidt followed with an RBI single, making it 7-4 to Arizona.
Mathis and fellow catcher Alex Avila had RBI doubles in the ninth, extending the lead even further and allowing Torey Lovullo to send Andrew Chafin in for the ninth instead of Brad Boxberger. Probably for the best, I’d say. Chafin put up a zero, and the D-backs had secured a series win, with the chance to go for the sweep tomorrow. They banged out fifteen hits: three by Jay, while Escobar, Descalso and Mathis all reached base three times, on two hits and a walk; Goldschmidt and Corbin had two hits.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Woodstock: Daniel Descalso, +26.8%
Lollapalooza: Jay, +19.5%; Mathis, +13.6%
Altamont: A.J. Pollock, -10.9%
Just over 400 comments in the Gameday Thread. Those present were: AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, ShirtOffYourBack, aldma, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, kilnborn, onedotfive, smartplays and suroeste. Just the one red comment, belonging to kilnborn who shows a refreshing zero tolerance policy for #PitchersWhoCantBunt
The Dodgers and Rockies both won, so no change either in the NL West or in the wild-card standings, as the Brewers also were victorious. Arizona will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon at Petco, behind Clay Buchholz, with first pitch a little after 1pm, Arizona time.