Record: 48-39, Pace: 89-73. Change on 2017: -5.
Yoshihisa Hirano’s 26-game scoreless streak was snapped in no uncertain fashion, as he was charged with four runs as part of a five-run seventh inning for St. Louis. However, only one of those runs were earned, thanks to Ketel Marte committing an error on a routing ground-ball. The flood-gates opened subsequently, with Fernando Salas (#AlsoNotAnAmerican) allowing a three-run homer to Yadier Molina on the first pitch after he entered the game, as the D-backs bullpen had one of their worst outings in quite some time. The meltdown left Patrick Corbin with another no decision: over his last three outings, he has a 0.95 ERA (two runs allowed in 19 innings) and a record of 0-0.
However, the D-backs offense should also take their share of blame, wasting plenty of scoring opportunities and managing only two hits with runners in scoring position, compared to the Cardinals’ five, and being held without an extra-base knock, They were not really able to take advantage of uncharacteristic wildness from St. Louis starter Miles Mikolas. He walked four in six innings tonight, one intentionally: as a yardstick, that’s more than he walked over his first seven starts this season combined, covering 46.2 innings. The first inning was a case in point: he walked Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso (matching his season high for walks in a game!) to load the bases for Ketel Marte.
But this may have been a case of the pitcher having the D-backs exactly where he wanted them. Because our futility with bases loaded has become something of a remarkable feat. Coming into tonight, the average NL team bats .243 with ducks on the pond. After Marte lined out to short, the D-backs are now hitting .111 in that situation, having gone 7-for-63. Somehow, they’ve managed to draw a league-leading ten walks, but not even including Marte’s AB, their OPS is a dismal .379, three hundred and twenty-five points below the league average. You’d expect that to turn around eventually, not least because their BABIP is .159. It just didn’t happen tonight.
Meanwhile, Corbin earned the nickname “Stretch” tonight, since he spent so much time pitching out of it. It wasn’t all his fault. The first batter of the game hit a grounder down the first-base line, which then pinged off the bag and right over Goldschmidt’s head for a bad-luck lead-off double. Patrick stranded the runner, and another in the second inning. The third began with the pitcher singling followed by a walk, to put two on with no outs. Corbin escaped that jam too, and one more runner in scoring position in the fourth. By this point, the Cardinals had gone 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position - and the D-backs were 0-for-3, all in the first inning.
St. Louis blinked first, their league-worst defense helping Arizona to score. Jarrod Dyson walked, and was bunted over by Corbin. Jon Jay then singled to right, but Dyson slipped coming round third and had to head back. The throw came in to that base, and Jay attempted to take second. A good throw would have had him dead in the water, but the ball was thrown wildly into the outfield, and Dyson was able to trot home. Jake Lamb then banged an RBI single back up the middle, and the D-backs had a 2-0 lead after four. Corbin couldn’t manage a shutdown inning, as a one-out double and single put the Cardinals on the board, but there was no further damage.
Corbin got through the sixth as well, and left at that point, still in line for the win after a night where he didn’t have his best stuff, but was able to get out the opposing hitters when it was needed most. He went six innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks, with six strikeouts. Nine outs needed, and with a one-run lead, Torey Lovullo’s plan was the same as ever: Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger. That plan lasted two pitches before being rudely derailed, as Hirano’s franchise record 26-game scoreless streak ended with a game-tying home-run, just over the gence into the pool area. Here are the details of the ten longest such streaks for the Diamondbacks.
Scoreless streak in D-backs history
Things went from bad to worse. Marte (who had a horrible night all round) booted a pitch, allowing the runner to reach, and after a groundout, a single to center allowed that man to cross home, giving the Cardinals the lead. Jarrod Dyson left the game on that play, having damaged his groin when he slipped earlier, as well as trying to rob the home-run. He’ll be evaluated tomorrow - but with Steven Souza looming, I would be thoroughly unsurprised by a DL stint. With two on and two outs, Lovullo got Hirano, but Fernando Salas only poured gasoline on the flames, his first pitch being dispatched for a three-run homer. In other, likely related news, Randall Delgado will shortly have to come off the DL...
The Cardinals now led 6-2. Hope flicked briefly as Greg Holland, who saved 41 games for the Rockies last year but now has a 6.75 ERA (something something reliever volatility), failed to retire either batter he faced. Mike Matheny brought in flamethrowing phenom Jordan Hicks, who had been clocked at 105 mph earlier in the year: he was clearly slacking tonight, only reaching 104... More St. Louis defensive indifference helped Arizona push across a couple of runs, making it 6-4, but Salas and Jorge De La Rosa combined and conspired to hand both of them back in the top of the eighth. I repeat: RANDALL DELGADO WILL SHORTLY HAVE TO COME OFF THE DL...
That was pretty much it. Joey Krehbiel worked the last four outs, continuing a decent start to his major-league career. Jay had three hits, coming out of his slump. David Peralta had a pair of hits, Goldschmidt drew a pair of walks and Lamb walked in addition to his single. But with the Dodgers beating the Pirates again, Arizona’s lead is back down to one-half of a game, so there is literally no further margin for error...
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
George Washington: Patrick Corbin, +27.5%
Benjamin Franklin: Descalso, +16.4%; Jay, +13.1%
Benedict Arnold: Yoshihisa Hirano, -34.7%
King George: Salas, -29.9%; Marte, -28.6%
Not sure if the roll-call is working, it seems about a hundred comments short, so apologies if you’re missed off this list of participants: DORRITO, DeadManG, FishOnEmm, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Justin27, Juvi Juice, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Renin, Rockkstarr12, SenSurround, asteroid, edbigghead, lildbackfan21x, rockies5555, shoewizard, smartplays and suroeste. Nothing more than two recs, so we’ll move on, and hope the D-backs can do the same. The Padres come to town for their series tomorrow, Shelby Miller starting there. So, not exactly filled with anticipation for that...
Just on midnight and I finish the recap. Time to start the minor-league round-up!