Record: 65-54. Pace: 88-74. Change on 2017: -1.
While Arizona still lost the series, there’s a moral victory here as well as the actual one, because they outscored Cincinnati in total, 12-11. The Diamondbacks hit a season-high five home-runs on the road, to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Reds. [Arizona previously scored five at Chase in the 20-5 pounding of the Padres, and six on June 1 as they beat the Marlins 9-1] The final margin doesn’t necessarily reflect the game as a whole, since most of those home-runs came in a four-run ninth inning. Eduardo Escobar, Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta all went deep in the fun-sized environment of Great American Ball Park, adding to earlier home-runs off the bats of Daniel Descalso and Goldschmidt.
Still, this was a much-needed win for Arizona, who had been held to a total of three runs over the first two games. They matched that tally in the first inning this afternoon. Jon Jay led off with a single, after fouling off four consecutive 0-2 pitches, and David Peralta worked a one-out walk. Daniel Descalso then became the sixth member of the D-backs to reach double-digits in home-runs, depositing a pitch onto the grass beyond the center field wall for a three-run homer. That tied Descalso’s career high in homers, set last season [In case you’re wondering, next in line to join the 10 HR club would be John Ryan Murphy, but he has been stuck on nine home-runs since June 24]
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Zack Godley let the Reds get on the board in the second. They got back-to-back singles to start off the frame, though Godley responded with a K for the first out. He then should have been out of the inning, with a ground-ball to Goldschmidt starting a double-play. But Godley, covering first, couldn’t handle Nick Ahmed’s throw, and it clanked off his glove and into the camera well. Initially scored as an error on Ahmed, this was rightfully changed to being on Godley - another case of the sloppy fundamentals we’ve seen a bit too often from the team this series. Another K let Zack escape further damage, the second inning ending with the score now 3-1 to Arizona.
Cincinnatti then pulled to within one, their next time up. With one out, a pitch was laced down into the right-field corner, where it got hung up under an overhang, and by the time Jay could dig it out, the runner was on third. A Joey Votto sacrifice fly scored the run, making it 3-2, and precipitating the most nervous section of the game for Arizona fans. Because Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo had settled in to a very nice groove after the Descalso home-run. He retired the next 13 Diamondbacks in a row through the end of the fifth, six of them by strikeout. It seemed only a matter of time before the Reds would scratch across another run, and we’d have ourselves a brand new ballgame.
Praise be to Goldy, it didn’t come to that. Instead, in the top of the sixth, Jay singled and Goldschmidt followed up with his 25th home-run of the season (above). He has hit longer home-runs this season - this one went only 377 feet - but probably not too many higher, with an impressive launch angle of 39 degrees. By the time it landed in the third row of the seats, it was just about coming down vertically. This two-run shot restored the lead, making it 5-2, and allowed a bit more breathing room for Godley. The Reds still got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, but Zack rolled up a double-play to keep them from responding.
He batted for himself in the sixth, and was eventually lifted in the seventh, after giving up a two-out single. Godley had been economical, needing fewer than a hundred pitches (98) to get through 6.2 innings. He allowed six hits and a walk, with six strikeouts, and just one earned run. Over his last eight outings (including the emergency relief appearance), Zack is undefeated, his ERA is 2.42, and his K:BB is back on track, at 54:11 over 44.2 innings of work. Quite a turnaround, given his K:BB over the eight outings before that was a far worse 43:27 in 40 innings, with a 6.75 ERA. Right now, I’d say he was the team’s clear #3 starter, behind Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin.
The bullpen was solid the rest of the way - if only this had been yesterday’s game, with Brad Ziegler, Yoshihisa Hirano and Matt Andriese combining for 2.1 innings of one-hit shutout ball, with no hits and two strikeouts. Meanwhile, the offense exploded to pad the final score in the ninth. First, Escobar, double-switched in for Descalso, hit his second home-run for Arizona, a two-run shot; one out later, Goldschmidt got #26, and Peralta followed with his 21st of the year. Goldy ended the afternoon with three hits and three RBI; Jay and Descalso had two hits apiece; and Peralta reached base three times on a hit and two walks.
Fun with small sample sizes— AZ SnakePit (@AZSnakepit) August 12, 2018
Manny Machado with the Dodgers: .264/.343/.407 = .750 OPS
Eduardo Escobar with the D-backs: 326/.358/.565 = .923 OPS
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Julius Caesar: Daniel Descalso, +22.5%
Mark Anthony: Godley, +19.7%; Goldschmidt, +14.3%
Cleopatra: A.J. Pollock, -9.1%
Those present in the Gameday Thread were: AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, DORRITO, DeadManG, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Johnneu, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, UofALifer, asteroid, coldblueAZ, onedotfive, smartplays, suroeste and that_tall_fella. Comment of the thread to Mr. Gloomy of late, Michael, for being completely wrong:
Or “not”. “Not” works too... The win means the D-backs will maintain at least a tie for first place, pending the outcome of the Dodgers-Rockies game at Coors Field. The Colorado has blown another lead - this is my unsurprised face - and it’s currently tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. As for the Diamondbacks, they fly on to start the other half of their two-and-two set with the Texas Rangers tomorrow. That sees Zack Greinke, who’ll be facing Bartolo Colon: sadly, neither man will get to hit, this being in an AL park! First pitch is at 5:05pm Arizona time.