Heading into tonight’s game the recent trends for Robbie Ray starts have been high pitch counts, short outings, and a Diamondbacks loss. The first two trends would continue but happily the 3rd would not, as the offense scored early, middle, and late to pick up their errant starter.
The game began with an odd episode. David Peralta was “unavailable” . Nick Piecoro gave us the following explanation:
.@nickpiecoro on David Peralta's absence from both the #Dbacks' lineup tonight and Petco Park entirely: https://t.co/B3tWN70mn5 pic.twitter.com/IgCoquu4tw— azcentral sports (@azcsports) August 18, 2018
This would prove to be a topic for fodder and speculation throughout the game, Torey Lovullo had to work with a short bench all night. In the post game interview, after several proddings from Jody Jackson, Torey finally offered that David was suffering from a “Stomach problem”. Ok.
Moving on to the game, in the top half of the first, Paul Goldschmidt came to the plate with one on and two outs. On the first pitch he saw, a sinker down and over the middle, he hit a towering homerun into the Left Field Bleachers.
When #GoldschmidtHappens ...again!— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 18, 2018
▪️10-game hitting streak
▪️4th HR on the road trip
▪️On base safely in 36 consecutive road games - new team record pic.twitter.com/F3PIxjkqPX
In the second inning the DBacks would score two more, this time employing some small ball and contact hitting for a change. Nick Ahmed singled to center, followed by a hustle double from Ketel Marte on a base hit down the left field line to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Jeff Mathis then punched a base hit into right field past a drawn in infield to score Ahmed. Robbie Ray came up and pushed a bunt past an awkwardly charging Wil Myers for an infield hit that scored Marte, making the score 4-0. Much to DC’s delight, Jon Jay would get in on the act and sacrifice Mathis and Ray over to 2nd and 3rd, but Escobar and Pollock struck out to end the inning.
In the meantime, Robbie Ray got off to a difficult start. Jose Pirela and Wil Myers each draw walks on 9 pitch at bats, both fouling off multiple 2 strike pitches. 18 pitches, two walks, nobody out. Eric Hosmer also reached a full count, grounding out to advance Pirela and Myers. Hunter Renfroe put the first run on the board for San Diego with an RBI groundout to third. However Ray got out of the inning by getting Christian Villanueva to pop out to Jay in left. Frustratingly, the 30 pitch inning set the tone for Ray’s outing.
Two more walks and an RBI single by Eric Hosmer off Robbie’s leg would plate another run for San Diego in the 3rd, and through 4 innings Ray would already be at 97 pitches and clinging to a 5-2 lead.
In the 3rd inning there were some fireworks as Nick Ahmed got ejected arguing balls and strikes. There is no doubt that Nick had a case and a legitimate complaint. James Hoye strike zone was wildly inconsistent. Ball one of the at bat was a sinker on the outside edge of the plate but on the black. Then strike three was a pitch in almost the exact same spot. See pitch numbers 2 & 5 below. Nick’s obvious complaint was that if the first one was a ball, how can the second one be a strike ?
Despite the fact that Nick had a legit beef with the call, he took it too far. Hoye let Ahmed argue for a while, and it was obviously quite heated. Torey eventually got out there and separated Ahmed from the umpire. But as Nick was walking away he yelled something over his shoulder and that was enough for Hoye, who ejected Ahmed. Some felt that since Nick was walking away with his back turned the ump should have let it go. But the argument had gone on long enough, and Ahmed unwisely chose to throw in one last word. With a short bench due to Peralta’s absence and an obviously struggling starter, Torey was none to happy with his shortstop, and that was evident in the post game comments as well. Maybe I’m being too tough on Nick, but I had some harsh comments about this play in the game thread. Under the circumstances, I thought it was very irresponsible. You be the judge:
.@Dbacks @NickAhmed13 not happy with the call and is ejected from the game. pic.twitter.com/0hhZsA9dYo— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 18, 2018
Ray came out to start the 5th but after retiring the leadoff batter, Eric Hosmer hit a contested homerun to left field. This really looked like fan interference, as the guy’s beer was clearly over line and spilling on to Jay and on the warning track. But for some reason New York could not see clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call.
Beer in front of the glove...ruled a home run What do you think? Fan interference or home run? pic.twitter.com/vzbWWvc8LX— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 18, 2018
This marked the end of Ray’s night, as Brad Ziegler came on to finish the inning, with the score at 5-3 and the game still in the balance as we moved on to the 6th. At the time Torey referred to this period of the games as “Neutral Momentum” which was a pretty good description I thought.
With David Peralta nowhere to be found, Zack Greinke pinch hit for the pitchers spot and struck out on 3 pitches. But a Jon Jay single and walks to Eduardo Escobar and Paul Goldschmidt sanwiched around one of AJ Pollock’s 3 strikeouts in the game would bring Steven Souza Jr. to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. And after working the count full hit a beautiful bases clearing double into the right center field gap.
From this point forward, the game would be well in hand. Yoshihisa Hirano restored order by setting down the Padres 1-2-3 in the 6th on just 6 pitches. Jake Diekman allowed a double and a hit batter in his inning, but didn’t allow a run. Eduardo Escobar hit a long homerun in the 8th and Matt Andries allowed a homer to Manuel Margo in the bottom half, but that would close out the scoring, 9-4. The Padres spent the last 4 innings swinging early in counts and mostly making quick outs as they clearly gave up after the Souza double, depsite a few hits off the “B” bullpen.
All in all it was a fun game, with offense early, middle and late. However one can’t help but be concerned with Robbie Ray’s performance echoing almost all the others, and the potentially disruptive issues with Peralta and Ahmed. Hopefully all just tempests in teapots. With the two Zack’s pitching the next two games, the DBacks will look for a series victory and hopefully even a sweep.
King Goldy, 2 for 2, a Homerun and 3 walks +.247
Prince Steven, 3 for 5, YUGE Double, +.174
Pauper 1: AJ Pollock, 0-4, 3K’s, 6 LOB, -.073,
Pauper 2: Robbie Ray 4 1⁄3 IP, 107 pitches, 5 walks, 3 ER -.063
COTD Goes to Kilnborn, who did a better job of recapping the game than I did.
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