Record: 72-58. Pace: 90-72. Change on 2017: 0.
The SnakePit’s record at Chase Field over the past few years has been... less than stellar, shall we say. It seems that almost every time we have been in attendance, we’ve left muttering something along the lines of “We’ll get ‘em next time.” There were a couple of moments which bookended this one, when we seriously thought today’s game was going to go the same way. But in the end, the D-backs came away with a victory that, combined with the Cardinals’ pounding of the Rockies at Coors Field, left Arizona once again in sole possession of first place in the NL West.
This was preceded by a get-together at the Rose & Crown on 7th Street, because we were attending the game courtesy of the asteroids. Unfortunately, illness prevented Mr. asteroid from making it out, but thanks to all of the SnakePit attendees: myself and Mrs. SnakePit; asteroid; Jack Sommers; coldblueAZ, edbigghead and edbigghead jr; JoeCB1991; smartplays; ElCooCooi and Rockkstarr12. Absent due to an epidemic of car trouble of one kind or another: Songbird; GuruB and Wesley Baier. We poured one out in their absence. A million thanks as ever to the asteroids for their generosity, which as ever rendered the result almost irrelevant, since we had the pleasure of hanging out with cool peeps.
There was a slight bit of static on the way in to the ballpark, as they wouldn’t accept the printed versions of our e-tickets, and we had to drag asteroid back to present the electronic versions instead. Who knew? We do, now, apparently. :) Still, we arrived in time to see the first pitch from Zack Greinke... on which Mitch Haniger reached base as a result of a Ketel Marte error, his throw leaving Paul Goldschmidt unable to apply the swipe tag. Yes, that man Haniger. While the trade certainly seemed to make sense at the time, and Haniger had done nothing much here to make us think he would become an All-Star only 18 months later... He’d be a cheap alternative to A.J. Pollock next year, for sure.
After getting the next two outs, Greinke was able to escape damage, allowing back-to-back singles that allowed Haniger to score an unearned run, and gave Seattle an early lead. The Arizona offense did not have their hitting shoes on early against opposing pitcher Mike Leake, with the first two innings seeing the D-backs go down in order. Greinke had at least settled down a bit, although he walked former team-mate Chris Herrmann. Actually, Greinke issued two walks today. Both of these were to Herrmann. which was impressive (for some loose definition of “impressive”) since the Worm had managed a total of two walks since July 5.
Just was we were getting ready to warm up our concern, the D-backs put up one of their patented big innings. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but it certainly feels as if Arizona has scored more than their expected number of runs this season, in frames with three or more crossing home-plate. Today was no exception, 100% of their total scoring being done over the space of two outs in the third inning. After Ketel Marte lined out, Jeff Mathis got things started with a single, and Greinke followed up with a hit of his own. A Jay bloop loaded the basis, and Pollock leveled the scores, with a sacrifice fly deep enough to center for even Mathis to make it home from third. Greinke also tagged up and advanced.
What turned out to be the key at-bat of the game followed, David Peralta stepping up with runners on the corners and two out. A perfectly placed nubber back up the middle, with an estimated exit velocity of eleven miles per hour, squirted just under the glove of the Mariners’ infielder; he was able to reach base, and Greinke scored the go-ahead run. That bit of luck extended the inning for Goldschmidt, whose hit was the exact opposite. The crack as it left the bat - I want that for a ringtone - left little or no doubt it was gone, and so it proved, its distance estimated at 432 feet. It was Goldy’s 30th home-run of the season, and meant Arizona had gone from zero runs and bases empty to tacos in just 14 pitches.
That proved to be all the support Zack would need, and he settled in. Greinke was eventually lifted after 6.2 innings, with two men on base. He allowed only the unearned run in the first, giving up five hits and those two walks to Herrmann, with six strikeouts. Andrew Chafin came in and tidied up the mess - without even walking a batter - and Archie Bradley needed only eight pitches for his eighth inning. But the drama was not over, as it was Yoshihisa Hirano’s turn to struggle today. He faced three batters, and didn’t retire any of them, on a pair of singles and an error in left by Peralta, which allowed the Mariners to score their second tally, and get the tying run to the plate.
Torey Lovullo went to Brad Boxberger - after last night’s shaky outing, the crowd was understandably nervous, and it didn’t help that he started off by walking Nelson Cruz, to put the tying run on base [Though as Jack pointed out, Cruz’s numbers versus Boxberger were so good that a walk was not the worst outcome] Haniger then lined out to Eduardo Escobar at third for the first out, though Escobar couldn’t quite reach third for the double-play. But Robinson Cano followed by hitting into a double-play to give Brad his 29th save, and seal a very necessary win. With the Rockies being mauled, the D-backs have a one-game lead in the National League West once more.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
60" flat-screen: Zack Greinke: +18.1%
4K High-def: Goldschmidt, +18.0%; Boxberger, +17.7%
7" B&W Portable: Yoshihisa Hirano, -15.9%
A little quiet in the GDT, but I think quite a number of our regular participants were actually at the park, though I do see a few were popping in from Chase! Present were: AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, ElCooCooi, GuruB, Jackwriter, Justin27, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, Sprankton, UofALifer, asteroid, onedotfive and smartplays. Comment of the thread to Michael, if only because I made exactly the same joke at the ballpark. Great minds... :)
The D-backs now hit the road, for a key week (but aren’t they all, to be honest?) of games in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Patrick Corbin starts for Arizona tomorrow night.