Robbie Ray did his job on the mound. The offense found a way to get to Dallas Keuchel. The Arizona bullpen was rock solid. The defense played cleanly, turning a key double-play in the first inning. With all facets of the game coming together, Arizona pulled out a major way in Houston in their quest for October baseball.
After scoring two in the first inning, the Diamondbacks’ scoring was shut down going into the eighth inning. With two outs in the inning and Nick Ahmed standing out on second base, Jon Jay swatted a broken-bat flare down the right field line, beating the outfield shift and scoring Ahmed. Jay wound up at third, on the play and was brought home by A.J. Pollock one batter later.
THe Diamondbacks spotted Robbie Ray a two-run lead before he took the mound in the first inning. Unfortunately for Arizona, Ray’s command of the zone, especially inside to right-handed hitters was not sharp. This resulted in Ray loading the bases before allowing two to score as he worked his way out of the jam. Then Ray settled in and only needed 16 pitches to get the next six outs in clean innings of work. The dominance continued until he had one out in the fifth. Then a pair of Houston batters forced Ray into nine-pitch at-bats, forcing Lovullo to turn to Archie Bradley and the bullpen.
After working his way back from injury and establishing a strong case for comeback player of the year, Clay Buchholz is now being shut down for the remainder of the season with a flexor strain in his right elbow. This has to come as a crushing blow to the talented righty who was quite possibly on the verge of both making the playoffs and inking a new MLB contract worth some hefty cash.
Anyone who has been paying attention here at the Pit has been hearing this number since the end of April. Diamondbacks relievers are the most-used group of arms in baseball, and it isn’t particularly close. Torey Lovullo chalks this up to the number of close and meaningful games the team has played this year and insists the coaching staff is monitoring the numbers. However, fans around the world can tell by simply watching the games being played that fatigue has settled in.
After the blazing-hot start that, for a single day, gave the Diamondbacks a share of the best record in baseball, they were supposed to be the team that, for the first time in 16 years, made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Then May happened. Then the last two weeks happened. Now the Diamondbacks and their fans are on the verge of hosting home games on the road for the Cubs and Dodgers as the season comes to an end, with the Diamondbacks facing the very real threat of a complete tear-down, their overall season labelled a failure.
The Diamondbacks now sit 3.5 games out in both of the playoff races.
There are a ton of issues which both sides of the bargaining table need to address in the next CBA. It’s time to let the professional contract-negotiators take over the room to get those things done.
The arrival of Marinez in Boston is the biggest change for the Red Sox between last year and this one, a season where they are trying to make history. Ignore that impact in discussions about the MVP, and things gets testy. That said, Martinez is doing his best to separate himself from what is basically a three-man race with Mookie Betts and mike Trout also trying to claim the award.
Yoshihisa Hirano has less than zero chance of actually winning this award, but it sure was nice to see him get some recognition anyway.