Tonight’s contest meant relatively nothing for the Arizona Diamondbacks other than final record and draft position, but it was critically important to the postseason chances of both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies. For that reason, it was a must win to prevent the Dodgers from playing baseball in October and send their troll fans to bed in tears instead of blowing up my Twitter mentions at 1:00 A.M. because they have no lives, and I absolutely love run-on sentences when I have the opportunity to insult those crybabies. You mad?
Matt Koch took the hill for his 14th start on the MLB season and was solid yet unspectacular at the same time, as he has been for much of the year. 6 of his 13 outs recorded were of the ground ball variety including two double plays. Torey Lovullo pulled Koch from the game with 1 out in the 5th inning having only thrown 68 pitches, afforded the luxury of relying on his bullpen for the second half of the game due to expanded rosters. The only run Koch allowed was a solo home run to Cody Bellinger in the 2nd inning. Beyond that, the other 7 baserunners he allowed outside of the home run, 4 hits and 3 walks, were scattered effectively to prevent any further Dodger scum runs.
Inexplicably, Arizona managed to string together baserunners with two outs in the bottom of the 6th and plate them as well. Jon Jay singled to spark the inning followed by a walk from Ketel Marte. David Peralta laced a double to right center field scoring both men giving Arizona a 2-1 lead.
With the game tied at 2, Arizona was able to load the bases with one out in bottom of the 7th. A.j. Pollock singled and was advanced to third on a loud double from Chris Owings. Pollock nearly blew through Tony Perezchica’s stop sign at third base, but caught himself a third of the way to home. Dave Roberts elected to intentionally walk pinch hitter Eduardo Escobar to load the bases with only a single out. As we’ve seen time and again this season, the D’backs were unable to bust the game wide open scoring only a single run in the inning on a single from Ildemaro Vargas taking a 3-2 lead.
D’backs fans got a look at what half of next season’s bullpen could look like. Jimmie Sherfy, Silvino Bracho, and Yoan Lopez combined to throw 3 1⁄3 innings giving up 3 hits and 1 earned run on 4 strikeouts. Sherfy didn’t allow a single batter faced to reach base, and Lopez provided quite the show we’ve been anticipating in the 8th. After giving up a leadoff double to Manny Machado, Lopez got Bellinger to fly out, and then proceeded to strikeout Yasiel Puig and Alex Verdugo. Yoan was understandably fired up after striking out Verdugo to end the inning, approaching 100 mph, and did not hesitate to show his emotion on the mound.
After Lopez gave up a lead-off double to Machado, he strikes out Bellinger, Puig and Verdugo to end the threat. pic.twitter.com/hWDmb83JOC— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 26, 2018
Machado appeared to be irked by the gesture and stared Lopez down as he walked back to the dugout. Personally, I am a fan of the display as it is something this team has been lacking severely at times especially recently. Think of how far Lopez has had to come to reach this point in his career. Defecting to America from Cuba, the enormous expectations heaped on him, leaving the minor leagues unannounced, and not to mention a horrendous MLB debut in Houston earlier this month. It was a tremendous moment for him tonight, however small it may seem to us, for this young man. Don’t like him showing you up on the mound? Don’t let him beat you after putting a runner in scoring position with no outs.
That set the stage for Brad Boxberger to earn his first save since September 7th, but sooner or later Box is gonna let you down. Okay, it wasn’t entirely his fault, but still. After getitng ahead in the count 0-2 to Enrique Hernandez to begin the top of the 9th, Hernandez reached first on a single. He stole second during the next at bat, but catcher Chris Stewart’s pickoff attempt sailed wide well into the outfield allowing Hernandez to take third. He scored on a ground rule double from pinch hitter Chris Taylor tying the game at 3.
Some things never change, but this game was not destined to end as so many had earlier in the month. Tonight we were reminded of the opportunity the Arizona Diamondbacks had coming into the month, but pissed away every chance they got. Rather than lay down, die, and take the loss, Eduardo Escobar put an end to it with one swing of the bat, a solo home run to right field on a full count for the walk off victory. It meant nothing for Arizona, but everything to the Rockies and the Dodgers. For fans like me, it was a painful reminder of what could have been.
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That’s a wrap on the 2018 season for me friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my recaps this season as much as I’ve had writing them. I appreciate your membership to this blog. As always, special thanks to Jim for giving us access to your castle and the opportunity to contribute. It’s a tragedy things had to end as they have this season, but that’s why we play the game. Stick around through the offseason as we as a staff discuss what the hell went wrong and where to go from here.