Ah daytime baseball. A time to enjoy the sun and America’s Pastime. Except when you’re 3 hours away and the game starts at 9am. Fortunately for the D-backs, Luke Weaver was ready to go. Of course, it helps when the offense stakes you to an early run.
It’s safe to say Wilmer Flores has struggled since joining the D-backs for the 2019 season. A slash line of 213/.260/.277 indicates he isn’t doing much at the plate and with just a single RBI, it’s not been easy going. He started out today’s game well, lining a single to center to put a runner on early. David Peralta followed with a single and after a wild pitch, an Adam Jones groundout scored Flores from 3rd for that early 1-0 lead.
Weaver was just magical throughout the early innings. With plus command of both his fastball, which reached upwards of 97 today, and his excellent change-up, the Braves had little answers for him.
A 1-out single from Johan Camargo in the first was sandwiched by 3 strikeouts, with Inciarte, Freeman and Acuna all going down swinging. The 2nd saw less fanfare, with a leadoff walk left stranded there because of 3 straight outs, by flyout, strikeout and groundout. The 3rd inning was less eventful, as a 2-out Camargo single was all the Braves could muster. Weaver’s pitch count was concerning, even though the innings were relatively short, he was inefficient and closing in on 60 pitches through his 3 innings of work. Dominant, but a cause for concern.
The offense had their chances to score in the early goings, but failed to do so. Flores doubled in the 3rd, and moved to third on a groundout from Peralta. After a walk by Jones, Christian Walker struck out to end the threat.
Weaver saw his first real trouble of the day in the 4th, as Ronald Acuna and Dansby Swanson both singled around an out to put a runner in scoring position. Ho hum for Weaver, as he’d strike out both Tyler Flowers and Ender Inciarte to end the inning.
Flores again reached in the D-backs half of the 5th inning, and Peralta followed with a double. Unfortunately, Flores is slow as molasses and stayed at third. Jones was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Walker. He struck out for the 3rd time in as many at-bats and Marte grounded out to end the bases loaded threat.
Weaver’s last inning was by far his most dominant, needing just 12 pitches to strike out the side in order. His closing line was 5IP, allowing 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 Cardinals batters. He was in line to win his first MLB start since July. That possibility was thin, with the offense only able to produce one single run, despite many chances to do so.
Christian Walker finally got a chance at redemption in the 7th. After a one out single from Adam Jones, he stepped up and capitalized.
That blast gave the team some breathing room, giving the D-backs a 3-0 lead. They wouldn’t stop there, as Locastro walked and stole 2nd then reached 3rd on an error by Camargo, putting runners on the corners for Nick Ahmed. He would line a ground-rule double to left, giving the D-backs a nice 4-0 cushion.
Yoan Lopez, Andrew Chafin, Matt Andriese and Yoshihisa Hirano did well in relief, allowing only a single homer from Freddie Freeman in the 8th to give us our final score of 4-1. They struck out 4 in their 4 innings of combined work.
☆☆☆ - LUKE WEAVER (5IP, 9Ks, 1ER) +.304 WPA
☆☆ - Tim Locastro (1 for 2, 1BB, 1HBP, 1SB) +.111
☆ - Wilmer Flores (2 for 4, 1R) +.088 WPA
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An unusually spry Thursday game, although I suspect the early start has something to do with it, with most of us squeezing in a broadcast while we work. I know I’m guilty of that. Comment of the thread goes to suroeste for the astute observation of probably Kevin Towers favorite player.
After the series sweep in Atlanta, the D-backs take the quick flight to Chicago for another mid-day game, this time at 11:20am. Thankfully it’s a Friday and I’m sure we’ll be tuning into that one as well. Enjoy the rest of the day after a great win!