Two successful youngsters toed the rubber in this one, with the D-backs Luke Weaver facing off against Mike Soroka. Soroka has had a superb rookie debut so far in 2019, owning just a 1.14 ERA through his first 4 starts of the year, on the back of excellent strikeout numbers and a Brandon Webb-like 59% GB rate. Luke Weaver has been just as good, owning a 3.29 ERA and having the same 3-1 record early in the season.
Weaver is coming off an excellent start in Colorado and continued that run in the 1st, punishing an overaggressive Braves team with a 10-pitch 1st, including one strikeout and couple of weak fly balls. He ran into trouble the next inning, after Ronald Acuna doubled off the wall in CF. A grounder moved the runner over and a Dansby Swanson walk put runners on the corners with only 1 out but he induced a grounder from the molasses-slow Brian McCann to get out of the inning with no damage.
The offense would have numerous chances to put runs on the board in this one, putting a runner in scoring position in each of the first 6 innings against Soroka, but most of those were with 2 outs. They capitalized in the 2nd after a leadoff triple from Christian Walker, with Wilmer Flores grounding out to second to score the run, giving the D-backs a short-lived 1-0 lead.
The Braves responded in turn. After Inciarte took a pitch to the back of the arm, Ozzie Albies drove a pitch deep to center field. Inciarte scored easily on the play and a nice throw from Dyson after it ricocheted awkwardly off the wall got Albies at third base.
Luke Weaver went on a roll after that run scoring double, retiring 9 straight Braves’ batters before allowing a 2-out single in the 6th to Freeman. Acuna followed that with a shot of his own to deep right field, pushing Adam Jones deep to make this fantastic play on the ball.
Weaver went out for the 7th inning and did his job, using 15 pitches to get 3 outs to end his day with this line.
The D-backs offense struggled all night to say the least, as mentioned before they could not get the clutch hit when it mattered. With runners in scoring position:
Peralta grounded out in the 3rd.
Carson Kelly struck out in the 4th.
Peralta grounded out and Jones flied out in the 5th.
Kelly grounded into a double play in the 6th.
Jones flied out to right field in the 7th.
Ahmed ground out and Swihart fly out in the 8th
Matt Andriese got the first call in the bullpen and was great, erasing the Braves in order in the 8th. Unfortunately Greg Holland was not. With 2 strikes on Josh Donaldson, he served up this meatball slider right down the middle.
He quickly got out of the inning, but the damage was done. 2-1 Braves.
The D-backs had their last opportunity in the top of the inning with the top of the order, but there was no bite, with Jarrod Dyson striking out, Escobar grounding out. Of course, that was until David Peralta clobbered a hanging curveball from Luke Jackson deep into right field. And when I say deep, I mean deep.
Adam Jones kept the inning alive, smashing a single past Swanson at short. Walker well, walked and again, the D-backs had a runner in scoring position. Of course they would strand the runner, after Flores popped out to second to end the inning. 2-2.
Extras meant newly recalled Jon Duplantier on the mound and he was shaky. He started fine, with a line out to get out #1. But a line smash from McCann ate up Escobar at short. Another HBP followed, but a Tyler Flowers strike out gave the D-backs two outs. And Duplantier delivered, stirking out Albies with the game on the line.
The D-backs had their bottom of the order up in the bottom of the 10th, with Ahmed leading off. He walked and Kelly followed with a sharp single to center, moving Ahmed to 3rd. Ketel Marte entered the game on a double switch, taking the pitchers spot in the batting order and delivered. With the infield in, this normally simple play turned difficult and it fell in for a single, scoring Ahmed from 3rd and giving the D-backs the win 3-2.
☆☆☆ - DAVID PERALTA (2 for 5, Game Tying HR in 9th) +.428 WPA
☆☆ - Luke Weaver (7IP, 1ER, 6Ks) +.328 WPA
☆ - Jon Duplantier (1IP, 2Ks) +.137 WPA
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309 comments for a Thursday game, but it was a pretty uneventful one at that. Thankfully the team pulled out the win. The D-backs and Braves clash again tomorrow at 6:40PM. Maybe we’ll not leave 13 runners in scoring position like we did tonight.