On May 29th, 2014 at Chase Field, Josh Collmenter faced the minimum of 27 batters in a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds. He accomplished this despite giving up three hits in the game. I would know because I was at Chase Field sitting on the patio in left field. This historical tidbit has absolutely no relevance to today’s contest, Collmenter is now out of the majors completely, other than anecdotal commentary to contrast with Robbie Ray’s start tonight against the Colorado Rockies. Collmenter needed only 94 total pitches in that start to record 27 outs. Robbie Ray needed 102 pitches tonight, and yet he only recorded 14 outs.
Ray’s opponent this evening on the mound was Jeff Hoffman who carried an ERA north of 8.00 in two previous starts this season. The Rockies drew first blood against Arizona in the bottom of the first in which Ray needed 25 pitches to conclude. The first two Rockies batters, Raimel Tapia and Trevor Story, singled to lead off the inning. Story’s single moved Tapia to third, and Story followed by stealing second base. Tapia scored on a groundout from Mark Reynolds giving Colorado a 1-0 lead at the conclusion of the inning.
Arizona wasted no time erasing the deficit in the second inning. Kevin Cron took the start at first base today and opened up the top of the second with a double to left center. Cron scored all the way from second on a single from Blake Swihart with a slide/barrel roll into home. Nick Ahmed proceeded with a single of his own placing runners at first and second with no outs. Carson Kelly hit a squib shot off the end of his bat down the first base line scoring Swihart. Kelly’s reaction when he reached first base was priceless as he seemed to signal back to the D’backs dugout “whatever works” in disbelief. Arizona would go on to load the bases that inning with two outs, but unfortunately could do no further damage.
That score held until the bottom of the fourth as both Ray and Hoffman completed the third with relative ease. Ray needed only 30 pitches to complete the second and the third innings collectively, but required the same mark for the fourth. He walked the first three batters in the fourth which came back to hurt him as expected in Coors Field. All three of those walks crossed the plate to score on singles from Brendan Rodgers and Jeff Hoffman driving the score 4-2 in Colorado’s favor.
Arizona took one run back in the fifth, although it could have been two. Adam Jones hit a solo home run to left field, but just before him Eduardo Escobar had grounded in a double play erasing Ildemaro Vargas from the basepath. Colorado counter punched in the bottom half of the frame with a run of their own. Robbie Ray was lifted from the game with two outs and runners on the corners in favor of Stefan Crichton. An errant pickoff throw to first base allowed Nolan Arenado to cross home plate making the score 5-3.
The Diamondbacks again pulled within one run in the top of the sixth on another solo home run to left field, this time from Carson Kelly, but that would be the end of scoring for both teams from that point forward. The game was on cruise control for both teams for the final innings moving at a much more brisk pace than earlier in the game. Arizona won two replay challenges, but still dropped this contest by a final score of 5-4. Of particular note was that Eduardo Escobar donned the golden sombrero striking out four times, and Chris Iannetta grounded into three double plays. Adam Jones also struck out three times himself, but Kevin Cron reached base two times with a double on both occasions. You can all thank our lord and emperor Jim for jinxing the D’backs spotless stolen base record in the Month of May. Jarrod Dyson, of all players, was thrown out attempting to steal second in the bottom of the eighth.
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I’m going to go ahead and second this motion. I’ve had about all I can take from Blake Swihart.