Taylor Clarke took Zack Godley’s spot in the rotation on Tuesday to face off against one of the best team in baseball. To his credit, he pitched without fear and came right after Tampa Bay’s bats. Sure, their first batter homered. After that, Clarke cruised through six innings, allowing only one more run to score. He only struck out two, but didn’t walk any. He matched his scouting report as a pitcher who fills the zone and simply keeps hitters off balance with location. Unfortunately, Arizona’s offense provided no real support and then the bullpen had a rough night. After Clarke did his job, Yoshi Hirano and Matt Andriese combined to give up four more runs in 1 2⁄3 innings of work, rendering the two home runs Arizona managed in the ninth, mostly pointless.
Clarke’s first pitch of the game was turned around by Brandon Lowe and sent an estimated 405 feet the other direction and over the center field wall. With that out of the way, Clarke settled in and managed to keep Tampa Bay off balance. Pitching with runners on did not seem to bother him. The only other run he allowed scored in the fourth inning during the turning of a ground ball double-play. Clarke recorded 11 ground ball outs, against only three fly outs. He’s going to need to keep that up to have continued success, but if he can do it against Tampa Bay’s lineup, one has to like his chances of sticking around for a while.
Despite Taylor Clarke’s best efforts, Arizona still wound up with the loss on Tuesday evening. Arizona’s offense was mostly absent for a second game in a row and Arizona’s bullpen proved unable to keep the Rays’ bats in check once Clarke exited the game after six full innings.
Alex Avila caught for a second consecutive day and appears to be nearing the point of ready to return to action. The Diamondbacks are going to have a difficult decision to make once he does return. Of the non-starter position players, only Ildemaro Vargas and Carson Kelly have options remaining and the two of them are key pieces in the team’s positional flexibility and catching core.
We all know the story by now, but it’s nice to see others are picking up on Arizona’s new first baseman. Christian Walker is making the most of his fifth go-around as a rookie, grabbing the opportunity with both hands and making a case for NL ROY.
Trevor Bauer has been known to rub plenty of people the wrong way over the years. That still doesn’t excuse the poor taste shown by Twitter followers who sent him death threats following his poor outing against the White Sox on Monday. I guess his only giving up 13 runs across his seven full starts previous to that game weren’t enough to satisfy these ill-mannered goons.
Even if the Baltimore Orioles were to throw a switch and suddenly become a league average team with regard to surrendering home runs for the rest of the season, they would still be on pace to finish only five short of the record for home runs allowed in a season. If they stay on the current pace, they’ll break the record by leaps and bounds.