Record: 38-39. Pace: 80-82. Change on 2018: -6.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Diamondbacks were already 6-0 down, because Taylor Clarke couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS and a goddamn neon sign. And when we finally achieve the miraculous, almost unprecedented feat of getting a hit with a runner in scoring position, it came at the expense of arguably our MVP so far, Ketel Marte. For he pulled up lame half way between home-plate and first-base, and had to leave the game, after limping his way to the bag. You’d have been forgiven if, at that point, you’d turned off, not just the game, but the entire Diamondbacks’ season. Consign it to the overflowing trash-can of lost sporting causes in the valley.
In moments like this, I turn to the great philosopher, John Cleese:
And tonight, the D-backs chose to give us hope. They clawed their way back from the six-run deficit to pull within one run by the end of the fourth. It might have even been better, except for Adam Jones running his way into a TOOTBLAN for the final out, when we would otherwise have had the tying-run on third base. I’m rapidly going off Jones, who seems to run like a wounded sloth, and also hit into his 10th double-play of the year already, the most through 77 games here since Aaron Hill had eleven in 2014. Then, after T.J. McFarland had kept Arizona in the game with three zeroes, Matt Andriese had an 0-2 count with two outs in the seventh. The Giants then scored four runs before the third out was finally recorded.
Yeah, it’s not the despair: it’s the hope. Four games ago, we were tied with the Rockies, two games back in the wild-card and with no-one else sitting between us and the occupants of those two spots. Since Monday, we’ve dropped back behind, not just the Rockies, but also the Cardinals and... goddamn it, even the Padres. We’re level with the Nationals and half a game up on the Reds. Mike Hazen made it clear earlier in the week that treading water in this stretch was not enough. What the team has done since is less treading water, and more like an impression of what happens to mob snitches in the Hudson River. This team couldn’t have sunk faster if there were cinder blocks involved.
Issues start with the rotation, where it’s rapidly becoming clear that Clarke is not ready for prime-time. After an efficient first - on the D-backs side, naturally involving the offense stranding a one-out triple - the Giants got on the board with a two-run home-run in the second. And Clarke completely melted down in the third, loading the bases without SF having to get a hit, on a HBP and two walks, before Alex Dickerson made up for lost time with a grand-slam. Somehow, it was deemed a good idea to precede tomorrow’s bullpen game with a starter whose last four outings had totaled 15 innings. And tonight, he came in below that feeble average, allowing six runs over three innings, on seven hits and two walks.
Clarke’s ERA is now 6.48, and his line of the last five starts is almost epicly awful:
Taylor Clarke: 18 IP, 28 H, 21 R, 20 ER, 8 BB, 20 SO, 10.00 ERA
Matters were not helped by Andriese’s conspicuous inability to get the third out, wasting a rare good outing from T.J. McFarland. Andriese allowed both inherited runners to score, in the seventh inning along with two more on his own merit. Archie Bradley worked the eighth, and chipped in by allowing the Giants to score a run on a hit and a walk: all three relievers used this evening by the Diamondbacks ended the night with ERAs of above five. You’ll understand I don’t understand why Jimmie Sherfy is in Reno and Rubby De La Rosa is packing his bags for Japan. Apparently, this bullpen is just fine, thanks.
I was going to say something about letting the offense off tonight, since they did total ten hits, with two for Marte before he left the game, and two for Carson Kelly, just missing a home-run to the deepest part of the ball-park in our four-run fourth. Jarrod Dyson had a hit, a walk and stole a base, while Ildemaro Vargas had a hit and a walk after coming in to replace Marte. They even showed some fight, loading the bases with one out in the ninth, and forcing the Giants to bring in their closer. Again: it’s not the despair, it’s the hope. Six pitches later, the game was over, David Peralta and Adam Jones having each struck out, with one foul ball between them ON SIX PITCHES OUT OF THE ZONE.
Here are Peralta’s trio of three miserable swinging strikes, none of which made any contact. Mrs. SnakePit observed we’d have done considerably better sending up tomorrow’s David Peralta bobblehead to the plate.
There was some good news, in that Marte’s departure from the game turned out to be precautionary, and the result of a cramp, rather than anything more serious. But this is seriously on the level of “Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” Tonight was the last Diamondbacks game I’ll be watching for a while, because I fly back to Scotland tomorrow, for a week with the family. But even if I was in the country, I would be severely disinclined to watch the poor excuse for baseball which this team has provided over the last five games. If you can’t find better entertainment than this abysmal display, I’ll happily send you my Netflix credentials.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Oscar Wilde: Ildemaro Vargas, +10.8%
Ellen DeGeneres: Ketel Marte, +10.0%
Jeffrey Dahmer: Taylor Clarke, -34.1%
Aileen Wuornos: Andriese, -17.2%; Escobar, -11.7%
The poor, unfortunate souls present in the Gameday Thread for this one were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, DeadManG, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, JoeCB1991, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, kilnborn and onedotfive. Nothing got more than two recs, which is considerably more than the game as a whole. Tomorrow, the same two teams face off, with a 7:10 pm first pitch. Oh, goody: it’s a Zack Godley start. Fortunately, I’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic, probably next to a shrieking child with restless leg syndrome. And I’ll still be better off.