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Diamondbacks 1, Los Angeles 3: Almost Perfect

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Robbie Ray went seven innings in what was probably his best start of the year, but his opposite number was simply better tonight.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

After our experience with the Dodgers in the first series of the year, I will admit that I was kind of dreading this game a little bit. On the other hand, given how our bats finally woke up and our pitching finally settled down over the weekend against the Mets, I was also guardedly hopeful. The good news: it wasn’t anything like the batting practice we put on for LA back at the beginning of the season; in fact, it was more like a pitcher’s duel, of all things. The bad news: their starter was better than ours, and they came out on top.

Robbie Ray took the mound for his 13th start of the year, and given that he had only gotten through six innings once so far this year, it was easy to imagine yet another game where our bullpen was called in early. Happily, however, that was not the case tonight. Robbie retired the Dodgers in order in the first, needing only 11 pitches to do so. He gave up a leadoff double to David Freese to start the second, and after two fly ball outs, surrendered a bloop single to left to Alex Verdugo. Freese, who is a first baseman these days and runs like one, thought it would be a good idea to try and score from 2nd, only to be gunned down with a stellar throw by the newly-returned and sorely-missed Freight Train, David Peralta:

Ray then continued on by striking out the side in the third. He was through three innings, and had only thrown 36 pitches...honestly, he kinda looked like the Robbie of late 2017. It was nice.

Sadly, Dodgers starter Walker Buehler was steaming along just as effectively, and indeed even more effectively. He retired the Diamondbacks in order the first time through, with nobody reaching base and five Diamondbacks batters striking out.

Then the top of the fourth happened. Ray recorded the first out just fine, getting Enrique Hernandez to fly out to Jarrod Dyson in center. Then Justin Turner singled to center, and, seeming like maybe he was coming a bit unraveled, Robbie walked Freese to put runners on first and second. Corey Seager then took the count full, and on the seventh pitch of the at bat (the longest all game by a Dodger hitter), launched a dinger over the wall in left-center. 3-0 Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks went in order again in the bottom of the fourth, and added two more Ks to Buehler’s total on the day. Needless to say, the Game Day Thread began to mutter about the so-far-perfect game. Boo. On the upside, however, rather than being undone by his bad half-inning, Ray bounced back and set the Dodgers down in order, needing only FIVE pitches to do so. That was nice to see.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the fifth, Adam Jones and Ketel Marte continued paving Buehler’s road to perfection with flyouts to center and to right, respectively. At least they weren’t strikeouts. And then, happily, this happened:

It seems that maybe Walker’s shaken off his slump. Ildemaro Vargas struck out looking to end the inning, but still, we’d broken the perfect game and gotten on the board. 3-1 Dodgers

Meanwhile, Robbie Ray pitched around a one-out single in the sixth, and then another in the seventh, recording another two scoreless innings. That was the end of his night, and but for that one unfortunate pitch to Seager back in the fourth, it was truly a banner night for him. I’ve watched a lot of his starts this season, and I have to say, aside from the one inning he looked better on the mound than he has in a long time. His final line was 7 IP, 6H, 1 BB, 9K. And of, course, the 3 earned runs, sadly.

Buehler, meanwhile, continued to cruise, retiring the Diamondbacks in order in both the sixth and the seventh. He gave up his second hit of the night, finally, in the eighth, when he surrendered a two-out single to Vargas. Nothing came of it, however, as he was stranded by a Carson Kelly strikeout.

Matt Andriese and Andrew Chafin finished up the game for us, and allowed no further damage; Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen replaced Buehler in the bottom of the ninth. He retired the first two he faced—pinch-hitter Tim Locastro and leadoff man Jarrod Dyson—before surrendering a two-out double to Eduardo Escobar that, again, came to naught as Peralta unceremoniously popped out to Turner to end the game.

Win Probability and Whatnot, courtesy of FanGraphs:

It turns out that no Diamondbacks player, with the exception of Matt Andriese, came out of this with a positive WPA, which tells you all you need to know about the game, really. Ah, well. Anyway.

It was a lively and deeply silly Game Day Thread tonight, with the final count being 337 comments and 27 total commenters, the roster of whom is as follows: AZDovs11, AZPerson, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, DORRITO, Dano_in_Tucson, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Hannibal4467, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Rockkstarr12, SenSurround, ShirtOffYourBack, Snake_Bitten, asteroid, edbigghead, gregoswald, kilnborn, onedotfive, smartplays, suroeste

As for the CotG, well...so I might have made a bit of a mistake, in that it my own first post, I encouraged everyone to recommend comments so that I would have a genuine Sedona Red comment to select. Perhaps predictably, everyone started rec-ing my comments, so that I wound up with four of the top five for the night, which was not the intention at all. Good lord, people. But fine.

CotG shouldn’t be awarded to me when I’m writing the recap, but you all gave me no choice. So here it is:

I love you all, and thanks for being a part of a genuinely fun Game Day Thread on a night that didn’t go well for us.

Anyway. That’s all for me. Tune in tomorrow as we try to regain the summit of Mount 500, with Taylor Clarke taking the mound versus Hyun-Jin Ryu. First pitch is once again at 6:40pm Arizona time. As always, thanks for reading. Go Dbacks!