Record: 47-47: Pace: 81-81. Change on 2018: -4
The Cardinals took the lead in the first, though I’d have to say, there were a bit lucky to do so. After Greinke has retired the first two, he then shattered Paul Goldschmidt’s bat with an inside pitch, but Goldy was able to bloop the ball over the infield, dropping it just in front of left-fielder (and birthday boy) Tim Locastro. The next batter then hit a pitch just fair down the left-field line, and it kinda died in the corner there, allowing Goldschmidt to come all the way around from first. Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright had his way in the early going, striking out four of the first six Arizona betters he faced.
The D-backs finally got their first base-runners in the third, but weren’t able to take advantage. Nick Ahmed ended the no-hitter with a lead-off single, and with two outs, Locastro was given a birthday present of a free trip to see Goldschmidt from Wainwright - in the shape of a pitch on the arm, naturally. It was Locastro’s 14th HBP of the season; if you add in the seven he had while with the Reno Aces, the total of 21 would be the most in the majors. Even discounting those, his 14 still already puts Locastro fifth on the all-time single-season franchise list. Justin Upton’s nineteen in 2011 leads the list; if Locastro sticks on the roster the rest of the way, that should be well in reach. But that is an “if”.
The bottom of the third was an unfortunate mix of bad baseball and bad luck. The former category would start with Greinke walking the opposing pitcher to start the inning: while I know Wainwright is a decent hitter, still... Also included, would be Nick Ahmed’s ill-conceived attempt to double Wainwright off first, which sailed over Christian Walker’s head into the Cardinals’ dugout, putting the runner at third. Another hit that was just out of the reach of our infield drove the runner home. Then #GoldschmidtHappenedSadfaceEmoji, in the shape of a two-run homer which stayed fair down the left-field line. Greinke eventually stranded runners on the corner, but was down 4-0 after three innings.
It became 5-0 after four, as the a lead-off double for St. Louis - their eighth hit already off Zack, coming after only nine outs - was followed by small ball. A sacrifice bunt from the pitcher and a sacrifice fly brought the runner over and home. Greinke ended up going six innings, but it was still arguably his worst start since Opening Day in Los Angeles. He was charged with five runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk - as noted, to the opposing pitcher - with six strikeouts. He just didn’t seem to have his best stuff, and took the loss in a July game for the first time since July 19, 2014, as a Dodger. Which, by coincidence, also came against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Maybe he’s no fan of sopping humidity. Who is?
Meanwhile, the offense were doing little or nothing against Wainwright. They had a chance in the sixth, after Locastro singled and Ketel Marte drew a walk, to put two on with no-one out. However, the next three batters were unable to drive the runners in - including Eduardo Escobar swinging wildly at a pitch close to a foot off the outside edge, and it generally felt like the D-backs were already mentally sitting in the departure lounge at the airport, ready for their journey to Texas. The weird thing is, the D-backs had almost four times the number of at-bats with RISP as the Cardinals this afternoon (11:3), and had more hits too (2:1). Not often a team scores five runs on one single with RISP, but St. Louis did so today.
Andrew Chafin got the first two outs in the seventh, and then Zack Godley took the mound for the first time this month, to get the last four outs. Yeah, it has been a while. I was amused to see former Diamondback pitcher Dominic Leone appear in mop-up for the Cardinals. He had an ERA of 7.34 over 30.2 innings in 2015-16, after being part of the Mark Trumbo trade from Seattle. That’s the second-highest ERA for an Arizona pitcher with 30+ IP, behind only Eddie Oropesa’s 7.59. But even he proved capable of shutting out the D-backs. Escobar and Walker both struck out with two men on base, helped by Eduardo being unable to check his swing on a pitch that bounced well in front of home-plate.
To their credit, the D-backs finally got on the board in the ninth, after going ohfer their first eight with runners in scoring position, and did make things interesting. They were down to their last strike, before Domingo Leyba got his second hit of the afternoon, scoring Adam Jones and ending the shutout. Locastro then legged out his second hit, on an infield RBI knock. That base-runner forced the Cardinals to bring in their closer, with Marte at the plate, representing the tying run. He drew his third walk, loading the bases, but Escobar flew out harmlessly, Locastro, Leyba, Adam Jones and Ahmed each had a couple of hits, Nick getting a walk. The loss drops the D-backs back to an even record once again.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Pat Garrett: Nick Ahmed, +6.6%
Billy the Kid: Zack Greinke, -25.1%
Another light Gameday Thread today, barely reaching 150 comments. It’s like everyone is simply lying on the couch, trying to avoid the heat. Present were: AzCutter, AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, Gilbertsportsfan, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, Snake_Bitten, kilnborn and suroeste. Just the one Sedona Red comment, but since that was my entirely justified posting of deadhorse.gif, I’ll instead give CotG to suroeste:
Day off tomorrow, but the next week sees a quick two-game set in Texas, then a key four-game series at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. If Arizona is not over .500 by this time next week, there will be some serious questions to be answered by GM Mike Hazen, as we approach the hard trade deadline at the end of the month.