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Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 5: Walking in LA

I don’t think I want to recap any more Taylor Clarke starts.

Missing Persons In Performance Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Record: 43-44. Pace: 80-82. Change on 2018: -5.

The Diamondbacks were one strike away from winning this one. Greg Holland had come in, tasked with saving a 4-3 lead. He retired the first two batters, and was 0-2 on the next guy, when he lost all control in spectacular fashion. Holland would walk not just that batter, but the three which followed as well, tying the game with a bases-loaded walk. He threw 30 pitches, with only nine strikes, and I do have to wonder about the reluctance of Torey Lovullo to get someone warming in the bullpen. I know you want to show confidence in your closer, but it was quickly clear Holland was blown. Mind you, when T.J. McFarland came in, he walked a FIFTH consecutive batter, giving LA a walk-off win, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Dodgers led this game for precisely one pitch - but it was the one which counted. The D-backs had got on the board in the first inning, with some two-out offense. David Peralta got it going with a single, then came all the way around to score, after Eduardo Escobar doubled to right. Taylor Clarke looked like he would give up the lead immediately, putting runners on the corners for Los Angeles with only one out, and the likely NL MVP of the first half, Cody Bellinger, at the plate. But he managed to get Bellinger to line out to Jake Lamb at first, who then stepped on the bag for an unassisted double-play, to keep the Diamondbacks out in front.

Arizona then quickly took advantage, needing only six pitches to make it 3-0. Jake Lamb drew a walk, and Nick Ahmed deposited the first pitch he saw just far enough, glancing off the top of the fence and center for his eighth home-run of the season (below). After getting the first two outs, Clarke took four attempts to record the third. That included the Dodgers getting on the board after he hung a breaking pitch to his opposite number, Ross Stripling, which was sent back up the middle for an RBI single. Worse was to come in the fourth, as Los Angeles replicated the Arizona approach, with a five-pitch lead-off walk being followed by a first pitch two-run homer, this one tying the game up at three.

Clarke was not able to survive the inning, being lifted after allowing a second hit to Stripling. Though in his defense, Taylor got two hits of his own, on an infield knock and a bloop of perfect placement. It’s pretty rare to have a contest where both starting pitchers have a multi-hit game. From what I see, this was only the ninth such occasion since the Diamondbacks entered the majors in 1998. Though that’s now three in a row involving Arizona. The previous time was July 28, 2018 against the Padres, when Patrick Corbin and Tyson Ross each had two hits. And the one before that was in Pittsburgh on May 26, 2016, with Corbin and Gerrit Cole doing the honors.

However, tonight was remarkable in that neither multi-hit starter qualified for a decision: I checked back 50 years and couldn’t find a game like that. Clarke went only 3.2 innings (he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks, with just the one strikeout), and Stripling lasted 4.2 frames. The latter probably counts as a good thing for the D-backs, most of whom seemed to have terrible difficulty picking up the curveball. Half of the 14 outs he recorded were by the K, with Jarrod Dyson going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in the lead-off spot. Clarke, on the other hand, was the recipient of some good fortune. He gave up a lot of hard-hit balls that were turned into outs in one way or another, as Jack noted on Twitter:

Arizona did hit back quickly, taking the lead back in the fifth. Ketel Marte and Peralta singled, then a pair of fielder’s choices brought Marte around to score. Though Adam Jones almost hit into an inning-ending double-play, saved only by a throw which pulled the Dodgers’ first-baseman off the bag. The D-backs bullpen then made that lead stand up, until Holland turned into Rickie Vaughn. Alex Young looked particularly good, retiring all seven batters he faced: If it hadn’t been for our closer, he’d have become the first player in D-backs history to open his career with consecutive wins as a starter and in relief. I think I might prefer him as the #4 starter, and Clarke as the #5, skipped where possible.

There were some tricky moments to get through, however. With one out in the seventh, it looked like Yoan Lopez had struck out pinch-hitter Chris Taylor, as shown below with pitch #3. But he didn’t get the call, and Taylor hammered the next pitch between Peralta and Dyson for a triple. I’d have been VERY annoyed had that blown-call cost the game; fortunately, Andrew Chafin then came in and slidered the next two batters to death to keep Arizona’s nose in front. In the eighth, Yoshihisa Hirano also had to work around a one-out double, but did his part. It was all in vain, though the D-backs offense didn’t help. They managed one hit over 4.1 innings against the Dodgers’ bullpen.

After the last Clarke start I had to recap, I wrote “If you can’t find better entertainment than this abysmal display, I’ll happily send you my Netflix credentials.” This was, at least, somewhat entertaining, keeping my jet-lagged self awake to the final pitch (Mrs. SnakePit, on the other hand, is still giving it Z’s on the sofa as I write). But the end result is the same: another frustrating defeat. This stretch of eighteen games against our divisional rivals was supposed to define whether or not Arizona were contenders. Well, with four to play, the Diamondbacks have gone 5-9, so can do no better than the “treading water” against which Mike Hazen warned last month - and are very likely to do worse.

If it was me, I’d be selling.

Click here for details, at
Devo: Andrew Chafin, +21.9%
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Young, +18.2%; Hirano, +13.1%
Kajagoogoo: Greg Holland, -47.3%
Dexy's Midnight Runners: McFarland, -34.8%; Clarke, -18.4%; Lopez, -11.7%

Not a happy Gameday Thread in the end, for obvious reasons. Present were: AZDovs11, AZPerson, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, FishOnEmm, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Johnneu, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, Theolser4, asteroid, kilnborn, ponus, pyroman168, rustynails77, since_98 and suroeste. Comment of the post-game complaining to FishOnEmm, who at least managed to deliver some cheese with his whine:

We’ll be back tomorrow. Well, someone will, just not me. I’m pretty sure I’ll be catching up on what we recorded on the DVR while we were away. Or possibly that Netflix thing. Merrill Kelly starts for the D-backs, with another 7:10pm start.