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D’backs 6, Rockies 7: How ‘Bout That Bullpen?

A series sweep was spoiled in the bottom of the ninth by the Colorado Rockies MVP, Nolan Arenado.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

What pairs best with an ice cold Coors Light? How about a Butterfingers candy bar?... Yeah, I don’t think so either, but that’s the route the Arizona Diamondbacks took today against the Colorado Rockies. They had four errors to go along with two home runs, but the Rockies once again proved no lead is safe at Coors Field.

Robbie Ray took the mound for the start against the Colorado Rockies, his fifth against them this season. However, he would not throw a pitch (that counted) beyond the second inning due to lower back spasms. Robbie came out to warmup for the bottom of the third, but essentially removed himself from the game after throwing one warmup pitch. This contest began well enough for him entering the bottom of the first already with a two run lead. Ray retired Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado on two strikeouts and a fly out.

Kyle Freeland was the starter for Colorado and gave up four hits to the D’backs in the top of the first surrendering those first two D’back runs. Tim Locastro got it started with a single to left field and scored on a double from Ketel Marte into the left centerfield gap. Marte advanced to third base with two outs which was impressive considering the grounder was hit at Arenado at third. Marte had to time has advance perfectly to avoid a tag and beat the throw back across the diamond from first base. That extra 90 feet proved to be important as Flores singled Marte home for the two run lead.

The second inning is where things got away for Robbie Ray and it is apparent now that the lower back spasms were mostly to blame. Whereas he needed only 16 pitches to complete the bottom of the first, he needed 29 to conclude the second facing six batters. The first of the Diamondbacks four errors came in this inning with runners on first and third and one out. Garrett Hampson dropped down a bunt that should have been either an out or at least rolled foul if allowed, but Christian Walker bobbled it ensuring all runners were safe including a scoring Ian Desmond. That lone run would be all Colorado could manage against Robbie on the day, but only because his back caused him enough discomfort to be removed from the game before the bottom of the third.

Matt Andriese was tasked with the immediate and unexpected relief duty, and honestly did far better than we could have expected allowing only a single earned run over three innings. The same couldn’t be said for Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley later in the game, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Andriese surrendered the tying run to score in his first inning of work. The ever impressive Trevor Story reached on an infield single hit to his counterpart Nick Ahmed. Story has a true knack for beating out those close plays at first in addition to his above average power. Arenado followed with a double just over Locastro’s glove in left field pushing story to third. Arizona conceded the tying run on a groundout from Yonder Alonso.

From there Andriese did not even allow a base hit over the fourth and fifth innings and struck out three of four at one point. The only Colorado player to reach base against him after the third was Charlie Blackmon on Arizona’s second error of the game.

Arizona regained the lead in the top of the sixth only to see it slip away just as soon. Marte hit his second double of the game to begin the inning. He was brought in on a home run from Eduardo Escobar just over the fence in left center. The blast was Escobar’s only hit of the series, and he was fortunate to get it out of the park as he had to reach down and on the edge of the strike zone to put the barrel on the ball. Wilmer Flores extended the lead to 5-2 with his own solo shot which caught the net of the left field foul pole. Andriese’s day was finished having thrown 55 pitches. He gave way to Yoshihisa Hirano, and it took him only four batters to surrender the lead. With Alonso and Tapia in scoring position and one out, thanks to yet another D’backs error, pinch hitter Ryan McMahon swung at the first pitch he saw and deposited it into the left field stands tying the score at five apiece.

The five run tie held through to the ninth inning. Andrew Chafin took the ball for the seventh and eighth. The only hit he allowed was against the first batter he faced, Yonder Alonso, a loud double to straightaway center field. Yonder made it to third with one out, but Chafin notched a huge ground out and strikeout to end the scoring threat. Arizona attempted to take the lead back in the eighth with two outs. Flores singled to left field with two outs, and Jarrod Dyson was called upon to pinch run for him. Coloardo checked him at first a handful of times afraid he would steal second, but it didn’t stop Arizona from executing a perfect hit and run. David Peralta hit a single down the right field line moving Dyson to third, but Ahmed failed to drive in the go ahead run. Chafin quickly concluded the bottom of the eighth bookending a ground out with two strikeouts.

Even though Arizona couldn’t capitalize on a two out scoring opportunity in the eighth, they managed to do so in the ninth to take the lead in hopes of securing the series sweep. Jake Lamb pinch hit for Chafin, leaving both benches with only their backup catchers, and drew a walk. Marte hit a popup blooper into no man’s land between center field and shortstop scoring Lamb all the way from first. Alllllllllllllllllll Archie Bradley had to do was record three outs to ensure the series sweep. He hit Trevor Story to lead off the inning, the second time he had been plunked in the game, bringing the winning run to the plate. Nolan Arenado, who had been held hitless over the first two games in the series, deposited the first pitch he saw into the left field stands for a walkoff home run.

Look, I try to come up with witty titles for these “best player/worst player rankings”, but when the historical tweet for the GDT was about an English beauty contest over a hundred years ago, good luck. My completely subjective and unscientific ranking of beauty pageant contestants based on zero data follow. Don’t @ me.

Miss Arizona: Ketel Marte +56.6% WPA, 4-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 doubles

Miss California: Andrew Chafin +22% WPA, Matt Andriese +9.7% WPA, 5 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 3 H

Miss Ohio: Archie Bradley -75.5% WPA, HBP, 2 run HR allowed

Miss Wyoming: Yoshihisa Hirano -30.1 WPA, HBP, 5 H, 3 run HR allowed

Total comments: 326

Total commenters: 24

Commenter list: Augdogs, AzDbackfanInDc, CA_Yankee_Fan, Craig’s City Counsell, DORRITO, DeadManG, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Jack Sommers, James Patrick Kim, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, Xerostomia, chronicles_of_the_desert, edbigghead, onedotfive, since_98, xhero25x

No red comments. The D’backs are losers. We’re all losers. At least when it comes to generating rec worthy comments. Four game series against the San Francisco Giants begins tomorrow at Chase Field. What torture awaits us?