Record: 61-62. Pace: 80-82. Change on 2018: -7.
In the middle of the eighth inning, this was looking like nothing more significant than another dispiriting loss, as the D-backs trailed 7-2. Okay, so in the end, it ended up being... another dispiriting loss. But at least it was another dispiriting loss of historic proportions, apparently being the first game in National League history where both teams hit six home-runs. Think about that. It’s the 144th season of NL baseball. There have been over a hundred thousand National League games played. And those watching tonight got to see something which had never been done before in the league’s history. Much as the loss sucked, you’ve still got to be impressed.
The Diamondbacks also tied the NL record for most home-runs hit in a loss, with six [the Braves also did it, earlier this season, in a 10-8 loss to the Mets]. And I’m fairly sure it’s the first time in baseball history that 19 runs have been scored in a game... none of them doing so on a ball in play. 18 scored on the 12 home-runs hit, six by Arizona, six by San Francisco. The only exception was Nick Ahmed’s bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning. So all nineteen base-runners to cross home-plate this evening, got to do so at a very gentle pace. [Edit: one of the Giants runs was an RBI double] But I’m certainly more inclined to hear arguments that the juiced balls are making a mockery of the game after tonight’s contest.
After a quick start for Mike Leake, thanks to a double-play, Arizona wasted no time in getting the home-run party started. Ketel Marte’s 25th home-run of the year led off the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately, it was more or less downhill from there for the next seven innings. Leake and his home-run problem saw to that, as he reclaimed the major-league lead in long balls allowed. Two left the park in the third, and another in the fourth, as the Giants took a 4-1 lead. He ended up going six innings, which I guess is something. However, he has allowed eight home-runs in 16.1 innings as a Diamondback, with a 7.71 ERA. We are seeing why both the Cardinals and Mariners were willing to send cash to get rid of him.
The Diamondbacks had a chance to come back in the sixth, and got one run on a nine-pitch Nick Ahmed walk with the bases loaded, though Carson Kelly was unable to come through with any more. But another home-run, this one off T.J. McFarland, gave San Francisco a 6-2 lead and Kevin Ginkel allowed another run in the eighth as a lead-off walk came around to score. Another run (also put on by a Ginkel walk) was thrown out at the plate - if the D’backs had managed to win this one, that would have been a pivotal play. But at the time, no-one really noticed San Francisco not being allowed to take an 8-2 lead, let alone bothered to post it as a highlight.
In the bottom of the eighth, everything changed, as Arizona got into the homer fun. First, they enjoyed solo shots from Eduardo Escobar and Wilmer Flores. Then Josh Rojas and Nick Ahmed singled, and suddenly, the Diamondbacks had the tying run at the plate. Courtesy of Adam Jones coming off the bench with the third home-run of the inning [bit of an Arizona specialty, of late], it was circling the bags. That was the second game-tying three-run homer of the season by a D-backs pinch-hitter, after Christian Walker’s against the Dodgers on May 29. Neither side could do anything in the ninth, though it was nice to see Archie Bradley bounce back after his Coors meltdown, posting a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Yoshihisa Hirano in the 10th... Not so much. He seemed not to have any feel for his splitter, and that basically equals trouble. After allowing a leadoff single on it to the first batter, the next two he threw were out of the zone. With the count full, Hirano send down a series of fast-balls to Kevin Pillar, and you can only throw so many to a major-league hitter before he gets hold of one. In this case, three were fouled off and the fourth became a two-run souvenir. Trailing 9-7, the D-backs seemed to be in deep trouble, facing Will Smith, one of the best closers this year. Flores and Ahmed disagreed, each hitting solo shots to tie the game up once again. On to the eleventh!
Any hopes didn’t last long though. One pitch from Yoan Lopez, that pitch being a 96 mph, center-cut fastball, which Mike Yastrzemski - grandson of Carl - sent to the home-run porch, for his third home-run of the night. His Grandpa managed the feat once in 3,308 games. Mike took just seventy games to match that. And this time, there was no coming back for Arizona, despite Marte’s lead-off single. A very bizarre night came to an end. The D-backs had never before even hit FIVE home-runs in a loss. Ahmed had three hits and a walk, and there were two hits for Escobar, Marte and Flores. The last-named had a two-HR game despite not starting, the first player in Arizona history to do that.
On the other hand... Well, there’s the bullpen. Bradley was the only one of the five pitchers used not to allow at least an earned run. They combined for six earned runs over five innings, on seven hits and three walks. That’s not good, especially against a team which came into this game ahead only of the Marlins in OPS+. We’re back to third in the NL West, and below .500 as well. Here’s what Torey Lovullo had to say after this one. He looks like a man in need of a stiff drink. I know I certainly am...
Torey Lovullo’s post-game press conference.
It’s interesting to hear what Lovullo had to say about Hirano being used, even though Chafin was available. Hirano does actually have almost no platoon split, and actually has a marginal reverse splits either this year (.739/.737) or over his career (.671/,665). Of course, hindsight is 20/20 in such a case...
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
24-karat gold: Nick Ahmed, +61.1%
14-karat gold: Jones, +44.0%; Flores, +22.3%; Marte, +16.6%; Bradley, +13.7%;
Fool's gold: Yoshihisa Hirano, -40.9%
Gold plate: Lopez, -30.0%; Kelly, -24.0%; Rojas, -21.3%; Peralta, -21.2%;
Leake, -19.4%; Escobar, -13.6%; McFarland, -11.2%;
That’s no less than 12 different players with Win Probabilities tonight of more than 10% in one direction or the other. Sticking it out in the Gameday Thread were: BobDolio, DeadManG, FishOnEmm, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, James Patrick Kim, Makakilo, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, Theolser4, William Kubas, kilnborn, onedotfive and rustynails77. GuruB had the only comment with more than one rec, pointing out the nugget referenced in the recap:
Tomorrow... there will be a baseball game. Taylor Clarke will start it for the Diamondbacks. Everything else... Well, you’ll just have to tune in to find out, won’t you?