The Diamondbacks recalled Taylor Clarke to start this game, with the intent to give Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen an extra day’s rest and help set them up to better handle Robbie Ray’s absence while he’s on the IL. The problem with this plan is that Clarke has struggled most of the season with short outings and lots of homers and runs allowed. Tonight was no exception, as he only lasted five outs into the game.
It all started out rather promising, as Clarke pitched an efficient one-two-three first needing just 11 pitches. The Diamondbacks offense, missing Ketel Marte who was a late scratch due to lower back stiffness, got off to a good start as well. Facing Giants starter Logan Webb, making his major league debut, Jarrod Dyson singled to open the frame. Wilmer Flores drove him home with a long double to left center field. Flores later scored when Evan Longoria made a throwing error on a ball hit by Adam Jones and the Dbacks had a 2-0 lead.
As efficient as Clarke was in the first, it was the exact opposite in the second. He issued a five pitch walk to Alex Dickerson, and then went to a full count on Scooter Gennett, who managed to foul off six 2-strike pitches. On the 12thpitch of the at bat he hit a taylor made double play groundball to second baseman Flores. However Wilmer Flores made a very sloppy back hand flip that pulled Ahmed off the bag for an E-4, putting the tying runs on base with nobody out and 19 pitches already thrown in the inning. That turned out to be a big negative play from which Clarke could not recover
A bloop single behind first base by Kevin Pillar loaded the bases, and Brandon Belt proceeded to hit a Grand Slam to right field giving the Giants a 4-2 lead.
Still looking for his first out of the inning, Clarke induced a groundball into the shift that Flores managed to make a diving stop on, but the throw pulled Lamb off the bag. Clarke Finally got his first out of the inning when Logan Webb popped out to firstbase on a Sac Bunt attempt. Mike Yastrzemski followed with a bloop single to left that dropped in front of Peralta giving the Giants runners at first and second. Luke Vogt lined a single to right to load the bases once again, with still only the one out.
Matt Andriese got up to throw in the pen as Evan Longoria stepped in the box. He just missed the second grand slam of the inning, driving a ball deep to right centerfield, but Dyson ran it down on the track. The Sac Fly scored Crawford from 3rd, and that was all for Clarke, as Torey Lovullo came out to the mound to pull Clarke and bring in Andriese.
Andriese got Alex Dickerson to fly out to left on the first pitch, but the damage was done with five runs scored and the Giants already into the DBacks bullpen in the 2ndinning.
Andriese pitched pretty well tonight in his 2.1 innings of work, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits, while striking out three batters. He did balk a runner to 3rd however and that is the runner that scored.
Meanwhile, Webb pitched scoreless baseball for the next 4 innings. His night ended after 5 IP, with just the 2 runs, (1 earned), on 5 hits, 1 walk and 7 K’s. He picked up the win in his first start.
With Kevin Ginkel on to pitch in the 5th, an unusual play started the inning. Scooter Gennett swung and missed on strike three but the ball got past Avila all the way to the screen. Gennett tried to advance all the way to 2nd on the play however and was thrown out at by Avila 2-6. Kevin Pillar hit a single for his 3rdhit of the game , but a strikeout and a deep flyout later Ginkel had another scoreless inning under his belt , lowering his ERA to 2.57 and improving his K-BB ratio to to 11/3 in 7 innings of work so far for the year.
Unfortunately for the Dbacks that would be the best pitching they would see until Alex Avila came on to pitch the 9th. TJ McFarland surrendered 7 hits and 3 runs to the 11 batters he faced, and Stefan Chrichton gave up 3 more hits and 2 more runs in his 1.1 IP.
In all the Giants scored 11 runs on 18 hits, including a Grand Slam, a Double, and 16 singles. Many of those hits were just death by BABIP as there were at least 5 bloopers and a couple of infield hits. But there was just too much contact and everything the Giants seemed to hit dropped in.
The Diamondbacks tried to fight back a bit. Christian Walker hit solo homer in the 7th. They scored a second run that inning on singles by Dyson and Flores, (his 4th hit of the night) and an Escobar Sac Fly. Nick Ahmed tied his career high with his 16th HR of the year, a two run shot in the 8th. But it all wasn’t nearly enough on this night as the Dbacks pitching staff has collapsed under the weight of losing their ace starter in the middle of a Wild Card push.
Perhaps somewhat ironically, some of the best DBacks pitching of the night took place when Alex Avila took the mound for the 9th. It was his 3rd career appearance, 2nd of this season. He induced a weak groundout, struck out rookie sensation Mike Yastrzemski, and got Luke Vogt to fly out to center.
Alex Avila just pitched a scoreless inning... complete with a strikeout and all pic.twitter.com/uWJXFwg3wL— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 18, 2019
The post game press conference was somewhat surreal as Torey Lovullo invoked the Dumb and Dumber quote, saying there is always a chance when asked if his team was still in the wild card hunt.
They are now 4.5 Games out of the 2nd WC spot, with 5 teams in front of them. It would seem their chances will not improve tomorrow. The series finale is at Chase, 1:10 P.M. Start, Merrill Kelly will square off against Madison Bumgarner as the DBacks try to avoid the sweep.
The above Chart from Fangraphs could be a metaphor for the Dbacks ever dwindling playoff hopes.
Wilmer Flores’ 4 hit night gave him + .179 WPA on the night, but I am exercising editorial discretion and deducting the play he made the error on in the 2nd , which was -.061, reducing his number to + .118. It was a bad play, and perhaps a turning point. But Clarke’s job didn’t end when Flores made the error. It was only just beginning and he failed badly from there forward.
Indeed, Clarkes negative WPA for the night was a whopping -.436
An understandable cranky Gameday thread tonight.
No Red comments, no COTN today