Record: 64-66. Pace: 80-82. Change on 2018: -8.
Any hopes the D-backs might still have been sustaining of wild-card contention have been cruelly crushed over the first two games in Milwaukee. The offense has failed them utterly, mustering just one run, while batting a feeble .103 (6-for-58), including .077 (1-for-13) with runners in scoring position. Tonight, it was 0-for-10 in the latter category, and outside of Christian Walker, who for the second night in a row, had half of the entire team’s hits, the at-bats were tired, to put it mildly. There were some staggeringly bad swings on pitches nowhere near the zone, Witness the three swinging strikeouts below: respectively, Carson Kelly in the second. Josh Rojas in the fourth and Eduardo Escobar in the eighth.
Really: there’s swinging at bad pitches and then there’s what the D-backs were doing this evening. These were the at-bats of a team apparently already anticipating tee-times in October, and I’m frankly unsure how I am supposed to come up with a thousand words to recap this garbage. We had dinner out at Islands, and as is typical for Phoenix, I had to ask them to put the D-backs game on, as two TVs were showing college football, and the third had some pre-season NFL game showing. On the way out though, I felt like I should climb up on the bar and issue a public apology to everyone present, for having inflicted this performance on them.
More amusement was had from figuring out the meaning behind the Brewers’ nicknames on their jersey than the actual visiting team’s performance. I was amused to see Eric Thames having “Phone Home” on the back of his jersey - that being based of his initials. But the best story is the one about why manager Craig Counsell has “El Pollo” as his nickname. Spanish for “the chicken”, it’s in part a tribute to his funky, much-loved batting stance, with his arms flapping like wings. But, it turns out, there’s rather more to it than that, of which I was not aware. Turns out, it dates back to him scoring the winning run in the 1997 World Series, when with the Marlins. Certainly beats advertising your duck-hunting business,
Though we have fortunately been spared the sight of that this series, the D-backs needing a pedigree bloodhound to have detected the faintest whiff of a save situation so far. At least the D-backs didn’t roll over and die in the first inning, Walker even managing to get a hit against the Brewers’ starting pitcher. So that was a clear improvement over yesterday. Zac Gallen even managed to escape a self-made jam in the bottom half, after putting the first two batters on-base, But the D-backs began their process of failure to convert in the third, Jarrod Dyson being stranded after a one-out double. Ketel Marte grounded out and Escobar - now batting .203 since the break, though that’s five points above Jake Lamb - struck out.
The fourth inning was more of the same. Walker got his second hit of the night, and was able immediately to advance into scoring position thanks to a balk from former D-back Chase Anderson. But he was stranded there, in part due to the Rojas K’s documented above. And the Brewers took precisely three pitches from Gallen in the bottom half of the inning to take a two-run lead, Thames and Trent Grisham both homering to right-field off Gallen. The first was on a cutter which cut its way over the heart of the plate, the second a fast-ball which was not actually in a bad location. Those were the only runs Gallen would allow over five innings, on six hits and two walks, with eight strikeouts.
But they were more than enough for the Brewers. The Diamondbacks managed just one hit after Walker’s single leading off the fourth. That was a Ketel Marte double with one out in the eighth. It was followed by the Escobar at-bat, also documented above. You’ll understand why my reaction to this entire sorry escapade rhymed with “Luck this Brit”. By that point, however, Andrew Chafin had ensured the game was well out of reach. He came in with one out in the eighth and a man aboard, promptly hitting the first (left-handed) man faced, then firing a wild pitch and walking the next (also left-handed) batter, before giving up a two-run single to a right-hander, for a 4-0 deficit.
Still, at least we’re not the Phillies, who were 7-0 up by the middle of the third in Miami... and ended up losing by eight runs to the Marlins. Also on the plus side, the defeat drops the Diamondbacks back to two games below .500, so a win is guaranteed tomorrow. They also tied the major-league record for most consecutive games within two of .500, this being our 56th consecutive contest there. That matches the record set by the 1980 Red Sox and 2007 A’s. Victory tomorrow would give us the all-time mark.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Wentworth: Christian Walker, +6.3%
Prisoner Cellblock H: Eduardo Escobar, -11.8%
The Gameday Thread was similarly lackluster, which is understandable. It failed to reach three digits for the first time this season, ending at just 94 comments. Present were: Augdogs, AzDbackfanInDc, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, MesaDBacksFan, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten and onedotfive. We’ll give the Comment of the Thread to onedotfive, for something which could perhaps be applied to the season as much as the Gameday Thread.
Series finale tomorrow. Robbie Ray comes of the IL to start that one, apparently having recovered from the back issue which curtailed his previous outing. It has been 11 days since he last pitched, so he should at least be well-rested, I guess? First pitch is 11:10 am, Arizona time, so we’ll see you for that. Or not, you might have better things to do, I guess.