The Marlins came into Chase Field having scored the fewest runs of any team in the major leagues. You wouldn’t know it based on tonight. The Arizona pitching staff, in particular, Matt Andriese and especially Jimmie Sherfy made them look like the Bronx Bombers, with a couple of thoroughly ugly innings,
It was fairly competitive in the early innings. The Diamondbacks had an early change to get on the board, getting their first runner in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the first when Ketel Marte doubled. Christian Walker was hit by a pitch and both batters advanced on a wild pitch. But Wilmer Flores went down swinging. However, the Walker HBP tied a franchise record, being the 67th plunking of the season for the D-backs, matching the tally from 2006. Clearly, Tim Locastro’s 21 - more than the three next combined - are a factor, but Arizona has had fifteen different batters hit this year. Adam Jones is next behind Locastro, with eight of them.
Alex Young was somewhere between the guy who blanked the Reds for eight innings, and couldn’t even make it through the third against the Mets, in his previous two starts. He was solid through the first two innings, but the Marlins took the lead with a hard-hit two out double in the third inning. Arizona came back and tied it up in the bottom half, Marte getting his second hit and being driven in by a Walker double to left. However, Walker got himself caught up between second and third on the play. And it may have triggered the departure of Marte from the game, after the fourth inning, with what was described as back stiffness.
Speaking of the absent, Young was pretty lucky to get through the fourth, since it took a stellar play (above) from Nick Ahmed stand-in, Ildemaro Vargas. After a leadoff walk, he laid out flat to stop a groundball off the bat of former D-back Martin Prado, and flipped it to Wilmer Flores from his stomach. Flores, barehanded the toss and threw across to Walker for the second out. The next two batters reached base, so if Vargas had let that ball through, the Marlins would probably have had the lead there. However, they went ahead and took the lead in the fifth instead, a Walker throwing error as he tried to complete a double-play after stepping on the bag at first, allowed the runner to reach third and eventually score.
That was the end of Young’s night, and all told, you’ll take five innings allowing one earned run, any night. He scattered five hits and four walks, striking out four, but it could have been worse. Kevin Cron hit for Young, leading off the bottom of the inning and tied the game up with his sixth home-run of the season. Arizona then took the lead on back-to-back doubles from Josh Rojas and Eduardo Escobar, though they could hardly have been more different in nature. Rojas’s was crushed off the wall in left, while Escobar’s was a Texas Leaguer to shallow right which was probably punted harder off the Marlins’ fielder who kicked it into center. Flores singled Escobar home, and Arizona suddenly had a 4-2 lead.
Enter the bullpen. Matt Andriese had been doing fairly well since coming off the IL on August 11, and struck out the first two batters he faced in the sixth. But then started a sequence where nine of the next ten Miami hitters reached base. It took Andriese five attempts to get that tricky third out, including a bases-clearing double which gave the Marlins a 5-4 lead. Having painstakingly lowered his ERA from 5.91, all the way down to 4.64, Andriese saw it bounce all the way back up to 4.98 on the basis of this evening. But if you’re looking for sharp regression in the course of one night, here’s Jimmie Sherfy to say, “Hold my beer...”
For Sherfy became the third Diamondback reliever this year to face five batters without retiring any of them. [Andriese on June 30, and Archie Bradley on May 5], However, only two Arizona pitchers previously had faced 5+ batters, and allowed hits to every one, as Sherfy did tonight, [Joe Paterson on April 23, 2012, and Greg Swindell on September 23, 2002]. Jimmie was lifted after three scored, but Taylor Clarke allowed the two inherited to cross home, so Sherfy was charged with five earned runs tonight, without retiring a batter. That’s as many earned runs as over his first 35 career appearances, covering FORTY innings. Late in his third MLB season, Sherfy’s career ERA went from 1.52 to 2.61 in 16 pitches.
Now trailing by a 10-4 margin, the Diamondbacks pulled one back in the seventh, Walker singling Rojas across to bring the faithful back-to-back tacos. But the Marlins then got two more off Clarke in the eighth. Rojas completed the scoring with an RBI single during Arizona’s last turn at-bat, then ended the game after failing to scramble back to third-base on a fly-out. On the plus side... Six runs on 13 hits! Walker had three hits and a pair of RBI, while there were two-hit nights for Marte, Rojas and Escobar. But that was small beer, compared to the 12 runs on 17 hits allowed by the Arizona pitching staff tonight. I guess the lesson is, hitting doesn’t matter when the bullpen allowed 10 earned runs over four innings.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Pinball Wizard: Kevin Cron, +15.4%
The Kids are All Right: Christian Walker, +10.9%
Won't Get Fooled Again: Matt Andriese, -39.1%
I Can't Explain: Jimmie Sherfy, -27.7%
Present for some point of this incident were: AzRattler, Dano_in_Tucson, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Johnneu, Justin27, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, asteroid, gzimmerm, kilnborn and onedotfive. Snake_Bitten gets comment of the night, for continuing the evening’s theme:
We’ll be back tomorrow for the rubber game of the series. It’s a rubber game, with Mike Leake getting the start for Arizona. Be still my beating heart. I almost swapped recaps with Keegan for that, but James will be covering instead. On the plus side, probably can’t go much worse. On the other hand... Mike Leake start.