Since Sling TV dropped Fox Sports Arizona from its service, it’s taken some doing for me to regain the ability to watch D-Backs games live, so I don’t think I’d actually seen a Mike Leake start until now. I know that lots of folks here in the Snake Pit have been unenthusiastic about him, but I was definitely interested to have a look at the guy.
Leake started off a bit shaky, alternating outs with line drive singles to Nick Martini and Eric Hosmer in the first, and surrendering a leadoff single to Padres second baseman Ty France before retiring the next three batters in the top of the second.
Padres starter Cal Quantrill had a similarly blemished first inning, giving up a one-out single to Josh Rojas before sitting down Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar on a productive ground out to first and a fly ball to center. Like Leake, too, he gave up a leadoff single to Christian Walker. This is where the starters’ paths diverged, though, as new Diamondback Abraham Almonte followed with a single to right that allowed Walker to reach third. Almonte, meanwhwile, astutely advanced to second as the throw from Padres right fielder Jose Naylor missed the cut-off man. Nick Ahmed followed with another single, this time to center, scoring Walker. Alex Avila then struck out swinging, which was a bummer, and then Leake grounded out to second. That out, at least, was productive, as Almonte was able to score from third on the play. The offense wasn’t done yet, though. Dyson drew a walk that scored Ahmed from third, as the fourth ball was also a wild pitch that rolled to the backstop. Josh Rojas followed with his second hit of the game, a double to left that allowed Dyson to come around and score from first. It was a nice little hit parade that kept the line moving. Then Ketel Marte did this:
"I wanna score this inning too..." -Ketel Marte, probably pic.twitter.com/MXcT6bhWnD— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 2, 2019
Escobar ended the Padres’ pain, at least temporarily, by popping out the third to end the inning, but we’d just put up a very nice, very crooked number. 6-0 D-BACKS
Leake, meanwhile, started off the third with another leadoff single, this time to Padres center fielder Manuel Margot. Martini lined out to short, though, and Manny Machado hit into a slick Ahmed-Marte-Walker double play. In fact, that single was the last Padre who Leake would allow to reach base until the sixth inning, which we’ll be getting to shortly.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks put Nick Ahmed in scoring position in the third thanks to the first of Padres shortstop Luis Urias’ two errors, followed by an Alex Avila single to center. Leake, though, couldn’t get them home. We went down in order in the fourth, which was in fact the only clean inning the Padres pitching staff was able to manage in the entire game.
The Diamondbacks tacked on a couple more runs in the fifth, thanks to an Eduardo Escobar leadoff single, followed after a Christian Walker strikeout, followed by a Nick Ahmed single Almonte’s second hit of the game, a single to the right side that France knocked down but couldn’t hold onto. Ahmed then struck out, but Alex Avila came up with an unexpectedly clutch double that almost snuck over the right field wall:
Leake struck out to end the frame, but hooray, another crooked number! 8-0 D-BACKS
And then the sixth inning happened. Bear in mind, Leake was cruising, sitting down the Padres and doing it very efficiently. He was at 64 pitches when the inning began, and it took him seven pitches to get both Margot and Martini to ground out to Escobar at third. So Manny Machado is up, and he hits a weakish pop-up into foul territory in front of the Padres dugout. It wasn’t a TOWERING pop-up by any means, but Christian Walker had plenty of time to get over there and make a play. He didn’t exactly hustle, though, so rather than getting underneath the ball, he wound up trying to backhand it. He failed. This totally should have been an error, except that it was a foul ball, so it couldn’t be scored that way. However. After that pitch, which should have ended the inning, it wound up taking Leake 28 more pitches to get out of the inning. See, Machado managed to draw a walk, followed by a weird Hosmer bloop double in the no-man’s land behind third base. Josh Naylor then singled to left, scoring Machado. THEN Ty France hit one out to left center, a three-run shot. Luis Urias then hit a soft grounder back to the mound, and Leake threw wide left to first, missing Walker entirely and allowing the ball to roll off into shallow right field. That wound up not being called an error either, because Almonte hustled over, barehanded the ball, and threw a strike to Ahmed at second to cut down Urias, who was trying to advance. That ended it, thankfully, but what had been looking like a plausible complete game shutout for Leake had been completely thrown into disarray. 8-4 D-BACKS
The good guys, though, didn’t let it get them down. Quantrill had left the game by this point, so we were treated to Javy Guerra, the first of the Padre relievers we would deal with. Jarrod Dyson struck out looking to lead off the inning on a truly terrible call (one of several on the day) by home plate umpire Ted Barrett. His teammates, I suppose, decided they’d have to take a different approach, one that didn’t give Barrett any opportunity at all to weigh in. Josh Rojas got his third hit of the game, an absolute bomb to right field that went about fifteen rows back in the bleachers. Marte grounded out to first, but then Escobar got in on the action too, a shot down the right field line that just stayed fair. Then Walker launched one up into the home run porch in left center. Here they all are:
Almonte followed the Walker dinger with a mere double into the gap in right center, and Marte brought him home with a single to left. Once more, Alex Avila ended the Padres’ pain (again temporarily) with an unceremonious swinging K. 12-4 D-BACKS
Leake recorded one out in the seventh before being pulled at 94 pitches. It was a much better start than his line would suggest, as none of the badness that ensued in the previous inning would have happened if Walker had just caught that foul ball. Robby Scott came in to face lefty shortstop Greg Garcia, who had been double-switched for Urias when Guerra had entered the game, and promptly walked him. He then walked Margot, before finally managing to record an out by inducing Martini to pop up to Ahmed. He then gave way to Stefan Crichton, who, in sharp contrast to his predecessor, only needed two pitches to notch the third out.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks added on a couple more, with replacement catcher Caleb Joseph (he’d come in with Scott) stroking a leadoff single to right. Dyson struck out for the second time in a row, but Rojas singled for his fourth hit of the game. Marte followed with a double to left that everyone initially seemed to think was a foul ball, but which scored both Joseph and Rojas once everyone started actually running the bases. 14-4 D-BACKS
Jon Duplantier came out to start the eighth, and after retiring the first batter he faced, proceeded to make a mess of things, issuing three walks and walking in a runner before recording the second out of the inning. He then gave up two more hits before being yanked for Jimmie Sherfy, who struck out some rando Padres replacement player on three pitches to put a stop to it. 14-7 D-BACKS
And that was pretty much all she wrote. The Diamondbacks threatened again in their half of the eighth, and Sherfy pitched a scoreless ninth.
WIN PROBABILITY, courtesy of Fangraphs
On Fire: Mike Leake (+11.1 WPA - pitching), Nick Ahmed (+14.5 WPA), Josh Rojas (+11.1 WPA), Abraham Almonte (+10.8)
Garbage Fire: Christian Walker, for dropping that foul ball
The Game Day Thread was pretty lively, it seems, especially for a Monday (and a holiday that often features cookouts and whatnot instead of staying indoors watching baseball), with 380 comments by 23 commenters. All present and accounted for were: AzDbackfanInDc, DBacksEurope, DORRITO, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Makakilo, MesaDBacksFan, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Smurf1000, SongBird, William Kubas, edbigghead, kilnborn, ofinn29, onedotfive, since_98
No Sedona Red today, so I’m just going to accept that we have no CoTG. Sad, really, but what can ya do?
Join us again tomorrow when Merrill Kelly faces off against the Padres’ bullpen, for whatever reason. First pitch is 6:40pm, Arizona time.
I hope everyone had/is having a lovely Labor Day. As always, thanks for reading, Go D-Backs!