Record: 83-77. Pace: 84-78. Change on 2018: +2,
There were not many people who though this would happen. When the SnakePit writers gazed into their crystal balls at the beginning of the season, only four of the sixteen foresaw the team improving on last year’s 82-win record. Step forward Sean, Wes, Makakilo and Turambar. Indeed, if the D-backs complete the sweep by beating the Padres tomorrow and Sunday, Sean will be on the nose with his prediction of 85 wins. And that reflected a similar pessimism among fans in general, with only 22% predicting the team would win more than their current 83 wins. It made sense, given the departure of Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin, among others. The arrivals of Adam Jones and Robbie Scott didn’t quite balance it.
Yet, here we are. The D-backs moved past last year’s model, by picking up their fortieth comeback win of the season. Victory came thanks to a four-run eighth inning, highlighted by Jake Lamb’s three-run homer off the bench. It was a spotty affair, with the bats being stifled for much of the game, and unable to take advantage of their chances: Lamb’s bomb was their only hit with runners in scoring position for the entire game, in 10 attempts. The pitching, meanwhile, was good enough, rather than dominating. Still, it was the Padres, who had lost 12 of the previous 14 games coming into tonight, had their manager fired, and appear to be phoning it in over the final month.
They did get on the board first, however, quickly getting to Taylor Clarke, who was making his first start since August 17. Two singles put runners on the corner with one out, and a sacrifice fly game San Diego an early lead. Arizona threated to tie it up quickly. loading the bases in the bottom of that inning, on a Tim Locastro single and walks to Christian Walker and Jones. But Josh Rojas struck out on a full count, going down swinging on a 91 mph cutter. Clarke kept the Padres off the board through three innings, before being lifted after having thrown 44 pitches. He was charged with the one run on two hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.
Matt Andriese took over, and posted a very similar line, also allowing one earned run over three innings on two walks, with no walks and a pair of K’s. The run came on a home-run to Machado in the sixth, and tied the game at two. That was because, the D-backs had finally managed to break through against and chase Eric Lauer in the fifth, after getting little or nothing from Rojas’s strikeout ending the first, through the end of the fourth. Carson Kelly doubled to lead things off, and Tim Locastro extended his franchise record by getting hit for the 22nd time this year. He has 243 PA. Coming into play today, 27 hitters have more PA than that, and not been hit once between them.
Anyway, back-to-back walks to Eduardo Escobar and Walker forced in Arizona’s first tally of the game, and marked the end of Lauer’s night. Adam Jones then hit a soft groundball which the Padres’ fielder bobbled. Everyone was safe, Wilmer Flores crossing home-plate to give Arizona a lead. Rojas made his second out with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning - though it took a great diving stop from San Diego 2B Greg Garcia, As noted above, the lead didn’t last, and San Diego were then able to get back into the lead off Stefan Crichton in the seventh. A one-out walk was followed by a double into the right-field corner, and the runner was able to score from first, just before the relay arrived in the hands of Kelly.
The Diamondbacks went down in order in the seventh, but Robbie Scott did the same to the Padres in their half of the eighth. A Jones walk and a Rojas single got the go-ahead run on base. Jarrod Dyson replaced Jones as a pinch-runner, and both men advanced as Nick Ahmed grounded out. The decision to insert the speedy Dyson proved prophetic. He came home on a ground-ball to third by Kelly, and although initially called out, review showed his hand crossing home-plate before the tag was applied on his shoulder. The call was reversed, and the Diamondbacks had tied the game.
JAKE LAMB!!!!! GIVE ME ALL THE TACOS!!!! pic.twitter.com/Z9vTQMXg4V— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 28, 2019
Better was to follow. Jake Lamb’s season has been one to forget, having spent most of it either injured or ineffective. He came off the bench hitting .176 since the All-Star break, and .119 (7-for-68) since August 21. He fell 0-2 behind. and another strikeout seemed on the cards. But he clobbered a 95-mph fastball almost to the wall at the very back of the section beyond the pool (above), for a three-run homer - only his sixth of the year. That broke the game open, giving the D-backs a 6-3 lead, and left the Padres with only three outs to get those runs back. Archie Bradley made sure that didn’t happen, and his 18th save means he overtook Greg Holland and will end the season as the 2019 D-backs’ saves leader.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Evil Dead 2: Adam Jones, +23.5%
Army of Darkness: Lamb, +22.0%; Walker, +11.5%
Evil Dead - The Remake: Stefan Crichton, -14.1%
Wilmer Flores, -11.5%
Present in the Gameday Thread tonight were: Dano_in_Tucson, GuruB, HeathKBar, Jack Sommers, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Snake_Bitten, The-Icon, asteroid, gzimmerm, kilnborn, onedotfive and ponus. Nothing quite turned Sedona Red, though I did enjoy kilnborn’s truck story! Thanks also to Mike for getting the quick recap up, while I was otherwise engaged.
It’s back at Chase tomorrow night, for the penultimate game of the season, and Robbie Ray makes his final start of the season. It’ll be a 5:10 pm first pitch. Somehow, I think I find myself recapping that one too! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and wash off some biodegrable and edible, but no less sticky for that, fake blood... :)