The great thing about recapping in Arizona when you have DirecTV is that sometimes the monsoon season happens and you’ll lose your satellite signal. If you’re a millennial like me, the chances of you having a radio anywhere other than your car are slim to none. Sure, I could have picked up the radio broadcast on my phone off the Arizona Sports website or their app, but I had someone pestering me to catch up on recorded programs. Because of that, I kept an eye on the game from MLB Gameday on my phone from innings three through five. Much to my dismay, rookie Zac Gallen was mowing down the San Diego Padres with aspirations of a no hitter.
Gallen’s opponent on the mound for the San Diego Padres was the promising Chris Paddack. Of significant note is that both men were traded away from the Miami Marlins in different transactions. It’s true that the two starters, both younger than 25 years old, have a lot left to prove in the majors, but just imagine what the Marlins could currently be were they not constantly rebuilding and trading away their best players. Christian Yelich is the reigning National League MVP and in the running again this year. Giancarlo Stanton, although injured much of this season, hit 38 home runs, had a 130 OPS+, and put up 4 bWAR in 2018. J.T. Realmuto continues to be one of the best catchers in all of baseball. You get the point. Miami just isn’t very good at hanging on to their future, and we’re all just reaping the benefits.
Despite hitting the first Padres batter with a pitch, Zac Gallen would manage to carry a no hitter through one out in the seventh inning. According to the Fox Sports Arizona broadcast, it would be the furthest that a rookie pitcher would carry a no hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks in franchise history. That’s second only to Alex Young who had six no hit innings earlier this season.
The victim of the hit by pitch, Greg Garcia, advanced from first to third on a Josh Naylor groundout. Gallen nearly walked Naylor throwing three straight out of the strikezone to begin the at bat, but worked it back to a full count before the groundout. Manny Machado flew out sharply to left field to follow. Garcia tried to tag up and score on the play, but Josh Rojas fired a rocket to home plate cutting him down to end the scoring threat with no damage done.
From that point forward, Gallen was downright dominant. He registered two strikeouts in the second, and the Padres did not have their second player reach base until Machado reached on an error in the fourth. Machado was quickly cut down attempting to steal second ending the Padres half of the fourth. Eric Hosmer was the man left at the plate on that play and walked to begin the top of the fifth. Unfazed, Gallen struck out Hunter Renfroe for the second time in the game and induced a double play against Ty France to remain hitless through five innings.
The no-no continued through the sixth and into the seventh which is about the time where everyone gets annoying about superstitions on social media. Gallen’s pitch count entering the seventh inning guaranteed that he would not be able to go the distance regardless if he’d given up a hit or not. Torey Lovullo said after the game he would not have allowed Gallen to exceed 120 pitches, but would have sent him out for the eighth if the no hitter was intact. The decision on when to remove him was made when Machado lined a single to right field effectively killing Lovullo’s anxiety of pulling his pitcher from the game with a no-no. Gallen was allowed to stay in the game and record the final two outs of the seventh, both on strikeouts, for a final line of seven innings pitched, one walk, one hit by pitch, and eight punch outs. His season ERA is now down to an impressive 2.50, and his outing tonight should help bring his peripherals closer to that mark. Remember that although his ERA has been impressive this season, he’s benefited from a bit of luck in his previous outings. Such was not the case tonight as he deserves all of the credit for holding San Diego to one hit through seven innings. The future is bright for Zac Gallen.
Arizona hitters had almost an equal challenge facing Chris Paddack who is on a strict 90 pitch per outing limit this season. The D’backs managed to get two runners on with one out in the third on walks from Carson Kelly and Jarrod Dyson, but heavy lifters Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar could not bring them in. Arizona chased Paddack from the game in the bottom of the sixth on back to back singles from Marte and Escobar with no outs, but they too were left stranded on base. For as impressive as Gallen was tonight, Paddack nearly matched him were it not for his pitch count restriction. Paddack surrendered only four hits over 5 & 1⁄3 innings, struck out eight, and allowed no runs.
Almost as soon as Paddack was lifted from the game, the D’backs were able to storm ahead. Craig Stammen came on in relief and escaped the two on no out jam in the sixth, but would not be as fortunate in the seventh. He hit Nick Ahmed on the shoulder blade to begin the bottom of the seventh. Ahmed tried to oblige on a Dave McKay special and steal second, but his jump was a little too good getting him caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out. Stammen proceeded to issue consecutive walks to Carson Kelly and pinch hitter Jake Lamb. Dyson hit a squib shot infield single off of Luis Perdomo loading the bases for team MVP, Ketel Marte. He turned around a 95 MPH fastball right down broadway to the right field bleachers for a grand slam, nearly 110 MPH off of his bat. That blast was Marte’s 30th home run of the season, and it resulted in a little bit of history making him and Eduardo Escobar the first pair of switch hitting Senior Circuit teammates to hit thirty home runs each in a single season.
The grand slam would be the difference maker in the contest. Yoan Lopez pitched a clean eighth inning. Hoping to give Archie Bradley some much needed rest Lovullo turned to T.J. McFarland to close out the game. Wil Myers took him yard to the D’backs bullpen to prevent the shutout. I’m not sure what it is with Wil Myers, but he is a D’back killer, and I don’t think enough people realize it. The home run was his 14th in his career against Arizona, and he had a 141 OPS+ against them before that blast in 335 plate appearances. His .305/.394/.521 against Arizona before the home run is undeniably dominant. After Josh Naylor singled with one out off McFarland, Lovullo opted to cut the risk and turn to Archie again for the save. Bradley walked Machado, but logged consecutive groundouts to secure the victory.
The win was Arizona’s 9th in their last 10 games and 12th of their last 16. They are right smack dab in the middle of an unlikely run that many of us assumed they would need to have a chance at a wild card spot. Arizona finds themselves tied with the Philadelphia Phillies who lost to the Cinncinati Reds today, and three games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card. The boys in Sedona red will need to keep their foot on the gas, but they have an off day for travel tomorrow hoping to maintain their focus.
Zac Gallen: +44.2% WPA, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 8 K’s
Ketel Marte: +25.9% WPA, 3-for-4, Go ahead gran slam
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