Record: 75-68. Pace: 85-77. Change on 2018: -1.
Criticism will likely be leveled at the Diamondbacks bullpen for this one. It’s understandable, considering they combined to allow five hits and two runs while recording a mere six outs. But the offense certainly has to come in for their share of blame. You won’t win many games when being outhit by a 12-3 margin, as Arizona were by Cincinnati this afternoon. Indeed, the D-backs now have a 10-89 record when recording just three hits in a game, so while the L may be hung by the name of Yoan Lopez, a good chunk of it goes to the position players who went 3-for-27. Either way, the series finale was dropped, though it does appear it won’t lose Arizona any ground on Chicago, as they are currently losing too.
Arizona got on the board first, taking advantage of a Cincinnati error. After Eduardo Escobar drew a walk, Jake Lamb hit into the shift, and what could have been a double-play ball. However, it was the third-baseman on the pivot at second, and on taking the throw, never had it under control. Initially, Escobar was called out, the umpire saying the ball was dropped on the transfer, but replay showed that was clearly not the case, and the decision was reversed from New York after Torey Lovullo appealed. Nick Ahmed then rolled the ball through the hole at short, and Escobar motored around from second to score the game’s opening tally.
Mike Leake, meanwhile, was doing Mike Leake things. He scattered seven hits over his 6.1 innings of work, but five of those came with two outs in the inning, and proved harmless. The exceptions came in the bottom of the third where Joey Votto singled, before Eugenio Suarez sent the ball out of the fun-sized venue which is Great American Ballpark. the 36th home-run allowed by Leake this year. It tied him with Matthew Boyd of the Tigers for the major-league lead. At the other end, he walked none, expanding his MLB lead in BB/9, but did hit a batter. It made him 7-for-7 in outings with 3 or fewer K’s since coming to AZ. That’s tied for fifth in such streaks by a D-back; the last longer was Steve Sparks’s 8, back in 2004.
Speaking of records, congratulations to Tim Locastro, who set a new franchise record for plunkings in a single season. He was hit for the 20th time this year, breaking Justin Upton’s mark set back in 2011. Upton played in 159 games for the Diamondbacks that year. This was just appearance #81 for Locastro. He’s almost certain to become the player with 20+ HBPs in the fewest number of games for almost 130 years. Chief Roseman of the American Association was hit 29 times while playing for the St. Louis Browns, over 82 games in 1890. The next lowest is 99 games, needed by Tyler Flowers for his 20 in 2017.
As seems to happen so often, it sparked an Arizona rally. In this case, in the shape of Ketel Marte’s 32nd home-run of the season (above). Courtesy of Locastro’s franchise record, it gave the D-backs a 3-2 lead with one out in the top of the fifth. However, the offense would vanish thereafter, not getting another hit, with just walks to Jake Lamb, Josh Rojas and Jarrod Dyson for their efforts. Despite this, Leake batted in the top of the seventh, but was lifted at exactly 100 pitches, after the HBP with one out in the bottom half. Matt Andriese came in to tidy up, and retired both batters faced. Good thing too - otherwise we’d have seen Joey Votto come to the plate, with two men on and the tying run in scoring position.
In the end though, it didn’t matter: odd how baseball works. Yesterday, Andrew Chafin was the goat, and Jimmie Sherfy was the GOAT. Today, both men pitched an inning earlier, in the eighth, and their roles were reversed. Chafin made short work of perennial MVP candidate Votto, carving him up and striking him out with a slider well out of the zone. But Sherfy was unable to repeat the success he found against Suarez last night. While he looked more stable on the mound - yesterday, it looked like he’d been taking pitching lessons from Zack Godley - his pitches were catching too much of the plate this afternoon. Suarez connected and was just able to keep the ball fair down the left-field line, for a game-tying homer.
Having apparently forgotten there was such a thing as a bullpen in the top of the seventh, Lovullo decided to make up for lost time. The final six Cincinnati outs were recorded by six different Arizona relievers. Sherfy was the only one to face more than two batters, and none of the six threw more than 11 pitches. [This is why a regulation 4-3 game still took 192 minutes to complete. Doncha just love September rosters?] It appears neither Kevin Ginkel or Archie Bradley were available, so we saw a ninth worked by Robbie Scott (who did retire his batter), Lopez (who didn’t) and T.J. McFarland (ditto). There may be an issue when McDFA is giving up walk-off hits in a post-season chase, to a pinch-hitting relief pitcher.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Michelangelo: Ketel Marte, +14.8%
Da Vinci: Lamb, +12.9%; Leake, +11.6%; Andriese, +11.3%
A load of Jackson Pollocks: T.J. McFarland, -29.2%
Four Dogs Playing Poker: Sherfy, -25.9%; Locastro, -14.8%; Almonte, -13.2%; Lopez, -12.8%
Pleased to see people were able to make up in today’s GDT. :) Present were: AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, DBacksEurope, DORRITO, DeadManG, EphBoston, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeDavisAZ, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Schilling2001, SenSurround, Snake_Bitten, UofALifer, William Kubas, gzimmerm, kilnborn, onedotfive and rekameohs, with MikeDavisAZ getting CotG for this bit of snark, even if it turned out to be inaccurate!
Oh, well: can’t win ‘em all. And I’ve just held off on posting this, to be certain that the Cubs have lost as well, so the D-backs remain 11⁄2 games back of the second wild-card spot. Arizona moves on to New York for a crunch four-game set against the Mets. Merrill Kelly gets the sticky end of the lollipop, having to go up against Jacob DeGrom in the series opener, with first pitch at 4:10 pm Arizona time tomorrow.