It was an “interesting” day at Chase Field today. Despite the game being an efficient pitcher’s duel, it took significantly longer than Saturday evening’s affair. Also, despite the day game after a night game situation, Virtual Lovullo decided to stick with his basic lineup, including keeping Carson Kelly behind the plate to catch. As you will see, the Sunday matinee turned out to be more about what didn’t happen than what did.
Ender Inciarte led the game off with a single (of course he did). Then, with one out, he went first to third on a single by Freddie Freeman to right field. Weaver pitched his way out of runners on the corners with one out, sending the Braves back to the dugout without scoring.
David Peralta was the hero of the inning, giving Weaver some breathing room by hitting a one out solo-shot to the right of the pool with an exit velocity of 104.4 mph. That would be the only activity in the inning for the Diamondbacks though as Ketel Marte popped up and Eduardo Escobar also popped up to first to end a ten-pitch at-bat.
ATL 0 - AZ 1
Marcel Ozuna opened an inning by walloping a pitch into the right field corner for a double. Travis d’Arnaud struck out swinging. That brought up Adieny Hechavarria. He tagged a pitch on a line that was trouble from the moment he made contact. The liner evenly split Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun and rolled all the way to the crook in right center field for a triple. Ozuna scored on the play. With one out and speed at third, Bryse Wilson came up to bat. He got the ball on the ground to the right side, but Ketel Marte was positioned very shallow and managed to field the grounder in time to freeze Hechavarria at third before getting the easy out at first. That brought Inciarte up again. With the count 2-1, Inciarte smoked (EV 101.9) Weaver’s offering into the 5.5 hole. However, Nick Ahmed was on the job. Diving backwards and to his right, Ahmed snagged the grounder. Launching himself upright, he fired a missile across the diamond and just edged out the speedy Inciarte to end the inning and to give ESPN their leading candidate for tonight’s Web Gems.
It is at this point that those who decided to record the game to watch a bit later (perhaps to avoid commercials), could just hit the fast forward button and get to the eighth inning. There was an awful lot of nothing going on. Weaver, for his part, scattered three Braves hits, two walks, and a wild pitch through the next five frames. At the plate Arizona was even less effectual. After seven full innings of play, Peralta’s solo home run remained Arizona’s only base runner. This included a particularly embarrassing bottom ogf the fourth in which Peralta, Ketel Marte, and Eduardo Escobar were retired on a total of three pitches.
End of 7th Inning: ATL 1 - AZ 1
With Luke Weaver at 100 pitches, Virual Lovullo turned the ball over to Kevin Ginkel to fave the heart of the Atlanta order. Ozzie Albies started things off by grounding out to second. Then, on an 0-2 count, Ginkel came in too tight and got a piece of Freddie Freeman, sending him to first. This brought up Ronald Acuna, Jr. With the count 2-1, Ginkel was called for hitting him as well. It was close, but replays showed that the ball clearly got the baggy part of Acuna’s jersey. This put runners at first and second. Dansby Swanson was sent in to pinch run for Freeman at second. Camargo flew out to left and Ozuna struck out looking to end the threat.
Kole Calhoun managed a one-out walk, the first base runner for Arizona since Peralta’s homer. Unfortunately, that did not open the floodgates.It did get Bryse Wilson out of the game though. Atlanta turned the ball over to Chris Martin, who made quick work of Carson Kelly and Nick Ahmed.
ATL 1 - AZ 1
Kevin Ginkel was on the mound again to start the ninth. He promptly walked Travis D’Arnaud. That brought an end to Ginkel’s afternoon as Lovullo turned the ball over to Archie Bradley in a non-save situation. Bradley got Hechavarria to pop out to Starling Marte in shallow center before he walked Nick Markakis on four pitches. With one out and two on, Bradley was left in to face the lefty-hitting Inciarte. Inciarte took Bradley to the wall in the left field corner, but it was nothing more than a long, loud out. That loud out might have spooked Lovullo a bit though, as he then pulled Bradley from the game to force the switch-hitting Albies to turn around and hit from the right side. Andrew Chafin was called to the mound. Albies hooked an 0-1 pitch just over Escobar’s head for a single, scoring Hechavarria from second. Austin Riley then grounded out to second to end the Braves’ ninth.
With Curtis Martin on the mound, Steven Vogt was brought in as a pinch-hitter. This prompted the Braves to turn the ball over to left-handed closer, Will Smith. The lefty-lefty match-up did not bother Vogt in the least as he dribbled an infield single between first and second, bringing up Marte, Peralta, and Marte. Unfortunately, those three were unable to do anything with what Smith was offering up. a strikeout and two shallow pop-up later and the game was over.
Final score: ATL 2 - AZ 1
The player of the game was Bryse Wilson. The Diamondbacks had no answer to what he was dealing today. It seems the scouting report indicated to be aggressive against him, but that clearly did not work and only managed to keep his pitch count down, allowing him to go deep in the game. Once again, Virtual Lovullo’s handling of the bullpen raised some eyebrows. One has to wonder if he simply has no high leverage faith in anyone other than Bradley and Chafin.