The Diamondbacks suffered a painful defeat at Chase Field on Tuesday, dropping game two of the series to the New York Mets. Putting in a strong effort, Arizona lefty, Madison Bumgarner left the game with a lead after pitching seven full innings. It was, for once, the “good” bullpen that let this game slip away.
The game started off well enough for Arizona. With Torey Lovullo going with a very unorthodox lineup and starting eight, the Snakes posted a four-run first inning off of Mets’ starter, Steven Matz. The Diamondbacks hung two walks, a passed ball, a triple, and a home run on the Mets in the inning. The big blow came from the bat of Kole Calhoun, a two-out, two-run blast that brought Christian Walker home.
The Diamondbacks added two more runs in the fifth inning, all of the action coming with two outs in the frame. Josh Rojas started the action off by being hit by a pitch, perhaps appropriate for the batter slotted into Tim Locastro’s spot in the lineup. Rojas then moved to second on a single by Nick Ahmed. Rojas then scored on a single through the 5.5 hole by Ketel Marte. Ahmed took third on the throw home. At that point, Virtual Luis Rojas decided he had seen enough and called upn Brad Branch to restore order. That plan did not exactly work out. Branch walked Escobar after the Arizona third baseman worked the count full. That loaded the bases for Christian Walker, who promptly walked on four straight pitches nowhere near the zone. That forced in Ahmed for the second run of the inning. Kole Calhoun ended the inning with a fly ball to right off a 2-2 count.
On the other side of things, it was all Madison Bumgarner. Through six innings, Bumgarner was nearly flawless, allowing only two hits and not surrendering a walk. It was in the seventh inning that things got away from Bumgarner. Pete Alonso started things off with a double. He was brought home on a single by Michael Conforto. Bumgarner then made quick, easy work of the next two batters. Jake Marisnick came to the plate and poked the ball into center field. Running hard on the play, Conforto decided to try for third. Ketel Marte came up firing, but the throw was shielded by Conforto sliding into third. The throw skipped away, allowing Conforto to score. The play was ruled an error by Marte on the throw. With Marisnick standing at second after the errant throw, J.D. Davis put a good swing on a mediocre curve by Bumgarner, taking him deep. Just like that, the Mets had cut the lead from six, down to two. Bumgarner finished the inning and then was lifted so that the bullpen could get to work.
In the eighth inning, Kevin Ginkel was impressive, mowing the Mets down in order, two via the swinging strikeout. He then turned the ball over to closer, Archie Bradley for the ninth. Bradley got two quick outs on a swinging strikeout and a fly ball to left. He then allowed a double and a walk. With two outs and two on and the entirely pedestrian right-handed Amed Rosario coming to the plate, Virtual Lovullo had something of a brain fart. Maybe he owed someone in Vegas money. Or maybe he was unhappy that Alex Young remains on the 26-man roster. We’ll never know. Despite Bradley having displayed a level of aptitude that would result in most closers getting all sorts of rope from their managers, Virtual Lovullo went out to the mound and pulled Bradley from the game, despite the need for only one final out. Instead of letting the righty with a decent fasstball and a filthy curve face the right-handed Amed (owner of a 78 OPS+ on the season), Virtual Lovullo sacrificed the platoon advantage and turned the ball over to crafty lefty, Alex Young. The decision backfired in spades. Rosario singled and then Brandon Nimmo followed with a double, giving the Mets the lead. They closed out the game by turinng the ball over to Dellin Betances for the ninth. Betances made short work of the Snakes in order to log the save.
Final Score: NYM 7 - AZ 6
Player of the game honors went to Madison Bumgarner. Despite the big four-run seventh inning, Bumgarner was a dominant force on the mound. The Mets had no answer for him. If not for the throwing error by Marte, Bumgarner likely gets the well-deserved win instead of a no-decision.
The rubber game is tomorrow, a 12:40 matinee start. Michael Wacha has the start for the Mets. Zac Gallen will take the mound for the Diamondbacks.
**In a bit of housekeeping, Starling Marte was assigned to Reno for a rehab assignment on Sunday. The hope is that Marte will be ready to rejoin the team after the next off-day on Monday.