This was a game between two teams on very different trajectories. The Arizona Diamondbacks, on the strength of their pitching and defense, entered the game as one of the 10-best teams in all of baseball. On the other hand, the Detroit Tigers entered the game as a hot mess of a team, ranking among the game’s very worst clubs. Watching the game, one could be forgiven if they thought those roles were reversed.
The boxscore shows that Madison Bumgarner had a very mediocre game, getting hurt by the long ball. While Bumgarner continued to be stingy with the walks, thigs still could have been much worse in this game if not for the human vacuum cleaners of Nick Ahmed and Josh Rojas at shortstop and in right field. Those two were responsible for seven of the 10 outs not recorded via the strikeout, with Ahmed making four plays on balls with an exit velocity in excess of 110.0 mph. Of the final 12 outs recorded by the bullpen, Ahmed and Rojas were involved in three of the four which did not come via the strikeout.
At the plate, the Diamondbacks mustered only four hits against Detroit’s pitching, all of them against starter Matt Manning. Unfortunately, two of those came from the same bat, that of Christian Walker. Since Walker cannot be involved with batting himself in (short of a home run) one can imagine just how successful the team was when it came to scoring. Of course, it didn’t help things that Virtual Lovullo went with a lineup that included Kole Calhoun, Eduardo Escobar, and Stephen Vogt all at the same time. Sometimes one just has to wonder. Sure, there is a desire to keep players fresh and get everyone involved. That doesn’t mean that all the substitutions have to happen on the same day though.
Despite the Diamondbacks scoring first when Christian Walker tripled to start the second inning and was then brought home by Calhoun grounding out to first, the game was over by the fourth inning. The Tigers responded by tying the game up in the top of the third. The Diamondbacks went quickly and quietly in the fourth. Then the Tigers hung a three-spot on Bumgarner. Given how both teams were looking, it was one of those evenings where it felt eminently safe to turn off the game and to binge watch some Lucifer instead in order to be caught up when the next season drops here shortly.
The Player of the game was Matt Manning. He almost single-handedly won the game for the Tigers, as not only did he limit the Snakes to two runs through 7 1⁄3 innings, but he went 1-for-3 with an RBI. That’s the kind of night Arizona had.
The two teams are at it again tomorrow night. The Tigers will send Daniel Norris to the mound. The Diamondbacks will counter with Zac Gallen.