Beating a team like Detroit should not be this hard. Scoring more than a single run through 13 innings when facing mediocre pitching should not feel like a monumental task.
On one hand, Arizona showed, once again, why it has arguably the best pitching staff in the Majors as Luke Weaver, followed by the bullpen, managed to allow only two runs through 13 innings. On the other hand, if ever there was a game that demanded the team make some adjustments to the offense, this was that game. Despite the fact that he has really been turning things around of late, Nick Ahmed’s 0-for-6 is a painful stat. Even more painful, Josh Rojas, the recent offensive juggernaut, also posted an 0-for-6. Between the two batters, they left eight runners on the bases.
The Tigers struck first in this game. In the fourth inning, C.J. Cron came to bat with one away and put a 1-1 pitch into the seats. Weaver did not allow this to rattle him. He settled back in and continued to cruise through the fifth and sixth. Then, in the seventh inning, he started to show signs of tiring. He allowed a single and a walk, which brought Andrew Chafin in from the bullpen. Chafin didn’t mess about. A strikeout, a sacrifice bunt, and another strikeout ended the Detroit seventh inning threat. For the most part, Weaver was masterful and he really deserved a better fate than a no-decision.
Of course, as good as Weaver was for Arizona, Tarik Skubal was even better for Detroit. Through six innings of work, Skubal allowed only three hits and didn’t walk anyone (though he did hit Christian Walker with a pitch in the first). Arizona simply never looked comfortable at the plate in this one. Then, in the bottom of the seventh fortune “smiled” upon the Diamondbacks. Christian Walker battled his way to a 3-2 count from which he put a Skubal fastball into the right field bleachers to tie the game. Josh Rojas then grounded out to Cron at first. This brought up Carson Kelly. Onthe first pitch to Kelly, Skubal’s delivery went pear-shaped, resulting in a ball out over the plate. Kelly put a good swing on it and hit it towards the left field corner. Charging hard, Christin Stewart was unable to make the play going into foul ground. He did, however, get some glove on the ball, resulting in him being charged with an error.If he had been half a step slower, the ball would have fallen for a clean hit. Stewart was able to field the bounce cleanly and fired the ball back into the infield, forcing Kelly to put on the brakes and return to first base after making a wide turn.
After the play was over,there was a meeting on the mound from which Skubal headed to the tunnel, along with the trainer. After 6 1⁄3 innings of being owned by Skubal, the Diamondbacks were firmly in the camp of “anyone but Skubal”. Unfortunately for Arizona, the Detroit bullpen felt like showing up their starter. Matching Skubal’s outing, the Tigers’ bullpen went one out better, allowing only four more hits in 6 2⁄3 innings of work. It seems that Arizona’s hitters weren’t just being fooled by Skubal, but were just slumping as a total unit in this game.
In a game that went 13 innings, one could be forgiven for expecting there to be plenty to dicuss. This was not one of those sorts of games though. In the 11th inning, the Diamondbacks put runners on first and second with two away, but could not score. In the 12th inning, the Tigers clipped their third Arizona hitter of the night, setting up runners at first and second with only one out for Arizona. The Diamondbacks were still unable to make anything happen.
The 13th inning marked Alex Young’s second inning of work. After getting two out, Young allowed a pair of weak, seeing-eye singles. This brought Héctor Rondón out of the bullpen. Alas, Rondón allowed a line drive single to left off the bat of Cron, which scored pinch-runner Travis Demeritte from second. Another single followed, loading the bases. Finally, on his third batter, Rondón managed to get the one out he was brought in for and to close out the side.
With one out in the bottom of the 13th, Kelly worked a 10-pitch walk, but never advanced beyond first base. Kevin Cron came in to pinch-hit and put together a good at-bat, working it to seven pitches before flying out to deep left. That was as close as the Diamondbacks would come to “excitement”. At least this was an afternoon game, meaning that the slightly under five hours it took to complete did not entirely waste the day. The evening was still left to complain about Arizona’s performance while driving home in time to eat dinner.
Final Score: DET 2 - AZ 1
Tarik Skubal was named player of the game.
The Colorado Rockies are already in town for tomorrow night’s game at Chase Field. Colorado will start German Marquez. The Diamondbacks will roll the dice with another Mike Leake start.