Frankly, it’s a good thing that the All-Star break began once this game was over. Another abbreviated start, this one by Robbie Ray, has completely depleted Arizona’s pitching staff. The entire staff is now either tired out or injured. In some cases, a good case could be made that the pitcher is both. In this start, the 2018/19 version of Robbie Ray showed up. The left-hander struck out a whopping 11 White Sox in only 4 2⁄3 innings. But then, he also walked five Chicago hitters in that same span, putting his pitch count at 102 before getting the final out that would qualify his start. Not only did Ray’s early exit put extra innings on an already tired bullpen, the game wound up going into extra innings, tacking two more frames onto the end of the outing. In all, the Diamondbacks needed the services of eight pitchers to complete this game. It’s a good thing it ended when it did, as Arizona would likely have had to turn to position players as pitchers for the 12th inning and beyond.
Ray’s outing was not terrible, but it certainly did Arizona few favors. The Snakes provided their starter with a four-run lead before he ever took the mound. By the time Ray left the game in the fifth, the White Sox had already taken three of those back. Junior Guerra’s early season luck continued to fade in the sixth, allowing Chicago to tie the game up.
The Diamondbacks did re-take the lead briefly in the eighth inning. Josh Rojas scored from second when Yairo Munoz laced a two-out single into center. The speedy Rojas was easily able to beat the throw home by Luis Robert. Unfortunately, the Arizona bullpen was unable to hold the lead. This time, it was Will Smith who stumbled. With two outs and Nomar Mazara on second, Enrique Hernandez dumped a single over the head of Ketel Marte a bit behind first base. Mazara, who was running on contact beat the throw home, tying the game once again.
The eventual difference-maker came in the 11th inning. Carson Kelly led off the inning with his second blast of the game. Michael A. Taylor followed two batters later with a single. One out later, he was picked off at first to end the Arizona half of the inning. In the bottom of the eleventh, James Sherfy took the mound. Sherfy started by striking out Hernandez. Then, in a nine-pitch battle, Danny Mendick fouled off five consecutive 2-2 pitches before finally drawing a walk. Neither of Sherfy’s final two pitches were anywhere close to the zone. After the walk, he left the game due to back spasms. This forced a tired Kevin Ginkel to enter the game to record the final two outs. It took him 20 pitches and he walked a batter in the process, but he managed to prove himself up to the task.
Final Score: AZ 6 - CHW 5 (11)
The Diamondbacks (56-40) now get to enjoy a bit of time off to nurse their wounds and to rest up. The enter the break in second place in the NL West, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (64-32). They sit first place in the Wild Card standings, ahead of the division rival San Diego Padres (50-47).
Arizona’s next game comes on Friday, when the Diamondbacks will play host to the Miami Marlins. Pitching match-ups are to be determined.
Arizona’s representation in the All-Star Game will be revealed and covered on Tuesday.