The series finale in Arlington, Texas featured a face off of two veteran pitchers on the mound in Lance Lynn and Madison Bumgarner (feels really odd discussing him as a member of the D’backs). Lance was fourth in strikeouts in the American League last season. Both he and Madbum had the strikeout working today with the assistance of a generous strike zone from home plate umpire, Adrian Johnson. Johnson was really favoring the strike call off the plate to left handers in the right handed batters box, but was at least consistently giving the call to both pitchers. Ketel Marte was the first victim of said expanded strike zone being called out on a third well off the plate.
Bumgarner was still a few ticks slower on his fastball in this start from where he has been in previous seasons, sitting around 88 MPH. I don’t bring this up to jump to conclusions or make a bigger deal out of it than it actually is, but just something to pay attention to as the season goes on. Remember when everyone collectively lost their minds about Zack Greinke when he came to Arizona, but he continued to age like a fine wine? We just need to wait and see.
Here's Madison Bumgarner's average velocity on his four-seam fastball by game in his career.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) July 29, 2020
That one dot all the way to the right and below the rest? That's his Opening Day start on July 24 -- 87.9 mph.
Through 3 IP today, he's averaging 88.0 mph. pic.twitter.com/k5Q9tHa1bP
This start mirrored Bumgarner’s first of the season in San Diego in that he mostly sailed through the early innings before the Rangers finally got to him at the end of his outing. Madison was able to keep the Rangers hitless until a fourth inning, two out, solo home run to left field from Todd “Father” Frazier. Frazier had just barely missed a home run to the same location in his first at bat, so it is evident he was seeing the southpaw with ease today. The rest of the Rangers lineup gathered their bearings against Madison in the fifth. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Scott Heineman, and Jose Trevino all singled pushing the score 2-0 in favor of Texas before Bumgarner ended the threat.
The Diamondbacks couldn’t muster up an offensive push against Lance Lynn outside of a bases loaded threat in the top of the third. Carson Kelly drew a full count walk to begin that inning, and Jon Jay advanced him to third base with Arizona’s first hit of the game on a single to right field. Ketel Marte drew a one out walk to load the bases, but Lynn drew another courteous, wide, strike three call against Jake Lamb for the second out, and ended the scoring opportunity when Eduardo Escobar flew out to left field.
The 2-0 Texas advantage held until Arizona was able to get to the Texas bullpen. Jesse Chavez came on in relief of Lynn in the seventh inning. Christian Walker knocked the first of his two check swing infield singles on the afternoon, and was advanced to third on a slicing double from David Peralta down the left field line. Carson Kelly broke the seal for the Diamondbacks with his first hit on the season, a single to center field, scoring Walker. Jon Jay brought the tying run home on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Diamondbacks continued the scoring attack in the eighth. Kole Calhoun was hit by a pitch on his back foot to lead off. Tory Lovullo took the hit by pitch as an opportunity to pinch run Tim Locastro for Calhoun, and it paid off immediately. Eduardo Escobar hit a lining triple to right field, scoring the fastest man in the league from first base and gave Arizona their first lead of the game. Another check swing infield single from Walker put runners on the corners with one out. Peralta brought Escobar in on a sacrifice fly to left field, giving the Diamondbacks a 4-2 lead. Arizona was only six outs away from coming back to Chase Field with a .500 record, but not before Jake Lamb went out and got himself a Texas sized golden sombrero with his fourth strikeout of the game.
Six. Outs. Away. With left handers Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo due up in the bottom of the eighth, Lovullo made the obvious choice to go with Andrew Chafin out of the bullpen hoping to hand it off to Archie Bradley for the save, right? Right? Except it did not go how any of us hoped. Chafin got ahead of Odor with an 0-2 count, but then tried to get too fancy after that. Eventually, the count ran full at which time I commented to my fiance that you do not want to walk Odor in front of Gallo with only a two run lead. (She responded with a line from My Cousin Vinny, which, like, what the hell dude? I was totally right. This isn’t a time to play games.) Chafin of course walked Odor after being ahead bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of the Rangers biggest bat in the lineup, Joey Gallo. First home run in the history of Globe Life Field. Yeah, that guy. Two run homer. Absolutely jacked. Left field. Tie game. F#&k! But wait, there’s more! Because MLB likes to feel our pain, Chafin had the privilege of staying in for a third batter with the new rule change. He only gave up a double to Frazier for his final batter of the game. No big deal. Tie game with the go ahead run in scoring position. Round of applause.
Hector Rondon was tasked with mopping up the mess and keeping the score tied, but did not survive a better fate. He recorded the first two outs of the inning with relative ease on a fielder’s choice and strikeout, but imploded afterwards. Rondon walked the bases loaded and gave up successive singles to Elvis Andrus and Nick Solak giving Texas the decisive 7-4 lead. Pain.
The Diamondbacks now head back to Chase Field for the first time this season with a 2-4 record. The road only gets more difficult from here with a four game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, don’t take my agony of this game as complaining. I’m just grateful to have baseball back in some form. Any day where I get the opportunity to recap is a good day. Wins are just more fun. Stay safe. Take care of yourselves and your families. Wear your masks.
Twelve gallon hat: Eduardo Escobar- 1-for-4, triple, RBI, 16.2% WPA.
Trucker cap: David Peralta- 1-for-3, double, sac fly RBI, 13.6% WPA.
Old busted fedora: Andrew Chafin- 3 ER, HR allowed, 2B allowed, -53.4% WPA. Hector Rondon- 2 ER, 3 BB -22.2% WPA.
Golden sombrero: Jake Lamb- 4K’s, -13.3%
Total comments: 318
Total commenters: 27
Commenter list: 520Tommy, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, ChuckJohnson56, Craig’s City Counsell, DBacksEurope, DeadManG, Docnoeld, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Muu, Oscar Goldman, SenSurround, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, Totally Not Blind Squirrel, but still I apologize, edbigghead, gzimmerm, kilnborn, ryeandi, since_98, suroeste, yutzamin
In the absence of Sedona Red comments, I’m going to choose this string of commentary for CoTD as it sums up how a large chunk of us feel.