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Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 5: Almost Got There

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A disappointing result on a largely frustrating night, but we were still very much in it until the last pitch of the game....

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Looking to snap a profoundly demoralizing six-game losing streak that had erased all the progress we’d made with the six-game winning streak that preceded it, our D-Backs turned to Alex Young to see if he could bounce back from his bumpy previous start and deliver us a good outing against Colorado RHP German Marquez.

It didn’t begin terribly well, frankly. Alex wasn’t locating well in the first inning. He retired the Rockies’ leadoff batter, LF Raimel Tapia, to start the ball game, but then allowed the heart of the Rockies’ order to reach on a Trevor Story triple in the right-center gap, a Nolan Arenado double into the left field corner, a walk to Charlie Blackmon, and Matt Kemp double to left. All those hits were hard contact, too....it didn’t seem to bode well. Once he got into the bottom of the order, though, he settled down a bit, striking out Colorado 1B Josh Fuentes on three pitches, and then inducing 2B Brandon Rodgers to fly out to right. Young had already thrown 30 pitches, though, and the Rockies had a crooked number. 2-0 Colorado

Marquez escaped the bottom of the first unscathed, despite a one-out double to the gap in left-center courtesy of Ketel Marte. Infield groundouts from Starling Marte and David Peralta left him stranded in scoring position, a theme that would continue throughout the evening.

Happily, though, Young seemed a lot more comfortable on the mound, sitting down the Rockies in order with two strikeouts and a 12-pitch frame. Then the Diamondbacks decided to get those runs back. Christian Walker led off the bottom of the second with this nice little bomb to the left-field seats:

Eduardo Escobar then struck out for the first time (there would be three times, ultimately), and Ahmed grounded out to short, bringing up Jon Jay, who has spent 2020 well below the Mendoza line, and who hadn’t hit a homer since 2018, a span of several hundred plate appearances. But Jay, happily, did some business of his own:

Carson Kelly, who was kind of the God Emperor of Suck tonight, then struck out looking, but at least we’d tied the game with a crooked number of our very own. 2-2 TIE

Young pitched a scoreless third, before allowing the Rockies to take the lead again in the fourth on a two-out Garrett Hampson HR to left. 3-2 Colorado

Our boys weren’t okay with that, though, and we managed to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth on a Walker leadoff single, a sharp Peralta double to right, and a Nick Ahmed walk. One might have hoped that this would lead to a big inning, one that might actually give the Diamondbacks a lead for the first time in I don’t know how many games at this point. Sadly, though, Jon Jay’s sac fly to the warning track in centerwas the only RBI we were able to manage, though Kole Calhoun managed to load the bases again by drawing a two-out walk. 3-3 TIE

Young came out for the fifth, and after hitting Tapia with an errant pitch to lead off the inning, set down the heart of the Rockies order to end his night on a high note. He pitched really well aside from the messy first inning, and got stretched out to a full five innings, which in 2020 Diamondbacks terms should count as a quality start. His final line was 5IP, 5H, 3ER, 1BB, 5K, with 90 pitches thrown (and bear in mind, 30 of those pitches were in that first inning). Hopefully he continues to do good work for us going forward, especially with Merrill Kelly on a trip to the IL.

Anyhow. The bullpen, once again, squandered a respectable starting effort, though the culprit today was not in fact Hector Rondon, who pitched a messy but scoreless sixth. It was in fact Stefan Crichton, who’s been one of our bright spots in a relief capacity. To be fair, though, he’s been working a fair amount, and came out for the seventh tonight after pitching the last two innings in last night’s game. He recorded the first out before running into trouble by surrendering a walk to Story, followed by a double off the fence in the left field corner to Arenado, a ball that just missed winding up on the other side of the fence but still scored Story, who’d stolen second for the 2nd time in the game. Charlie Blackmon was then intentionally walked, and Matt Kemp hit an infield single that pinballed between Ahmed and Escobar but stayed in the infield, loading the bases. That got Chricton the hook, and Junior Guerra came in. One Carson Kelly passed ball later, the Rockies had another crooked number, which was ultimately all they needed. 5-3 Colorado

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks offense was squandering stuff themselves as well. Nick Ahmed led off the sixth with a leadoff double to left, and was left standing at third base when the final out of that frame was recorded. Starling Marte hit a one-out double down the right field line in the seventh, only to be left standing on third base at the end of that frame. Ahmed walked again with one out in the eighth, but was still on first when the inning ended.

And so we come to the bottom of the ninth. Daniel Bard was back out on the mound for the Rockies, looking for his second save in as many nights. And, to be fair, we did put up a fight. Calhoun began the inning with a leadoff walk. Ketel then struck out, and Starling grounded to short but just beat the double play. He advanced to second on defensive indifference early in David Peralta’s at bat, and then the Freight Train singled sharply to left, bringing home S-Mart:

Bard then hit Walker with a pitch, and Escobar had a really nice seven-pitch at bat in which he started down 1-2 and nevertheless managed to work the base on balls. So, two outs, bases loaded, one-run game, Nick Ahmed coming up on a night where he had managed a double and two walks already. Aaaand....he struck out on three pitches. To be fair, they were all good pitches, and the last two of them strikes, but sadly, we couldn’t quite get to where we wanted to be. 5-4 Colorado

WIN PROBABILITY ADDED, courtesy of Fangraphs

No Clowning Around: Christian Walker (+14.1% WPA), Eduardo Escobar, happily (+11.1% WPA)
A Madness of Clowns: Stefan Crichton (-28.7% WPA), Carson Kelly (-19.6% WPA), Ketel Marte (-18.6% WPA), Nick Ahmed (-12.1 WPA)

The Gameday Thread was relatively well-attended (though not by the insane standards of yesterday’s game), with 25 commenters supplying 328 comments. Yours truly actually led the way with 37—though bear in mind I stuck around for the whole thing, whereas many others checked out early—followed by Snake_Bitten and Preston Salisbury, who clocked in at 31 each. All present and accounted for were:

68 88 96 98, Augdogs, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, ChuckJohnson56, Dano_in_Tucson, Gilbertdbackfan, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, MesaDBacksFan, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Preston Salisbury, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Ubersnake, kilnborn, onedotfive, therealramona

COtG is a bit awkward for this one, as the one with the most Sedona Red was in fact one of mine, and the other two that were in the red for most of the night were a GIF and an image of a cartoon animal and both were sad things involving hammers. It was kind of a gallows humor night in the thread tonight, for completely understandable reasons. So I’m going to give this one to Jack, who was kinda pushed over the edge by the Carson Kelly passed ball (with the thread that led up to it, for context):

So. If you are feeling brave, join us again tomorrow for the Robbie Ray takes the mound against Colorado RHP Jon Gray, who also currently sports an ERA over 6. You’d imagine that there’ll be some runs scored, anyway, and runs are fun, right? First pitch is once again 6:40pm AZ time. Hope to see you.

As always, thanks for reading. Go D-Backs!