If you’ve watched Major League Baseball long enough, you just knew that something had to break eventually for the Arizona Diamondbacks. There is no way that they were as terrible as we had seen to start the season, right? Through their first 11 games, they had only scored 29 runs with a differential of -31 and hit a pathetic 2 home runs as a team. Tonight, in spite of my jests before the game, they made an abrupt about-face.
Tonight’s game began with the roof closed scheduled to be opened at the conclusion of the third inning. It was the first time that it would be opened this season and much later in the year than you’d typically expect it to be provided that there were no fans to keep comfortable. Robbie Ray took the bump facing off against Lance McCullers Jr. Ray was looking to complete five innings for the first time this year. He got through the first inning relatively easy allowing only a two out double to Alex Bregman, but did have two loud outs against him to Starling Marte in center field. That hard contact would carry over into the second and result in damage from the first three batters. Carlos Correa got it started with a double and scored on a single to center field. Left hander Kyle Tucker then took Ray yard to right field to give the Astros an early 3-0 lead. Three more fly outs to the outfield after a mound visit got him out of the inning, but it was obvious that the Astros hitters were on top of him.
Meanwhile, Lance McCullers Jr. was perfect through three innings. The Diamondbacks offensive woes continued as they failed to even have a batted ball make it out of the infield let alone fall for a hit. Just like that I was looking forward to turning off the game to tune in to alternate programming.
So my go out on a limb prediction is that Hayden and Nicole will be the final two (if they’re on the cast). https://t.co/t3v3MwdbC6— Keegan Thompson (@k_man5000) August 6, 2020
The roof opened as scheduled in the fourth inning (more on that in CoTD), and Houston extended their lead 4-0 on a deep home run to left field from Abraham Toro, so hope was fading fast. And then suddenly with a clear sky above them the Diamondbacks hitters remembered that they can do damge with the bats the yield in their hands, making us witness to an offensive onslaught from them unlike any we have seen this season. The first seven D’backs hitters reached base in the fourth, and the team hit for the cycle in the form of a little league home run from Kole Calhoun, a bunt single from Starling Marte, a ground rule double from Christian Walker, and a bases clearing triple from David Peralta, Yeah, it was unbelievably fun to watch and was just getting started.
The Diamondbacks have hit for the cycle this inning with a bunt single, a ground rule double, a regular triple, and an inside the park homer— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) August 6, 2020
The #Dbacks just scored six runs without recording an out. It took them 31 innings to score their previous six runs before that.— Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) August 6, 2020
McCullers Jr.’s night was over after surrendering subsequent doubles to Stephen Vogt and Ketel Marte. He had a perfect game through three innings needing only 31 pitches, but once the roof opened it took only 28 pitches for Arizona to score 8 runs on 7 hits off of him. Once the dust had finally settled on the fourth inning, the Diamondbacks had taken a 9-4 lead. Ketel Marte, Kole Calhoun, and Christian Walker each had two hits in the inning.
With a five run lead, the D’backs desperately needed a shutdown inning from Robbie Ray. His pitch count was healthy by his standards, but his control left more to be desired, and the Astros were still seeing (or being tipped off to) his pitches really well. A walk to Martin Maldonado and two run home run from George Springer reminded us that this game was far from over, bringing the score 9-6 still in favor of Arizona. It appeared that once again Ray would be unable to complete the fifth inning, but consecutive strikeouts to Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman put him into position to finish the frame with a strikeout to Carlos Correa. That concluded Robbie’s evening, his final line after 5 innings being 6 runs on 6 hits with... 6 strikeouts.
Arizona regained their five run lead in the bottom half of the fifth with a two out burst. Jon Jay, celebrating his 10 year MLB service anniversary, doubled and then was brought home on Nick Ahmed’s first home run of the season. Ketel Marte knocked his third hit of the game to follow, but no further damage would come of it. From that point it was smooth seas and the score held until the seventh inning. David Peralta hit his first home run of the season to right field making it 12 to 6. Hector Rondon surrendered a solo home run to Yuli Gurriel in the eighth, but Eduardo Escobar countered with his first home run of the season, a two run shot, in the bottom half resulting in the final score of 14 to 7.
Arizona scored almost half as many runs in this game as they had all season and hit twice as many home runs in this game as they had in the 11 prior. They still have a run differential of -24 and are 4 games below .500 with only 48 left to play, but it was a much welcomed step in the right direction. Hopefully, they feed off of this energy and have at least a competent offense going forward. One thing is for sure, they should never close the roof again.
#Dbacks' runs per inning at Chase Field:— Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) August 6, 2020
With roof closed: 0.26
With roof open: 9.00
Chase Field with roof and panels open: David Peralta, 2-for-4, HR, Triple, 4 RBI, BB, 22.8% WPA
Chase Field with roof open and panels closed: Kole Calhoun, 2-for-5, inside the park HR, 16.4% WPA
Minute Maid Park with roof closed, stupid train, and audible trash can banging from dugout: Robbie Ray, 5 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 HR, 6 K’s, -25.5% WPA
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