Coming into tonight’s game, Zac Gallen had been fairly lucky to escape with an ERA under 3. He’d allowed 2 HRs in 10IP, with an abnormally high walk rate to boot, walking 6 but striking out 15 to start the young season. And it’s tough to see exactly where things are going wrong for Zac as batters are squaring up his pitchers more often. Small sample size be damned, his velocity is within last years numbers and who knows, maybe his opening start is skewing things. It’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to more batters pulling the ball with hard contact.
Gallen started out about as good as you could, striking out Springer, Altuve, and Bregman all in order to lead off the inning.
Arizona @Dbacks pitcher Zac Gallen started off tonight’s game by striking out George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman in the 1st inning. pic.twitter.com/ZcZs4aJqBn— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 6, 2020
Gallen would keep up the strong effort the next 2 innings, allowing a single and walk without allowing a run. The luck would turn to the Astros in the 4th, after Altuve singled and stole second, with 2 out Yuli Gurriel grounded a ball down the 3rd base line, hitting the base, robbing Escobar of a chance to get out of the inning and allowing Altuve to score, 1-0 Astros.
He settled down again in the 5th, allowing a single but erasing the runner on a double play but the home run ball showed it’s face in the 6th as Altuve smashing a hanging curveball to left for a 2-0 lead.
That would be all for the righty this start, he finished with a very solid line of 6 IP, 6Ks, 2BBs, with the 2 runs allowed, giving the D-backs a chance to win the game. Unfortunately for him, the offense again struggled, this time by a starter making his first career MLB start.
Brandon Bielak had been working as the long man out of the bullpen, but with Greinke needing another day to recover, he took the ball and was pretty good. Over his 5 innings, he allowed 3 hits and 3 walks, allowing a single runner to reach 2nd, Andy Young in the 3rd. Meanwhile, the man he was replacing enjoyed a nice quiet day at the ballpark :)
This is what heaven looks like for Zack Greinke.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 7, 2020
Chilling at a baseball game...and doesn't need to talk to anyone. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/ACGkrj6GhQ
After the 5 scoreless innings and only 82 pitches, Dusty Baker pulled him from the game. It was probably the right call seeing as Bielak hadn’t started a game in close to a year. The offense pounced.
After a Calhoun fly out, Starling Marte doubled to right and Christian Walker doubled him home with a moonshot that missed being a homer by a couple feet. Escobar followed with a single, as did Peralta, driving home Walker and putting runners at 2nd and 1st. Carson Kelly walked, loading the bases and an Andy Young grounder to 2nd was hit just soft enough to not allow a double play, scoring the third run of the inning and giving the D-backs a 3-2 lead.
Neither team could score in the 7th, but with a slim 1 run lead, Stefan Crichton came on in the 8th and promptly gave it away. Okay well maybe not promptly, as he retired the first two batters he faced but Altuve doubled down the line and Bregman turned around an outside breaking ball for a lead-grabbing 2 run homer, 4-3 Astros. I’m kind of surprised they decided to pitch to Bregman after falling behind 2-1 in the count. With 1st base open, I thought they’d throw around him and let Chafin go after Brantley. But, that’s not what happened and they were now trailing with 6 outs to go.
Okay maybe just three outs as they went down in order in the 8th. Junior Guerra worked around an error to keep the deficit at the single run in the 9th.
(Can I just mention how weird it was not to have Archie pitching in the 9th in a close game? His last appearance was July 31st for crying out loud. Maybe the middle finger was some unnecessary fuel they didn’t want to feed the Astros hitters with, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Andy Young led things off with a professional plate appearance, taking a walk to serve as the tying run. Tim Locastro would pinch-run. Nick Ahmed swung first pitch (???) and barely eked a single through the left side, and Ketel Marte smashed his 3rd hit of the game into left field but hit it too hard, as Tim had to stay at 3rd. After that, Kole Calhoun had his time to shine and boy did he ever
5-4 Diamondbacks win.
Ketel Marte was your star of the game, delivering a 24.5% WPA on the night. Hat-tip to Andy Young for drawing two walks and starting the whole thing off in the 9th.
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The [5-8] D-backs head to [7-6] San Diego again for a 3-game set with the Padres. First pitch at 7:10. Stop on by!