The D-backs offense spotted Luke Weaver a 2-0 lead tonight, but he was not able to hold it giving up one in the 3rd and two in the 6th. That was all the Astros needed tonight for the one run margin of victory.
Daulton Varsho, Josh VanMeter and Josh Rojas all struck out against Astros starter Cristian Javier to open the game. But Kole Calhoun lead off the 2nd inning by depositing a middle in fastball into the right field bleachers for his 15th homer of the year and 6th in his last 5 games. It was his 12th RBI on the road trip, all via the homerun according to the broadcast team.
THIS MAN CANNOT BE STOPPED. pic.twitter.com/RCscaJ6NGv— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 19, 2020
They scored another run in the 3rd thanks to the kiddie core manufacturing a run. Varsho lead off the with a double and moved up to 3rd on a VanMeter groundout to first. He came home on a sac fly to center by Josh Rojas giving the DBacks a 2-0 lead
Weaver got through the first two innings on just 27 pitches and the only baserunner allowed came from an Eduardo Escobar throwing error. In the 3rd inning Josh Reddick singled on the 10th pitch of his at bat and Martin Maldonado walked. Two 5-4 force outs later the Astros had their first run.
Weaver actually retired 9 in a row and entered the 6th clinging to his 2-1 lead. However a bloop single by George Springer was followed quickly by Jose Altuve’s double in the RCF gap to score Springer and tie the game at two. Michael Brantley hit a ground ball up the middle for a base hit and runners were at 1st and 3rd with nobody out and just 5 pitches thrown. Weaver struck out Alex Bregman. But Kyle Tucker singled to left on the second pitch he saw to score Altuve and give the Astros a 3-2 lead, resulting in the end of Weaver’s night. Yoan Lopez came on and induced a double play to end the inning.
Weaver pitched well, but they jumped him 3rd time through the order as often happens in MLB these days. His final line was 5 1⁄3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3ER, 1 BB, 4K. After the game Bob Brenly reiterated his comments from during the game. Weaver seemed to be missing his spots and was getting away with it. Still, he’d allowed just 1 hit, 1 walk and 1 run through 5, and two of the hits he gave up in the 6th were a blooper and ground ball. He deserved better. He agreed. In his post game comments he said he felt he pitched well and just made a mistake to Altuve on the double, yanking a fastball. He had some funny back and forth teasing Zach Buchanan of the Athletic and turning the tables on the writers, evaluating their performance, telling them they needed to mix it up a little more. Great stuff from Luke
Unfortunately the D-backs were hitless over the last 5 innings against Javier and a string of Astros relievers. They did manage a few baserunners but blew a golden opportunity in the 7th. Pavin Smith drew a one out walk and Wyatt Mathisen was hit by a pitch. But Jon Jay lined out sharply to left and Smith was caught too far off the bag and doubled off second.
In the 8th with the lefty Brooks Raley on the mound and the top of the order up, Torey opted to let his three young left handed hitters stay in the game and hit. Varsho grounded out to first. VanMeter drew a walk, but Rojas and Calhoun K’d to end the inning.
Torey was questioned about not pinch hitting for the left hand batters with a full compliment of right hand batters on the bench. He acknowledged the balance they are trying to strike giving players development time and to see how they handle these situations may not always comport with making every possible move to win a game.
Josh Rojas also was asked about facing lefties and he pointed out that he was never pinch hit for in the minors vs. a LHP and he feels confident against lefties. But he acknowledged the results are not there yet.
You can listen to their full comments here:
In the 9th they went 3 up 3 down, with Smith striking out for the final out of the game.
The bullpen had another good night. Yoan Lopez recorded 5 outs in 4 batters faced and Keury Mella pitched a scoreless 8th, giving up a lone two out single.
While the team is emphasizing approach at the plate, it is a bit disheartening not to see more results from all the young hitters that are getting playing time. They’ll be back at it tomorrow at 11:10 A.M. Arizona Time, 2:10 Eastern, 1:10 Central to try to win the rubber match of the series.
Yoan Lopez + .126 WPA thanks to the big DP in the 6th
Wyatt Mathisen +.068 WPA thanks to a walk and the HBP. Who knew
Kole Calboom +.036 thanks to his homer
Jon Jay -.241 WPA, 0-3, 4 LOB, but Smith deserves some of that for getting doubled off
Luke Weaver -.179, Hey pitching well or not, he gave up the lead. That will hurt your Win Percentage.
Eduardo Escobar -.127 WPA, another 0’fer night.
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No Red Comments. Suggest you guys listen to the Weaver Audio and take his advice. Up your game guys !