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Diamondbacks 3, Los Angeles 6: The Banality of Suck

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Sadly, this one was much less close than the score might suggest.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

So I was toying, early on in this game, with the idea of just making up a happy fiction for us all about how this game went. Then it started to look like it might not be necessary. Then it started to seem very much necessary. Then, at the very end, not so much again. Hell, I was even toying with writing this damn thing in rhyming couplets or something. But no. I wound up watching until the end, and it wasn’t even bitter, really, when it arrived. I think it’s kinda like how one gets used to nasty smells after a few continuous minutes of being exposed to them. The same thing can occur, apparently, with tastes. So.

There’s really not a whole lot to say about this one, so I’m going to eschew the inning-by-inning detail work and instead go broadly with bullet points. If you were fortunate enough to miss this game, here’s a bunch of what seem to me to be salient points, from which a narrative will emerge:

  • It took Diamondbacks starter Alex Young 35 pitches to get through the bottom of the 1st inning, though only one run crossed the plate in that frame.
  • Our infielders allowed two errors at relatively crucial moments (awarded to Eduardo Escobar and Nick Ahmed, the former validly and the latter, I would contend, unfairly—the error should have been awarded to Christian Walker, IMHO). There was a third play that wasn’t scored an error on Kole Calhoun, though frankly it should have been—he misplayed a Chris Taylor liner to right that went over his head and resulted in what the official scorers deemed a two-RBI double.
  • Diamondbacks pitchers didn’t record a single 1-2-3 inning until new bullpen occupant Joel Payamps managed to set down the Dodgers in order in the 7th, his second inning of work. It was the only clean inning the Snakes would record.
  • Meanwhile, the Dodgers sat down the D-Backs in order in the 1st, the 4th, the 5th, the 6th, the 7th, and would have done so in the 8th as well had it not been for Tim Locastro’s long-awaited first HBP of the year.
  • Tim Locastro was the only Diamondback hitter to reach base more than once (cf. the HBP mentioned above), while four of our hitters didn’t reach at all. Meanwhile, six of nine members of the Dodgers lineup reached base more than once, while only two of their hitters didn’t reach at all.
  • Dodgers hitters saw 146 pitches from our pitchers over 8 innings. Our hitters saw 134 pitches from theirs. Both of the walks we drew came in the top of the 9th; the Dodgers were gifted 8 free passes, three of which scored. There’s the difference in the ballgame right there.

So, yeah, that all was fun. Anyway.

Despite his first-inning travails, Alex Young wound up with pretty much as respectable a start as he had last Tuesday: 5IP, 6H, 2 ER, 4R, 5BB, 4K on 89 pitches thrown. Leaving out the unearned runs, that’s as close to a quality start as any of our starters not named Zac Gallen have managed in awhile. So once again, it’s a shame that our offense and our bullpen couldn’t come together to support the effort. But, well, what can you do?

The bright spots on this one were really pretty few and far between, but there were a few. For instance, Tim Locastro made this really nice play on a sinking liner into the left field corner that saved a couple of runs:

This one, meanwhile, was a nice bit of business from Daulton Varsho, who was manning center field tonight:

And then there were the highlights from the offense. Here’s a rarely-seen (in 2020, anyway) dinger to left-center from Carson Kelly, that tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the 3rd:

And finally, with two outs in the top of the 9th, Kole Calhoun drew a walk, and then Nick Ahmed, whose bat has gone very, very cold of late, decided to make the score seem at least a bit more respectable with this bit of business off of Dodgers garbage-time closer Scott Alexander:

That brought the score to 6-3, after which Alexander surrendered his second walk of the 9th to Andy Young (and thus allowing Young to avoid the dreaded golden sombrero). That chased Alexander and brought Kenley Jansen into the game, which was bad because he struck out Varsho on five pitches but which was good because we actually made him go to work and perhaps that will be of benefit later in the series. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Win Probability Added, courtesy of Fangraphs

A Mildly Successful Model Rocket Launch: Carson Kelly (1HR, +9.3% WPA), Ketel Marte (+3.2% WPA), Keury Mella (1 IP, no ER allowed, +0.1% WPA)

Firing All the Guns at Once, with Predictable Consequences: Alex Young (-20.7% WPA), Christian Walker 0-4, (-10.4% WPA)

I wouldn’t have included Marte or Mella (who pitched a scoreless 8th, and is apparently someone who’s had cups of coffee with Cincinnati over the last three seasons) in the above, but those two, along with Carson, were the only Diamondbacks players who had a positive WPA at all, which tells you in its own way pretty much everything you need to know about this game.

Nevertheless, it turned out to be a pretty well-attended Gameday Thread tonight, just getting to 300 comments at the moment when I’m typing this. DC led the way with 47 comments, despite noping out quite understandably in I think the 7th inning. All present and accounted for were:

AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, ChuckJohnson56, DBacksEurope, Dano_in_Tucson, GuruB, Husk, Jack Sommers, JoeCB1991, Juvi Juice, Makakilo, MesaDBacksFan, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Totally Not Blind Squirrel, but still I apologize, Ubersnake, gzimmerm, makattack71, onedotfive, since_98, therealramona

CotG goes to Smurf1000, for this fundamentally true observation that also carries the distinction of having gone into Sedona Red territory before there were even 50 comments in the thread:

You are not wrong, Smurf. You are not wrong.

Anyway. Tune in tomorrow if you fancy getting another look at our one healthy starter who’s been pitching effectively in 2020. Zac Gallen goes up against Dodgers righty and recent blister victim Walker Buehler, who hasn’t pitched since going on the IL after his August 21 start. This one feels like it might be winnable, so here’s hoping. First pitch is 6:40pm Arizona time,

As always, thanks for reading, and go D-Backs!