I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised to catch Zac Gallen’s first start of the season, though given how quickly he was back after that weird stress fracture in his arm, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While he wasn’t particularly sharp—no perfectly clean innings and big pitch counts in each inning he pitched—he still looked pretty good. So that was nice.
After going up 0-2 on A’s leadoff batter Mark Canha, Gallen threw the next four pitches for balls, which wasn’t a good sign, and one out later he surrendered a Jed Lowrie single to shallow left, advancing Canha to third. Then he rallied, though, and struck out the next two batters on four pitches each to wriggle off the hook. He pitched around traffic in the second and third innings, due to another single, another walk, and an uncharacteristic Nick Ahmed fielding error in the third, but managed to put up goose eggs in each frame.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, after going down quickly and in order in the bottom of the first, got some business going in the second, with Asdrubel Cabrera leading off the inning with a single to right off A’s starter Jesus Luzard. After an Ahmed foul out, Luzardo walked David Peralta on four pitches to bring Carson Kelly and his bat to the plate. I hadn’t realized how well Kelly had been hitting so far this season, and, well, he did not disappoint:
In the bottom of the third, Kole Calhoun led off the inning with a single to center, and Eduardo Escobar followed up with a truly unseemly at-bat that nevertheless managed to bloop its way into shallow left. Cabrera then doubled off the wall in left center, scoring Calhoun and advancing Escobar to third.
Ahmed grounded out to third, and Peralta had an even more unseemly at-bat that ended with a high chopper to short that nevertheless spent enough time in the air off the bounce that EE was able to score easily from third. Kelly then drew a walk, chasing Luzardo after only 2 2/3 innings. His replacement, Jordan Weems, then surrendered another walk to today’s first baseman, Wyatt Mathisen, before striking out Gallen to end the frame. 5-0 D-BACKS
Gallen came out the start the fourth already at 61 pitches, and gave up a first-pitch solo shot to A’s right fielder Stephen Piscotty. To his credit, Zac refused to let that rattle him, striking out the next three batters he faced. Each of those strikeouts, however, came at the end of 7-pitch at-bats, putting him at 83 pitches after four. There was some speculation in the Gameday Thread as to whether he’d come back out for the fifth, but alas, it was not to be. 5-1 D-BACKS
Taylor Clarke took the mound, and pitched two perfectly clean innings, which was great, especially because the D-Backs offense seemed to have departed the game when Gallen left. It was all good until the seventh, when Clarke came out for his third inning of work. After striking out Elvis Andrus on three pitches for the first out, he then surrendered three straight singles to A’s catcher Aramis Garcia, pinch-hitter and “Where are they now? trivia answer Mitch Moreland and then to Canha. Canha’s single scored Garcia and earned Clarke the hook. Kevin Ginkel came in to replace him, and struck out two of the three batters he faced. Only problem was that, sandwiched in between the two Ks was a 3-run dinger to right that Jed Lowrie launched. Cue the sad trombones. 5-5 TIE
And it was all downhill from there. Anthony Swarzak came out to pitch the eighth, and surrendered a leadoff homer to A’s first baseman Seth Brown, who sported a batting average well below the Mendoza line at the start of play. 6-5 Oakland
Yoan Lopez took the ball for the ninth, and just to ensure that no Diamondbacks pitcher wound up with a zero in the earned runs column, gave up a one-out single and a two-out triple. Boo. 7-5 Oakland
But I haven’t mentioned the Diamondbacks offense, have I? Well, that’s because it disappeared after the fourth. Esscobar singled in the sixth, and Tim Locastro drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, but that. Was. It. Nothing to see there. Sad times, especially after such a promising start to the game. But what can you do? Bullpen gonna bullpen.
WIN PROBABILITY ADDED, courtesy of FanGraphs
Springer Spaniel: Carson Kelly (HR, 3RBI, BB, +18.1% WPA)
Cocker Spaniel: Zac Gallen (4IP, 3H, 2BB, 1 ER,
7K 8K, +13.1 WPA)
Filthy, Mangy Afghan Hounds: Kole Calhoun (-15.1% WPA), Kevin Ginkel (-26.7% WPA), the bullpen as a whole (-57.2% WPA)
That said, at least it was a lively and well-attended Gameday Thread, especially for an early afternoon game. 22 commenters provided 319 comments, with NikT77 leading the way with 60 comments to edge out Justin27 who had 59 of ‘em. All present and accounted for were: AzDbackfanInDc, DBacksEurope, Dano_in_Tucson, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Xerostomia, gzimmerm, kilnborn, redsedona, set.builder39, since_98, therealramona
Comment of the game goes, by popular demand, to Nik as well, for this response to an excellent Diamondhacks observation:
There was further spaniel-related hilarity, but I’ll leave that to you all to go and check it out for yourselves.
Travel day tomorrow, so our next game is on Thursday at Washington, with righty Merrill Kelly going up against that dreaded wild card, TBD, for the Nationals. First pitch is 4:05 AZ time. Hope to see you then.
As always, thanks for reading. Go D-Backs!