Hopes were high for today’s game. Luke Weaver was coming off the best outing of his Diamondbacks career and Nationals starter Eric Fedde came in with an ERA over 8.00. Since it was a day game and a lot of people might have missed this contest, I’ll go with the inning by inning recap style today
The game started off quietly enough. Following K’s from Tim Locastro and Kole Calhoun, Josh VanMeter reached second base on an error by center fielder Andrew Stephenson, but was stranded when David Peralta tapped out weakly to second base. Fedde threw 21 pitches in the inning.
Trea Turner lined the first pitch of the ballgame from Weaver into left for a base hit. He stole second on a delayed steal with the shift on, confusing the D-backs infielders. Two outs later Josh VanMeter wasn’t able to handle a sharply hit bouncer from Kyle Schwarber that bounced up and hit VanMeter in the chest. It was ruled a base hit. Weaver got Starling Castro to ground out to 3rd to strand the runner. Notable that it was a very long throw from behind the bag that almost pulled Pavin Smith off the bag, but he made a nice stretch to keep his foot on the bag and record the out.
Smith lead off with a sharp single up the middle. But Fedde struck out the next three batters, Escobar , Ahmed, and Stephen Vogt, leaving Luke Weaver in the on deck circle to lead off the 3rd.
With one out Yan Gomes went down and golfed a fastball that caught just a little too much of the plate for a homer giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
With one out Tim Locastro singled on a liner to left, extending his hitting streak to 9 games. But was thrown out for the first time in his career and to add injury to insult jammed his left pinky on the bag, dislocating it in the process.
Kole Calhoun followed with a solo shot 419 feet to right field, his first of the year,to even the scored at 1-1. Singles by VanMeter and Peralta were for naught as Pavin Smith flew out to deep center to end the two-out threat
Trea Turner lead off the 2nd with his second hit of the game but was forced out on a ground ball by Soto. Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber struckout and popped out. Weavers pitch count was up to 56 though, throwing 41 between the 2nd and 3rd innings after a 15-pitch 1st. Hard hit balls were beginning to mount as well.
3 up 3 down, Vogt leaves Weaver in on deck circle again. Fedde at 75 pitches.
By the 4th inning they figured Weaver out, scoring 3 runs to take a 4-1 lead. Starling Castro roped a sharp one hopper 110 MPH off the bat that ate up a shifted Josh VanMeter just left of the bag and went into the gap for a leadoff double. Andrew Stephenson followed with a double to right, scoring Castro. Yan Gomes then hit a sharp grounder under the glove of Mathisen at first driving in Stephenson and just like that it was 3-1 Washington and still nobody out. Another base hit by Jody Mercer made it 1st and 2nd, and pitcher Eric Fedde sac bunted them up to 2nd and 3rd.
Still with just one out and his pitch count in the mid 80’s Weaver Trea Turner had an infield hit on a ball I the hole between short and 3rd, and Juan Soto brought home Gomes with a deep fly ball to left.
That ended Weaver’s day, finishing with 4 IP, 94 pitches, 4 ER on 9 hits, no walks, 3 K’s and homer. It was only one bad inning, but it was long, throwing 38 pitches. Weaver gave up a lot of hard contact in this game, including 9 balls between 100-109 MPH and a handful more over 90.
DBacks scoreless in the 5th, Two more k’s for Fedde, his 8th and 9th of the game, tying a career high. At 95 pitches this would be his last inning
Caleb Smith came on to pitch in relief of Weaver and worked around a couple of singles to pitch a scoreless 5th
Lefty Sam Clay came in to relieve Fedde and after two quick outs Eduardo Escobar hit a two out homerun to centerfield for his 6th of the year. It was also his and 6th in his last 9 games, bringing the Diamondbacks a little closer but still trailing 4-2
Pinch hitter Hernan Perez drew a leadoff walk, but with one out Pavin Smith made a highlight reel play, diving for a ball in the gap to save a run.
Nationals reliever Kyle Finnegan worked around a one out walk to pinch hitter Josh Rojas by striking out Mathisen and getting Calhoun to fly out to left, keeping the score at 4-2
Anthony Swarzak came into the game to pitch the 7th. Pavin Smith wasn’t quite as effective the next time he had to dive. A slicing line drive off the bat of Kyle Schwarber got past him and rolled to the wall, giving Schwarber a double. Starling Castro hit a sharp line drive single bringing home Schwarber, extending the Nationals lead to 5-2. Swarzak managed to limit the damage after that.
Three up three down for the D-backs 3-4-5 hitters VanMeter, Peralta and Smith. Murderers row it ain’t
Taylor Clarke came in and gave up a HR to pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman. 6-2 Nationals. Smith made another nice play, coming in to make a sliding catch on a popup to shallow center.
The Diamondbacks had one more chance. Wander Suero came in and issued a leadoff walk on an 11 pitch at bat to Eduardo Escobar. Two pitches later with the count 0-2 Suero was removed from the game with an arm injury. It didn’t matter, Kyle McGowin came in and got pop ups from Vogt and pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera. He then struck out Mathisen to end the game.
1.) Luke Weaver will need a 3rd pitch. The Nationals were ready for him, jumped his fastballs early, and laid off the changeup. When they hit the ball, they hit it hard. On the Gomes homer he said the ball just “ran across the strike zone”. For those that were in the game thread, I stand corrected. However Luke seemed to be unaware of just how many hard hit balls there were against him. He said there were a lot of soft blows and balls just squeaking through. There were a few of those, true, but as mentioned above he gave up 9 balls over 100 MPH and another handful 90+. They were not “squeakers”.
Luke Weaver audio [or link]
2.) The loss of Tim Locastro is really going to hurt. Torey said he’ll be out at least 10 days and Tim said he was going to see the hand specialist Monday and didn’t know if it would be longer than that, but it kind of sounds like it. The injury was described as a PIP joint dislocation. He also required 4 stitches. Locastro said in the future he will use the sliding mitt going forward. He had tried in the past but slid past the bag one time so had gotten away from it.
Although the team just picked up a new outfielder in Nick Heath, he is left handed, light hitting and has very little MLB experience. The team will have an all left handed hitting outfield, and be forced to continue to play infielders out of position once in a while.
Tim Locastro audio [or link]
3.) Pavin Smith will do in a pinch in CF. It’s too early to say he could be an every day option out there, but he did well today and was a nice surprise.
4.) The offense is in total free fall now scoring 3 runs in their last 25 innings, all on solo HR. They have 10 hits in that span.
Torey Lovullo audio [or link]
The Win Probability graph from Fangraphs looks how it felt:
- Trying his best to show up: Kole Calhou. +.079 WPA
- Invisible Slider Man: Luke Weaver -.238 WPA
- Disappearing Man: Stephen Vogt. -.107 WPA
Not Terrible Game Day Thread, considering day game and lackluster offense:
- Total comments 26
- Total commenters 24
Commenter list AZDovs11, DBacksEurope, DORRITO, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Justin27, Keegan Thompson, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Preston Salisbury, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, Xerostomia, edbigghead, gzimmerm, kilnborn, makattack71, since_98
COTD goes to our fearless leader Jim, showing the way getting his vaccine. Way to go Jim !
The DBacks go for the series split tomorrow, 10:05 A.M Arizona time, Madison Bumgarner takes the hill against Stephen Strasburg. I’ll be out playing golf, so carry on !