How about that? The first game I watch the entirety of this year, and the Diamondbacks win with minimal difficulty. This was way too earlier of a game, and even after a tremendous amount of caffeine and a few hours later, I’m still barely awake. I’m just going to break this down to the pitching side of things and then the offensive side. It’s the important parts that matter, right?
The Diamondbacks were a bit lucky to begin with, with Stephen Strasburg’s start scratched and the Nationals starter put on the injured list, being replaced with Paulo Espino a few hours before the game. Espino, with a fastball topping out at 90 MPH, and only four appearances prior start to at the age of 34, was actually not bad. Espino allowed five hits, and walked three, but two of those hits he allowed were solo homers. Fortunately the still-good-ish Madison Bumgarner showed up and put in five innings of solid work, allowing just two hits, a walk, and one run, which was a solo home run.
The bullpen was quite solid today with Kevin Ginkel, Yoan Lopez, and Stephen Crichton putting in three innings of hitless work. The bullpen allowed just three baserunners, one hit, and one run in four innings of work. Kevin Ginkel allowed a walk in the sixth, Stephen Crichton a walk in the ninth, and Taylor Clarke allowed the lone hit by the bullpen, which of course, was a solo home run in his inning of work in the eighth.
Josh Rojas lead the game off with a solo homerun to give Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Trea Turner would answer back with a solo homer of his own in the bottom of the third, tying the game up. Carson Kelly hit a solo homer of his own in the top of the fourth to give the lead right back to the Diamondbacks. In the top of the seventh the Diamondbacks added another run after Josh Rojas walked and Pavin Smith hit a double, scoring Rojas. In top of eighth they tacked on another after David Peralta doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on an Eduardo Escobar sac fly. Trea Turner would hit his second solo homo run of the game in the bottom of the eighth.
The Diamondbacks added an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to a single by Josh Rojas, an intentional walk to Peralta, an errant pick off throw from Yan Gomes that allowed Rojas to score. The D-backs could have blown this wide open after back to back walks to Carson Kelly and Eduardo Escobar followed to load the bases, but Nick Ahmed went down on strikes to end the game.
Outside of those mentioned, Nick Heath deserves a mention for his 3-4 debut with the Diamondbacks (all singles), though he failed to score any of the times he reached base, and was also caught stealing. Still, the Diamondbacks leave with a split of the four game series on the road, which is never a bad thing. Here is the post-game audio. First. there’s new guy Heath, discussing his quick transition to starting in center, then Bumgarner talking about what was easily his best start of the season. Finally, manager Torey Lovullo discusses his team’s victory in the series finale.
Post-game audio [or link]
Bells and whistles, by Jim
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Hit Girl: Madison Bumgarner, +18.3%
Kick-Ass: Josh Rojas, +10.8%
Chris D'Amico: Nick Ahmed, -12.3%
Almost 300 comments, not bad for such an early start on a Sunday. Those present... did not include me, because that COVID vaccine I got yesterday is kicking my ass. I believe the second one is worse. I suspect some days will be pre-booked off work for that. Those who were about included: AzDbackfanInDc, DORRITO, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Justin27, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, TheOlser4, gzimmerm, kilnborn, makattack71 and redsedona. Only one red comment, this one coming from Jack as we continue to wonder if there can’t be a better way...
As mentioned, it’s an off-day tomorrow, and we then head into Cincinnati for a series against the Reds. Zac Gallen will be our starter in the series opener, as the D-backs’ three city road-trip hits its next destination.