Don’t look now, but Luke Weaver might be the next former starter to be pushed into the bullpen. Earlier this week the team appeared at the pitching showcase of Anibal Sanchez, as they look to do all they can to improve a competitive team while they still can. Weaver has a chance tonight to solidify his spot in the rotation against a struggling Rockies team devoid of talent after they traded their franchise star, Nolan Arenado. His past couple starts have left much to be desired as he’s struggled to hit 5 innings and gave up 4 runs in each start.
It started well enough. He worked around a leadoff walk to get a double-play ball to end the first, but there were inklings of struggle as Weaver only threw 2 out of 12 pitches in the strike zone.
His second-inning started out as bad as you could imagine. Ryan McMahon singled to right, and after a walk to C.J Cron, Charlie Blackmon lined a double just out the reach of Pavin Smith at 1st for a run-scoring double. Weaver settled, getting a Daza strikeout and after an intentional walk to Dom Nunez, the pitcher Senzatela struck out and Tapia grounded out to 3rd to end the inning. From 2nd and 3rd with 0 outs to limiting the damage to only the 1 run, Weaver was great to escape. 1-0 Rockies.
If you thought the 2nd was rough, the 3rd was just bad. Garrett Hampson doubled, and Trevor Story tripled to right, and Ryan McMahon singled to push another run across. But like in the 2nd, he induced a double play from Cron and Blackmon struck out to end the inning 3-0 Rockies.
With his pitch count rising and the Rockies knocking him around, the team pinch hit for Weaver in the 4th, leaving Weaver with a line of 4IP, 4BBs, 4Ks, and 3ER and the 3-0 deficit. Not ideal, especially against this team.
Pitching for the Rockies was Antonio Senzatela, who was magical last year but has returned to earth in 2021.
The D-backs showed signs of life in the 1st and 2nd, with 3 runners reaching base but the team unable to do much with it, but after a 3rd inning explosion from the Rockies, the offense finally woke up and it all started with a 2-out single from Eduardo Escobar. David Peralta stepped up and did this.
Choo-Choo. 3-1 Rockies.
After the scoreless 4th from Weaver, Josh Rojas stepped up to lead off the 4th and delivered.
Senzatella needed 13 pitches to retire Nick Ahmed and Nick Heath but the newly called-up Daulton Varsho doubled and Pavin Smith followed that with a double of his own to tie the game 3-3.
From then on, the bullpen was called on to seal the deal. And they did just that. 5 pitchers combined for 5 scoreless innings, allowing 0 walks, 2 hits while striking out 5 to shut the door and allow the offense to continue to battle back. Polite clap for Devenski, Clarke, Smith, Ginkel and Crichton please.
The Rockies bullpen tried their best to match the D-backs bullpen, but faltered in the 7th. VanMeter reached on an error and Escobar made Stephenson pay.
Peralta followed with a single of his own to give us our final score for the game, 5-3 D-backs.
The bullpen combined for a +.375 WPA on the day, thanks to the team playing in a close game. For the hitters, Escobar was a +.170 with the go-ahead triple.
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Fresh off a zero-hitter against the Braves, Madison Bumgarner gets the quick start against Jon Gray. First pitch is 6:40 pm. If you’re able, the team is offering $14 tickets to the game with the code ‘FOURTEEN’, which should be a good one to see the other winning team in the Valley.