The Rockies game into this game 1-10 on the road, and the D-backs were looking to seal a series victory, with their ace Zac Gallen on the mound. It didn’t quite work out that way, with Arizona surrendering a season-high fourteen runs on eighteen hits. We saw Diamondbacks’ position players record the final five outs of the game - and, if the truth be told, they were not the worst pitching performances we saw tonight. A 2-1 lead after three innings seemed like a distant memory by the time this one ended.
The first inning was definitely a slog for Zac Gallen. A one-out was followed by an RBI double into the gap that scored the runner all the way from first to put Colorado on the board. There was no further damage, but he ended up throwing 27 pitches, stranding two runners. Gallen got the benefit of a borderline (but likely strike) full count call, which ended the inning, instead of loading the bases. I can’t say I was too bothered by this. When your team has averaged close to six runs a game over the last three weeks, a mere run doesn’t seem so important. More than half of Arizona’s wins coming into tonight (eight of fourteen) had been come from behind, so this felt like no big.
Arizona went down in order for the bottom of the inning, and Gallen had another bumpy inning in the second. He should have worked a clean inning, but Josh VanMeter made an error on this throw to first, and the opposing pitcher reached as a result. More pitches for Zac, who ended up stranding another two runners in this inning. Again. the D-backs went down in order, and had only seen a total of 19 pitches through the first two innings. Gallen worked around a two-out walk, and probably had his best inning of the night to this point, Though he still had to work quite hard, and was at 65 pitches through three.
The offense finally cleared their throat and made the expected noise in their half, with singles from Nick Ahmed and Josh Rojas getting things started. Gallen bunted them over, and then Pavin Smith tied the game as a hard groundball clanked off the glove of the third baseman. Ahmed scored, Rojas took third and Smith was safe at first. Carson Kelly then got the job done: his sacrifice fly to right allowing Josh to jog home without a throw, and the Diamondbacks took the lead. Asdrubal Cabrera walked, and although Eduardo Escobar flew out to end the third, the home team had a 2-1 advantage and had made Colorado throw considerably more pitches, 23 in that inning.
Unfortunately, the visitors countered with that, and more, in the fourth. Gallen was having real problems locating his pitches, and couldn't get the third out. First, an RBI single tied the game and ground-rule double put two in scoring position. With two outs, Bob Brenly wondered about pitching around Ryan McMahon to reach C.J. Cron, who had already struck out twice against Gallen. Torey Lovullo decided otherwise, and it didn't work out. A single scored two and gave Colorado a 4-2 lead. Naturally, Cron then struck out for the third time. Bob Brenly: SUPER genius...
That was the final batter Gallen faced. He needed 93 pitches to get through four innings, and allowed four runs on six hits, two walks and a hit batter, with seven strikeouts. It was definitely a step backwards, and his worst outing of the season. Caleb Smith took over and looked to continue his good streak of relief outings. He hadn't allowed a run since April 9, a spell that covered 11 innings. But in his second inning of work he couldn't get the third out either. After a single, he hung a change-up to Trevor Story, who dumped it into the D-backs bullpen for a two-run homer.
This came after a bit of alert base running by Rojas had brought Arizona within a run in the fifth. He led off with a single, then tagged up and advanced on Daulton Varsho's fly ball to center. This allowed him to score on a Carson Kelly single, with our catcher now having reached base safely in 16@# consecutive games. Andrew Young came off the bench to hit for Smith in the bottom of the sixth, and smacked his third homer of the year (below). At an exit velocity of 107.5 mph, it was the hardest-hit ball of the game to that point, by either side.
The problem was, every time the D-backs had scored, the Rockies responded immediately in their half-inning. J.B. Bukauskas was next on the mound for Arizona, seeking to bounce back after a rough outing against San Diego. It didn't start well. Exit velocities of 106.1 and 100.8 mph to the first two hitters made it 7-4 to Colorado, though he settled down to strand a runner on third. It was Arizona’s turn to counter, mostly due to a laser off the right-field fence by Varsho, at 110 mph. He later scored on a Kelly sacrifice fly, giving him his third RBI of the night, with the score 7-5.
Yet again, however, Colorado responded, and this time they put the game totally to bed. Matt Peacock, in his third outing in four days, struggled. That's putting it mildly. In fact, he delivered one of the worst performances ever by a Diamondback reliever, allowing seven runs - capped off with a grand-slam - while retiring one batter. He had to be replaced by Cabrera, making his second position player pitching appearance of the week. After a lead-off hit, Asdrubal coaxed a double-play ball that kept his career ERA at a pristine 0.00.
Matt Peacock's career ERA, on the other hand, went from 1.08 to 8.31 over the course of the eighth inning. Peacock became the 10th Arizona reliever to give up seven runs in an appearance. He joins a Hall of Infamy, alongside names such as Matt Koch, Matt Andriese, Eddie Oropese and... er, John Ryan Murphy. One of these things is not like the others. However, he also became the first reliever in Diamondbacks history, to be charged with seven earned runs while retiring one batter. The previous worst, was J.D. Durbin, who allowed seven runs in 0.2 innings on April 4th, 2007. It was his only appearance for Arizona.
For the ninth, Wyatt Mathisen took the mound, offering up a selection of pitches which started at 45.1 mph and topped out at 53.2. But, hey, they got the job done, and he put up a zero around a two-out single. Career ERA: also 0.00. Rojas did get a solo homer into the pool area, and that was it. I think we were probably all most invested in - and certainly got more entertainment from - the whole date saga which was unfolding on Twitter over the course of the evening.
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Lord Summerisle: Josh Rojas, +9.4%
Sgt. Howie: Zac Gallen, -28.7%
Wicker Men: Smith, -14.2%; Peacock, -13.1%
Present in the Gameday Thread were AzDbackfanInDc, DORRITO, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, edbigghead, gzimmerm, kilnborn, makattack71 and since_98. Nothing reached the level of Sedona Red, and I think we all would be well advised to move on rapidly from this one. Series wraps up tomorrow afternoon at Chase. Key to the game: not allowing 14 runs. Just a thought.