After a flurry of roster moves, Jon Duplantier got his first chance to pitch with the big club in 2021. He was expected to be in a long-relief role but with Matt Peacock needing to miss tonight’s start due to illness, he stepped up and will make his first start of the year. His performance against AAA will leave much to be desired, as in 2 starts he’s allowed 6 earned runs and more walks than strikeouts.
The Cardinals have been good enough to start the year, playing well enough to hold a tie of first in the NL Central with the Cubs. It’s not a perfect matchup for your first appearance, but we’ll see how the former 3rd rounder fares. His opponent is Carlos Martinez, who has not been his normal self since needing shoulder surgery to clean out the offending joint. He’s been quite hittable actually, with diminished velocity but increased command to counteract the velo dip. And with the D-backs struggling to do much of anything at the plate, let’s hope they notice and take advantage.
The D-backs didn’t get the memo.
Martinez was excellent through 6 innings, only allowing a walk to Josh Rojas in the 4th and a Caleb Smith HBP in the 6th. Both didn’t leave the base.
The Cardinals had a different game plan, jumping on Duplantier early in the 2nd. Yadier Molina singled to start it off and Tyler O’Neill, making his first AB since coming off the injured list, blasted a homer off the batter’s eye in center field
The inning didn’t stop there, as 4 straight Cardinals reached, with two singles and two walks scoring the 3rd run of the inning and giving the D-backs a huge hole to work out of 3-0.
Dup settled down after that, giving the team two clean innings but in the 5th it unraveled. Goldy and Arenado doubled to push the lead to 4-0, and a single and HBP loaded em up with 2 outs, but Caleb Smith struck out former D-backs farmhand Justin Williams (traded for Jeremy Hellickson) to end the threat.
Ketel Marte broke the no-hitter in the 7th with a single to left, and after another single from Escobar, Peralta doubled to left center, scoring 1. He could’ve had more, but a fan reached over the fence to interfere on the play and keep Escobar at 3rd. Pavin Smith came through when it mattered with a double of his own, scoring both runs and cutting the Cardinals lead to 4-3.
The D-backs pounced again in the 8th as Marte started it off again with a single. But two quick outs followed, and Pavin Smith again delivered with a double, scoring Marte and tying things up at 4.
With both teams scoreless in the 9th, extra innings saw the Cardinals execute and the D-backs falter. Yadier Molina again hurt the home team with a double down the line to score Goldy from 2nd and the D-backs couldn’t respond, giving the Cardinals a 5-4 win, and pushes the losing streak to 11 in a row.
Plenty of chances to take the lead (and WIN) but this team just can’t figure it out. Pavin Smith led the way with a +.511 WPA with his two clutch doubles. Josh Rojas was a -.454 on the night, thanks to his negative clutchness.
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A surprise to be sure, with another Arizona team playing an important playoff game but we won’t complain with the turnout. Thanks for stopping by if you did.