Record: 19-36. Pace: 56-106. Change on 2004: -2
May is finally in the books for the Diamondbacks. It is now officially confirmed as the worst calendar month in the 24-year history of the franchise. Their 5-24 record surpasses the 5-23 previous lowest, set in July 2004, and their brief winning streak ends at... one. Admittedly this can hardly be a surprise. The road to victory tonight needed to go through the best pitcher in the majors, Jacob deGrom. He came in with an ERA of 0.80, and lowered it with six shutout innings. He needed only 70 pitches and struck out eight.
The tone was set in the first. The slowest of deGrom's first ten pitches was clocked at 99.8 mph. He topped out at 101.7 mph. Oh, yeah: he then finished off Eduardo Escobar with a 93 mph slider. Overall, deGrom tied a starter record in the Statcast era tonight, throwing ten pitches clocked at 101 mph or better, and became the first starter to average over 100 mph with his fastball. I have to admit, there's something about watching a truly elite pitcher, at the top of his game. I found myself almost cheering for the perfect game. It would, at least, have given me something interesting to write about.
Jacob deGrom threw 10 straight 100+ MPH pitches pic.twitter.com/4SYLO550HZ— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 1, 2021
He did retire the first 13 Diamondbacks to come to the plate, and you'd be hard pushed to say many of then deserved a better fate. But if anyone was going to end the bid for history, it was going to be Carson Kelly, who has been the team's best hitter this season. And, so, it proved with Carson getting a clean single with one out in the fifth. Josh Reddick also singled later in the inning, got another hit in the seventh (delivering an RBI on the 12th pitch of his plate appearance) and doubled in the ninth. I was surprised to discover he is quietly hitting .366 in 41 at-bats since getting called up. That won’t last forever, but he pretty much deserves to be our everyday right fielder at this point.
At the other end of the spectrum? Let's talk about Domingo Leyba, who set a new franchise record tonight, and not in a good way. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and became the first hitter in team history to start off the season 0-for-21. His second at-bat against deGrom was particularly wretched. Three pitches, all down, away and not particularly close to the zone. Three ugly swings (below). He was a bit unlucky in his third at-bat, driving the ball to the deepest part of the park, and forcing a good catch out of the Mets' center fielder. But, still: he looks wholly unprepared to face major league pitching, being clinically unable to lay off the slider.
Merrill Kelly... Well, it probably didn't matter what he did, given who he was facing. He did provide the team with some depth, coming one out short of seven innings. But he scattered nine hits and two walks, leading to five earned runs, with six strikeouts Pete Alonzo, the obese Arctic ursine, was a large part of the problem, driving in four of the runs. But also a factor was Ketel Marte in center. He and David Peralta both left a fly-ball to the other in the fourth. It was scored a double, but it definitely should have been an out. After an intentional walk, deGrom made the mistake pay with an RBI single. Yeah: throws 102 mph and is batting .450. That’s just not fair...
It was very much a case of “anybody but deGrom” for the Diamondbacks, who got on the board almost as soon as the visiting starting pitcher left the game in the seventh. The first man up, Eduardo Escobar, homered to right center (below) for this 13th home-run of the season. With two outs, Pavin Smith singled, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. That’s tied for the longest of the season by a Diamondbacks, matching Josh Rojas’s streak from April 29-May 12. He advanced on a wild pitch, then came home on Reddick’s bloop single, mentioned above. Arizona had men in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could do nothing, and ended May in much the same way it had passed - with a loss.
Ryan Buchter was tagged with a run on two hits, before he could finish off the seventh inning, and there were scoreless frames from Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel, each allowing a hit but striking out a batter. As well as Reddick’s three hits, Escobar had a pair, but the team struck out 11 times without taking a walk. It was the second time this year they had 11+ K’s and no walks, the first being on April 3 in San Diego. The crowd was 11,399 and appeared from the amount of blue in the stands, mostly to be Mets fans. Can’t say I blame them. My interest in watching the team has all but evaporated after this month. If I were not contractually obliged to do so for recap purposes...
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Mothra: Eduardo Escobar, +2.5%
King Ghidorah: Merrill Kelly, -15.2%
Rodan: Domingo Leyba, -10.1%
A lightly-trafficked Gameday Thread, with just 14 people in it. I imagine many people had effectively written this one off as a loss before first pitch, and found something better to do. They were clearly right. Still, kudos to those present, who were: AzDbackfanInDc, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, Oldenschoole, Preston Salisbury, Snake_Bitten, set.builder39 and since_98. No Comment of the Game, since the only Sedona Red comment was my burger from Islands, which was very nice, thank you for asking. Always fun to see Mrs. SnakePit assume a threat posture when the waitress likes my accent. :)
It’s back at Chase tomorrow night, for the Mets once more. Though I imagine most interest will be just down the street, with the Suns taking on the Lakers in a pivotal game five of their playoff series. But if you’re going to be here, it all starts at 6:40 pm, with Caleb Smith making his return to the rotation. At least it’ll be a new month, and June can’t possibly go any worse than May for the Diamondbacks.