Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Diamondbacks might have walked away with a surprise win on Friday if only they hadn’t gone 1-for-17 with RISP. In fact, three of their five runs scored without a hit with RISP. While I am not sure firing Darnell Coles was the right move, it is those sorts of performances that make the decision an easy one to defend.
It’s easy to continue to lament how poorly the Diamondbacks are playing in clutch situations and failing miserably to hit with RISP. On the other hand, it would be disingenuous to overlook the fact that Shohei Ohtani is sort of good at baseball, both on the mound and in the field. Ohtani had his filthy splitter working on Friday night, leading to eight strikeouts in five innings of work. That Arizona managed to plate two runs (even if they were gifts), is an accomplishment to when Ohtani is in a groove on the mound. In a bit of controversy, Ohtani was called for a pair of balks on back-to-back hitters, during which he gave viewers further showtime animation with his cartoonish responses.
The baseball gods smiled upon the schedule for baseball fans in the desert. Shohei Ohtani rolled into town and was slated to start, and hit/play the field, on a Friday night no less. In a completely lost season, the marquee doesn’t get much bigger and brighter. For their part, Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks held their own through five innings. When both starters were done on the mound for the night, the score was 3-2 in favour of the Angels. Given the disparity in the pitching match-up, that’s solid position to still be in. Alas, Ohtani was not out of the game entirely, as he went from the mound to right field. The Japanese phenom continued to put on an enjoyable show, crushing baseballs harder than any Diamondback player has all season, but not leaving the yard. Then, Manfred ball came into play after the Diamondbacks made a late rally. The Arizona bullpen was unable to keep the artificial runner from coming around to score, ending the game in favour of Los Angeles.
Mike Hazen is taking the most understandable of leaves. Get well Nicole Hazen.
If Kumar Rocker keeps this up, he isn’t going to be available at number six when the Diamondbacks get to pick in the upcoming draft. Rocker is making the most of getting a few extra showcase outings in, on the biggest of stages. On Friday, Rocker made his final home start, this in the College World Series Super Regionals. He merely struck out 11 in a 2-0 victory for Vanderbilt. Unless something utterly surprising happens, Rocker will get at least one, and maybe as many as four more start before the draft actually rolls around.
Other Baseball News
Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, Kevin Kopps, and others are among the future professional ballplayers putting on a show while trying to help get their teams to Omaha.
Pete Alonso sees too much to be coincidence when it comes to how the baseballs keep changing, just in time to potentially negatively impact free agent contracts.
Something tells me that acting GM, Zack Scott, will not be in his temporary position once the season comes to an end as the Mets continue to demonstrate that even with a generous owner, they can still be one of the most internally dysfunctional clubs in baseball. No sooner did one of the Mets’ biggest stars, a home-grown talent take shots at the Commissioner’s Office, then the club’s acting GM came out and unceremoniously threw him under the bus.