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Angels 8, Diamondbacks 7: Please Mama, make it stop!

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Another crushing loss for Arizona as Soria blows it in the 9th

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Arizona Diamondbacks
Joakim Soria melts down again
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks had a big lead early but couldn’t hold it as the Angels kept chipping away and then took a 8-6 lead in the 9th when Joakim Soria blew the save, surrendering 3 runs. Caleb Smith pitched ok, but not great, just a little better than his final line.

It was the D-back 9th loss in a row, and dropped their record to 20-45.

T-1: Caleb Smith struggled throwing strikes to start out, walking Justin Upton on four pitches. But he caught Jared Walsh looking and after falling behind Max Stassi got him swinging. He finished off the inning getting Anthony Rendon to pop out to center field. 18 Pitches, 9 balls, 9 strikes

B-1: Josh Rojas rolled over a splitter low and away grounding out to second. Pavin Smith was rung up on a pitch high out of the zone for the second out and Eduardo Escobar lined out to center for the 3 up 3 down for the D-backs.

T-2: Jose Iglesias lead of with an infield hit to first when Caleb Smith was a little late getting over to the bag. Initially called an out, the play was overturned on replay. Taylor Ward worked a 7 pitch at bat before finally going down looking. Alex Cobb saw 6 pitches, flying out to left. Smith had 5 straight 1st pitch strikes, and 6 of 8, but 39 total pitches and just 23 for strikes.

B-2: Christian Walker dunked a broken bat single into center but never moved off first base. David Peralta struck out, Josh Reddick hit a lazy fly to center, and Nick Ahmed ground out sharply to Anthony Rendon at 3rd.

T-3: Upton drew another walk, this time with one out, but Smith got Walsh and Stassi both looking to shut down that thread. Smith has 3 scoreless innings and 5 Ks, but had to work, throwing 54 pitches , 32 for strikes

B-3: Stephen Vogt punched a shift beater single down past third base and Caleb Smith sacrificed him to 2nd. Josh Rojas was caught looking at a pitch that just nicked the inside corner. Rojas beefed, but it was a strike. Smith drew a 6 pitch walk and passed the two out torch to Escobar. Eddie came through with a line single to center scoring Vogt, and Smith advanced to 3rd on the play. It looked like they might have had a play at the plate, but the outfielder threw to third instead. Walker then doubled down the line past Rendon scoring Smith. Peralta, not to be left out, roped a single up the middle to score Escobar and Walker, and shockingly the D-backs had a 4-0 lead.

They weren’t done. Reddick singled, and a wild pitch moved him up to 2nd, Nick Ahmed chopped a ball to third and Rendon’s throw pulled Walsh off the bag, scoring Peralta for the 5th run of the inning. The D-backs had batted around when Vogt finally grounded out to end the 3rd.

T-4: There would be no shutdown inning for Smith. He left a belt high fastball middle in to Rendon who blasted it into the Diamondbacks bullpen for the Angels first run. Two outs later Juan Lagares roped a double to left that Peralta dove for but the ball hit off his glove. Would have been a great play, but not quite. Phil Gosselin pinch hitting for Cobb dumped a ball into shallow left to score Lagares, making it a 5-2 ballgame. David Fletch hit a line drive to the right center field gap but Smith got a good jump and ran it down to end the inning.

B-4 With Smith’s pitch count at 81 and his spot in the order due up first, Torey let him hit, and not much choice, as they used 7 pitchers the night before. He struck out, as did Rojas and Smith grounded out for a quick 1-2-3

T-5: Upton walked for the 3rd time in the game and Walsh K’d looking for the 3rd time in the game. Stassi worked the count full and then started fouling off pitch after the pitch. 6 straight in fact, and finally winning the at bat, doubled into the left field corner. That was all for Smith, at 103 pitches. He pitched a decent game, better than his final line appears, but just didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish off the inning.

In came Taylor Clarke for the 29th time in 65 team games. Anthony Rendon lined the first pitch into the right center field gap for a double scoring Upton and Stassi, closing the gap to 5-4. Those were the first two inherited runner Clarke allowed to score this season, previously stranding all 4 runners left for him.

B-5: The D-backs rolled over again the 6th going three up three down. Escobar flew out, Walker and Peralta grounded out.

T-6: Clarke struck out the side in the 6th, giving him 4 straight K’s in the game.

B-6: Stephen Vogt roped a 2 out double down the first base line, breaking a streak of 9 straight Diamondback outs that he started as the 10th batter of the 3rd inning. Pinch Hitter Asdrubal Cabrera popped out to right stranding him there. Cabrera is now hitless with 5 K’s in 12 at bats since coming off the IL.

T-7: Stefan Crichton came into the game and induced a Upton to popout to short. He walked Walsh, and with two outs the team intentionally walked Rendon. Eduardo Escobar made a nice play down at third and got off a strong throw to just barely nip Iglesias and retire the side.

B-7: Jose Suarez came out for his 4th inning of work with nobody warming up in the Angels pen to face Josh Rojas. Rojas launched a 3-2 fastball up and in sky high, just barely clearing the fence in right for a homerun and a 6-4 Diamondbacks lead.

T-8 Humberto Castellanos relieved to start the 8th and promptly gave up a sharp base hit up the middle to Ward. Shoehei Ohtani popped out of the dugout to pinch hit for the Angels. He somehow pulled a 3-2 curveball that was down and away into right field for a line drive single giving the Angels 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Kean Wong pinch hit for the pitchers spot and bunted towards first base. Castellano made a nice play hopping off the mound quickly to get the out, but Ward scored. Fletcher hit a ground ball to Walker who took it himself to the bag recording the out as Ohtani advanced to 3rd, the tying run with two out. But Nick Ahmed made a nice play, ranging far to his left behind the bag and got off a strong throw to nab Upton at first and preserve a one run lead, 6-5 D-backs.

B-8: Ketel Marte pinch hit for David Peralta but popped on to short on the first pitch he saw. Reddick grounded out to shallow right into the shift for the 2nd out.

T-9: Joakim Soria came on to try to secure the save for the Diamondbacks. It was their first 9th inning save chance since May 10th. Year to date they have only 6, the lowest in MLB. So of course Walsh roped a double past Nick Ahmed to left center on the very pitch. Stassi singled into left, 1st and 3rd nobody out. Rendon hit a sac fly to left, and just like that, blown save. 6-6 ballgame. Not for long. Iglesias hit a smash over Ketel Marte’s head and Stassi scored, 7-6 Angels. Center cut 92 MPH fastball.......not what you want. Ward then doubled down the line to score Iglesias. 8-6 Angels. Soria got the last two outs, but once again, the bullpen had reared it’s ugly head to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Unless.......

B-9: Nah. Vogt and Carson Kelly struck out. Josh Rojas made it close with a solo shot, his second of the game to bring the D-backs within 1, but the comeback fell short when Pavin Smith Grounded out to end the game.

There WERE some highlights in this game, so here is a reel for your enjoyment:

During the post game ZOOM Torey talked about how the team is playing like they “Hope they’ll win, instead of believing they’ll win and other teams are picking up on that.” (Paraphrasing, listed to audio for actual words) Nick Piecoro asked Torey if he meant that other teams smell blood in the water, and Torey answer in the affirmative.

I asked Torey if he felt it was time to back away from Soria in the 8th and 9th innings but he said they’re not there yet. I am. You are. But they’re not. Then again, what options does he have ? He was giving the highest leverage to Crichton for a while and he was getting knocked around. But he’s the only other choice really and he was already used in this game in the 7th. Nobody else down there is remotely reliable. There are no good choices. If they used Crichton and Clarke exclusively in the 8th and 9th going forward, the other guys would just be cough up runs in the 5th thru 7th and there would hardly be any save chances later in games anyway.

Asked if he felt they should be reaching down to the minors to call up a couple of guys and try something else, Torey reiterated that “Roster Construction is not part of what I do” and that while he does have discussions with the front office, he “answers questions when he’s asked”

Josh Rojas also addressed the media. He leads the team in ZOOM. The kid is always accountable and willing to come into the room no matter the situation.

Lovullo and Rojas Audio [or link]

I’m off to Pine Country tomorrow and won’t be here at the ballpark. I need a break.

Fangraphs Box

WPA Leaders:

Christian Walker +.118 , Stefan Crichton .096 *. (He created his own high leverage though) Eduardo Escobar, .083,

Joakim Soria with a whopping -.744 thanks to his blown save. That’ll leave a mark.

Roll Call:

COTD to Diamondhacks for a rather funny response to a comment that was actually about cooking of course, but prove to me you didn’t laugh when you read it: