Good evening Pitters. No, your calendar is correct. It is in fact Tuesday and not Wednesday. The staff did some maneuvering so Dano_in_Mississippi could prioritize safe travels. I jumped at the opportunity to swap because I will be at the game with the Brute Squad tomorrow.
However, I failed to realize that the Phoenix Suns were also playing Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. I can’t lie to you, I could probably write a more emotionally charged recap of that contest than whatever (gestures broadly) took place in Chase Field tonight. You wanna feel like a maniac? Flip channels back and forth for a few hours between the worst team in a particular sports league and one of the best in another. The Arizona Diamondbacks made numerous inexcusable fielding mistakes tonight while the Phoenix Suns were flawless in their victory. You couldn’t get a more severe case of whiplash in a car accident.
Zac Gallen made his second start coming off of the injured list and was much improved tonight in comparison to his outing last week in San Francisco. His opponent on the mound was Freddy Peralta who took a no hitter into the eighth inning against Arizona on June 4th, his 25th birthday.
Gallen did give up a lead off solo home run to Kolten Wong, but then proceeded to retire the next nine batters in a row racking up five strikeouts while doing it. The only problem was that the Diamondbacks offense refused to provide him with any sort of run support.
Adding injury to insult (I’ve been saying that entirely too much lately) Ketel Marte injured his left hamstring in the bottom of the first inning while rounding first base on an eventual ground rule double. No, he did not re-injure the same hamstring that kept him out earlier in the season. This is the opposite leg. He immediately called to the training staff to pull him out of the game before he even got to second base. He was seen in the dugout a few innings later, so who knows how long he will be out this time. Jack commented in the GDT that maybe Ketel has bulked up a bit too much. Others have pointed out numerous times that the team needs to stop playing him in center field. Whatever the issue is, it needs to be resolved quickly. His bat is too important to be out of the lineup as much as it has been.
Zac Gallen did allow consecutive singles to Daniel Vogelbach and Christian Yelich in the fourth after retiring nine straight, but was able to get out of that jam with no damage. He pitched a clean fifth inning that included a pair of strikeouts giving him eight total to conclude his outing.
Arizona had an opportunity to get Gallen off the hook for the loss in the bottom of the fifth but failed to do so. Daulton Varsho singled with one out, stole second base and was able to advance to third on an errant pickoff throw. Nick Ahmed struck out swinging which brought up Eduardo Escobar, who would do the same, to pinch hit for Gallen.
Once Gallen exited the game all hell broke loose. Joe Mantiply took the ball first out of the bullpen. He gave up a single to Kolten Wong to begin the sixth, but was caught attempting to steal second base on a beautiful throw from Varsho behind the dish. In fact, Varsho was one of the only fielders who had a clue in the inning. Daniel Vogelbach, built like an offensive lineman, reached first base on a throwing error by Josh Rojas at second base. There was no reason for Rojas to rush the throw because they had Vogelbach easily despite the slow roller. The worst was yet to come. Mantiply struck out Yelich for the second out in the inning, and was subsequently lifted for Stefan Crichton having faced his minimum three batters. Crichton walked Avisail Garcia putting runners on first and second, quite the opposite of why he was brought in. The next play will be shown to you first:
You don't see this everyday... pic.twitter.com/4IlTIuKRPh— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 23, 2021
I just really do not have the words. My freshman high school baseball team that lost every game but one would pull B.S. like this. Look at how Crichton and Varsho are screaming at Rojas and Ahmed to get the ball in as Vogelbach hobbles to home plate. I sure would like to know what in the hell was going through their heads at the time. Milwaukee scored their third and fourth runs of the game after a Willy Adames walk and a bases loaded single from Luis Urias.
Milwaukee put the nail in the coffin with their fifth run of the game on a Christian Yelich home run into the pool in the eighth inning. That is only his fourth home run of the season, and three of them have now come against Arizona this year. However, that would not be the end of the Diamondbacks defensive blunders for the night. Willy Adames singled to center field with Omar Navarez on first. Navarez rounded second base aggressively, but then thought twice. Pavin Smith, taking over in center for Ketel Marte, was slow to get the ball back in. Nick Ahmed directed him to throw it back into second base which allowed Navarez to change direction and advance to third. It gave off the impression that all of them were just giving up.
Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns were doing this at the same time:
Oensbsiwpsmanaoshsheoskdbdheodkdbdirk!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ZrPabTc7hR— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 23, 2021
So you see, I was flipping channels back and forth between both games screaming at the television for very different reasons. It was a strange evening in the life of a valley sports fan. The Arizona Diamondbacks losing streak is now reset at one.
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Check out this alley oop for CoTD. Almost as beautiful as the Phoenix Suns #ValleyOop tonight.
Here’s Nick Ahmed’s explanation after the game: