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D-backs 5, Giants 3 - Kelly doing work

Could this be Merrill Kelly’s last start in a D-backs uniform? If it is, he chose a nice way to end things.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In a world of disappointments that are the Diamondbacks pitching staff, there’s been one dim star among the black. Merill Kelly. Coming off Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery that cut his excellent 2020 season short, Kelly has pitched pretty well. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not been as good as his 5 start season last year, but he’s improved on his 2019 in almost every way. Unfortunately, the results have been less than stellar, coming into today’s game with a 4.73 ERA. But his peripherals are great, and if the D-backs decide to ship him off, there should be no limit to his suitors. Of course, he gets paid virtually nothing for an MLB starter, owed a little more than 2 million, and a club option for 5 million in 2022. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Merrill as we pass the halfway point in the season.

It’s never easy in the NL West, and facing the division leaders in the Giants isn’t a walk in the park as was expected pre-season. But there’s a reason we play the games, and this outcome is exactly why.

Kelly started off shaky, using 16 pitches to get out of the 1st while giving up a homer to Mike Yastrzemski and a single to Buster Posey. But he settled down after that, getting three groundouts sandwiched between a single in the 2nd and striking out 2 in the 3rd to keep the D-backs in the game.

Speaking of the D-backs they actually pounced early on a team, thanks to a couple hits by some expected and unexpected sources. With one out, Josh Reddick doubled to left and Josh VanMeter pulled a two-strike change-up to right for another double, tying things up at 1. An intentional walk to Stephen Vogt brought up Merrill Kelly, owner of exactly one hit in his MLB career. Well, you can double that after tonight. 2-1 D-backs.

The lead didn’t last long, as good teams normally don’t just lay down and die. But with 1-out, Brandon Crawford singled and Wilmer Flores smashed a hanging curveball to left for his 8th homer of the season, 3-2 Giants.

But would you look at that, the D-backs fought back! David Peralta tripled to left, and Josh Reddick was inspired by the early homers to hit his first of the season, matching the Giants 2 runs with 2 for the D-backs. 4-3 D-backs.

Pavin Smith hit a towering home run in the 5th to give us our final score for the evening 5-3, and the D-backs pitchers danced around singles and leadoff walks to keep the Giants at bay for the rest of the night. Trouble came in the 9th for Joakim Soria, looking for his first save of the season. It sure didn’t start how you’d want, with leadoff walk to Flores and single to right putting the tying runner on base. But Donovan Solano hit a grounder right at Escobar, who fired onto 2nd for the first out and Rojas completed the double play to put the crowd at ease. Pinch hitter Darin Ruf was the last gasp for the Giants, but he struck out swinging to end the game and give the D-backs a much-needed win at the start of this 7-game home stretch.

Source: FanGraphs

Josh Reddick led the way for the D-backs in WPA on the evening, with a +.154. Merrill Kelly combined his pitching and hitting into a +.179, with most of the damage done on the offensive side of the ball with his RBI single to give the D-backs an early lead.

Comment of the night goes to Smurf-1000 for this gem.

Game 2 of this four game series starts tomorrow at 6:40 pm. I understand if you’re not going to show up, but maybe pop in for like a couple seconds? Pretty please?