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Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3

Zac Gallen struggles with control, hammered into early exit

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Diamondbacks Record 30-69, pace 49-113 (Losers of 31 of last 33 road games)

The Diamondbacks nascent post all-star break revival hit a bump in the road as their 4-game winning streak was snapped today in Chicago, losing 8 to 3. Zac Gallen struggled right from the start, showing poor control and command and getting hit hard when he did get the ball over the plate. He gave up 7 runs over in 4 innings and the D-backs never really got in the game.

Zac entered the game with a 3.86 ERA/3.89 FIP/ 4.06 xFIP in 46.2 IP.

Four innings later he was at 4.86 ERA/4.44 FIP/ 4.15 xFIP

Daulton Varsho and Pavin Smith provided all the offense for D-backs. Smith had a single, a double and a walk. Varsho had a two RBI hustle double in the 6th and a solo homer to deep center in the 9th.

One other minor consolation, the bullpen allowed just one run on a solo homer in 4 innings of work, (3 from Peacock, 1 from Smith)

Mesquite High School in Gilbert alumni Zach Davies went 5 1/3 IP, holding Arizona to 2 runs on 7 hits, 2 walks and 8 K’s. Javy Baez had a big 3 run homer in the first, and Robinson Chirinos had two solo homers among his 3 hits. The Cubs bullpen held the lead on a dour dreary day in both Chicago and Arizona.

Since it was a day game many might have missed, here is a full inning by inning recap for the masochists among you. Feel free to scroll quickly once you’re done ready through the 3rd inning as the game was effectively over by then.

T-1: Josh VanMeter worked a 9 pitch at bat and should have walked, but umpire Bill Welke called a low pitch that would have been ball 4 a strike and Josh eventually popped out. Calhoun followed by striking out and Escobar flew out to left. What should have been a leadoff walk and higher pitch count inning for Davies ended up a 1-2-3 first and just 15 pitches thrown.

B-1: Gallen struck out Rafael Ortega on three pitches. Kris Bryant worked the count full before drawing a walk. Gallen then hit Anthony Rizzo on the foot with a slider that got away. Hot hitting Javier Baez stepped into the box and deposited the first pitch he saw, a slider over the middle of the plate, into the left field bleachers for a 3-0 Chicago lead. Duffy and Heyward both grounded out, but it was a 27 pitch first for Gallen. Walks, wildness, and poor location bit Gallen again right out of the chute.

T-2: Pavin Smith snuck a two-out groundball up the middle into center for the D-backs first hit of the game. Nick Ahmed worked a long at bat before finally punching a base hit through the hole into right, giving Daulton Varsho an opportunity with a runner in scoring position. He couldn’t convert as he struck out on a sinker that stayed up and in out of the strike zone. At least they made Davies work for 25 pitches though.

B-2: Zac allowed just a harmless one out single to Robinson Chirinos who was moved up to 2nbd on a sac bunt by Davies. But Ortega struck out and Gallen had an 8-pitch bounce back inning just as it started drizzling in Chicago.

T-3: Gallen singled up the middle on the 6th pitch of his bat. VanMeter was caught looking on the 7th pitch he saw, a pitch that just caught the outside corner. (This time legit) The struggling Calhoun (2 for 26 since coming off IL) struck out for the 2nd time chasing a changeup that dove below the zone. Escobar drew a 2 out walk, giving Walker a shot with RISP. He reached on an infield hit when Duffy bobbled the ball deep behind the bag and couldn’t beat a hustling Gallen to the bag. That left it up to Peralta to try to drive in the run, but he struck out looking at another pitch right on the corner, stranding the 3 runners. At least Davies was up to 68 pitches.

B-3: Gallen issued a leadoff walk to Bryant on the 8th pitch of the at bat. Rizzo lined a base hit into center giving the Cubs 1st & 3rd nobody out. Baez hit a sharp ball to Escobar at 3rd and Varsho made a nice play on a throw in the dirt while blocking the plate and putting the tag on the 6’5” Bryant for the first out of the inning. Duffy walked, the third one issues by Zac, driving his pitch count over 60, (and my word count over 500) with just one out in the 3rd. We both need to economize. No dice. Heyward up. Gallen bounced a pitch inside and in the dirt and Varsho tried to pick it instead of sliding and blocking, (to be fair he was set up outside so tough block) . 4-0 Cubs. He got Heyward swinging, but Nico Hoerner singled in two more runs before being thrown out at 2nd and the Cubs had a commanding 6 nothing lead.

T-4: Pavin Smith got on base again, drawing the leadoff walk. Ahmed and Varsho flew out. Gallen, batting despite the 6-run deficit struck out looking to end the inning.

B-4: Chrinos hit a homerun to center to lead off the 4th, making it 7-0 Cubs. One strikeout later and with Riley Smith up in the pen Ortega dumped a ball into right for the Cubs 6th hit and 10th baserunner of the game against just 10 outs recorded. Bryant struck out and Rizzo flew out ending the inning and Gallen’s day was done. His final line:

4 IP, 6H, 7 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 84 Pitches, 53 strikes.

T-5: VanMeter popped out to Center. Calhoun finally got a hit, lining a single to right. He jokingly asked first base coach Robbie Hammock if he could get the ball. The guy cracks me up. Escobar struck out and Walker grounded out to short

B-5: Riley Smith worked scoreless 5th, despite giving up leadoff double to Baez

T-6: Surprisingly Davies came back out for the 6th at 99 pitches. Peralta singled to left and Pavin Smith, continuing his resurgence, doubled to the wall in left center. Ahmed popped out to center, failing to advance the runners. That was it for Davies as David Ross went to the bullpen bringing lefty Adam Morgan to face Varsho. Daulton hit a sharp grounder into centerfield scoring two runs, and hustled into second to make it a double. With the rain starting to come down heavier pinch hitter Andrew Young and VanMeter both struck out to end the threat with the score 7-2 Cubs.

B-6: Chirinos greeted reliever Matt Peacock with his second homer of day. 8-2 Cubs. Walker made a nice recovery on a ball he kicked into foul ground, sliding on the grass and throwing a dart to the covering peacock to just nab Ortega. Bryant Struck out ending the 7th.

T-7: Keegan Thompson on to pitch for the Cubs. Calhoun popped out to Baez who was shifted into shallow right. Escobar struck out attempting and failing to check his swing on a curve and Walker struck out as well for a quick 1-2-3 inning on 9 pitches.

B-7: Peacock worked a scoreless 7th. A walk to Baez was followed by a 4-6-3 DP and a strikeout of Duffy.

T-8: D-backs mercifully swinging early in counts and recording three groundouts on 9 pitches. Almost done.

B-8: The Cubs obliged with a very quick 1-2-3 inning of their own as everyone wants to go home.

T-9: Daulton Varsho hit a long solo homer to center on the 9th pitch he saw. That was the end of the scoring for the D-backs today


Audio Link

Torey felt that Zac was just missing off the plate with the walks and then making some mistakes in the zone. He said he made the decision to keep him in the game with an eye for down the road and in order to stretch him out further, despite the runs 6 already allowed through 3.

Note to Oldenschoole: Be careful what you wish for :)

Fangraphs Box

WPA: Pavin Smith +.044, Single, Double, Walk.

Varsho struck out with runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs in the 2nd when the game was still close, so registered negative -.022 for the game despite later inning work.

Zac Gallen posted a whopping -.330 for the game and David Peralta was -.082 at the plate.

Since they’ve been kinda rare, here is a mini Varsho highlight reel:

Roll Call:

Perfect storm, (pun intended) for a quiet game day thread. Day game in Chicago, early blowout, rainy day in the valley.

COTD goes to Since_98 in response to some early game shenanigans with balls and strikes from umpire Bill Welke

Remember , tomorrow’s game starts at 11:20 A.M. Arizona time.