Record: 35-78. Pace: 50-112. Change on 2004: 0.
Welcome to the latest in my series of “guest recaps”, but I don’t actually mind this one too much. This SnakePit duty did mean I got to slide out of going to a grandchild’s birthday party, and instead got to let my inner anti-social bastard fly, since Mrs. S was attending it. This recap is thus brought to you from the basement, where I am watching the game on one monitor, while simultaneously recapping and catching up on movie reviews on the other. There may be Doritos involved as well, but I can neither confirm nor deny that.
Indeed, I was a little late to the party this afternoon, as I wanted to finish off the film I was watching, and during set-up, Bally Sports took a few attempts to start loading the game. But that’s alright, because Madison Bumgarner and the Diamondbacks were clearly a little late to the party as well. After going down in order for the top of the first, MadBum allowed a one-out double, and then a two-out RBI single to take the league. Both were bloops - the double was just 70.6 mph off the bat, and was perfectly placed down the left-field line - but were good enough for the Padres to take the lead.
Meanwhile, Blake Snell came into the game second in the National League for walks, having walked at least three in six consecutive starts. But he adjusted his approach, to pumping in fastballs. He threw a first-pitch strike to each of the first ten batters he faced, making the Diamondbacks’ hitters play catch-up, and it didn’t go well for them. First time through the order, the only base-runner Arizona managed was Bumgarner, who drew a two-out base on balls. That gave Madison eight in just 35 PA this year: the same number of walks as the Mets’ Kevin Pillar, who has had 242 PAs. The most walks by an NL pitcher since 1978 is eleven, by another Diamondback: Ian Kennedy in 2012, who as Jack mentioned, never swung.
Otherwise, the D-backs were struggling. Kelly was gifted a two-out walk when the home-plate umpire blew a call, but eight of the first twelve outs Snell recorded, came by the strikeout. Put another way, 14 Arizona hitters into the game had resulted in a mere four balls in play. Anyone still wonder why baseball is less interesting? Hey, at least this was going past at a decent pace. We had completed four innings in not much more than an hour. Unfortunately, by that point the Padres had added to their lead. Jake Cronenwerth, who had driven in the first run for San Diego, drove himself in with a 416 foot home-run. to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
Arizona eventually threatened to get on the board in the top of the sixth, as Nick Ahmed doubled down the left-field line, to lead off the inning. He tagged up and went to third on a fly-ball by Ketel Marte, but Kole Calhoun and Carson Kelly both struck out, to strand Ahmed. There was a similar pattern in the seventh, where the D-backs got a walk from Drew Ellis, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. However, it was Pavin Smith and Jake Hager this time who struck out swinging and looking respectively, though the latter was not helped by a truly terrible call from Roberto Ortiz at home-plate. Pitch #4 shown here was a called strike. #RobotUmpsNow Still, 13 K’s by the D-backs through seven innings.
Bumgarner, for his part, had been efficient and effective, giving the team those mythical 21 outs, and needing just 80 pitches to do so. He allowed six hits and a walk, with five strikeouts, and the two runs allowed, both earned. It was his third consecutive start going seven frames, and in his five outings since coming back off the injured list after the All-Star break, this has been Bumgarner’s line:
Bumgarner: 32 IP, 25 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 20 SO, 3 HR, 1.97 ERA.
That’s among the best in the National League for the second half. Here’s to this continuing, if only so we can trade him this winter.
I’d some vague hopes that the exit of the Padres’ starter from the game in the eighth would be a case of “anybody but Snell.” However, the sad parade of Arizona hitters carrying their own lumber back to the dugout continued, with two more strikeouts against the San Diego bullpen. Taylor Clarke’s appearance in the bottom half - after his dismal failure first time off the IL - was a matter of concern, not least because at the seventh inning stretch, this game had a good shot at being the shortest regulation game of the year when he came in. He played a dangerous game, putting two men on base in front of Cronenwerth, but was able to get the third out, with his 27th pitch of the frame.
Mark Melancon, the saves leader, came on to work the ninth for San Diego, and immediately allowed a lead-off double to Calhoun. However, umpire Ortiz continued to favor the defense: pitches #4 and #6 above to Kelly were both called strikes, and he was called out on what should have been ball five. Christian Walker and Drew Ellis went down, and the D-backs were shutout for the 12th time this year. At 2:43, it failed by seven minutes to become the shortest full game, which still belongs to the 5-3 win over the Giants on July 1 (two hours, 37 minutes). The Diamondbacks struck out a total of 17 times. Every player with a PA had at least one K, and we also have this final note of gloom:
Before this year, they had one shutout in their history with more than fourteen strikeouts (05/04/18). They now have four (5/25, 6/6 and today)— AZ SnakePit (@AZSnakepit) August 8, 2021
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Sean Connery: Nick Ahmed, +3.3%
George Lazenby: Christian Walker, -13.4%
David Niven: Carson Kelly, -11.6%
Present in the Gameday Thread were AzDbackfanInDc, DeadManG, FootstepsFalco16, GuruB, Jack Sommers, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, MesaDBacksFan, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Smurf-1000, Snake_Bitten, TAP, edbigghead, gzimmerm, kilnborn and since_98. The last-named gets Comment of the Thread, the only Sedona Red one today:
And, so, the Diamondbacks again fail to win a road series. They can do so if they beat San Francisco in both games beginning on Tuesday, after an off-day tomorrow. Zac Gallen is scheduled to start for Arizona.