RECORD: 46-96, Pace 52-110
Daulton Varsho homered, doubled, singled, drove in four runs, and also made a terrific diving catch to lead the Diamondbacks to a 7-3 victory tonight over the Seattle Mariners. Humberto Castellanos pitched 5 1⁄3 solid innings, allowing 3 runs, and the bullpen put up zeroes the rest of the way. The rest of the defense was on point tonight too, as Nick Ahmed, David Peralta, and Carson Kelly all had defensive gems in the game too.
The win snapped a 6 game losing streak for Arizona.
T1: Ketel Marte drew a one out walk. After Josh VanMeter flew out for the second out, Carson Kelly worked a very patient at bat to draw the second walk of the inning. Then David Peralta snuck a ground ball through the right side for a two out RBI knock, scoring Marte. Pavin Smith grounded out for the 3rd out, so no crooked number, but hey, it’s a 1-0 lead!
B1: Seattle answered right back. JP Crawford singled and then Mitch Haniger hit a belt high fastball off the scoreboard in right for a 2-1 Mariners lead. It was Haniger’s 31st HR of the year. Thanks to some good defense Castellanos managed to get out of the inning with no further damage, despite hitting Ty France with a pitch. Nick Ahmed made a nice play ranging to his right while in the shift to throw out Kyle Seager, and Carson Kelly fielded a swinging bunt by Abraham Toro and just nipped him with the throw.
T2: A little Drama in the 2nd as Chris Flexen threw a pitch behind Seth Beer that actually hit his bat. Another wild pitch later that sailed and the D-backs dugout and Flexen were barking back and forth and Torey came out to discuss with the umpires. Was he retaliating for France getting plunked? In any case Flexen showed who was boss in this situation as he struck out Beer and Ahmed looking and then powered up by 3 MPH to strike out Daulton Varsho swinging. Still 2-1 Seattle.
B2: Castellanos handled the bottom of the Mariners order in kind, retiring them 1-2-3.
T3: Flexen retired the top of the D-backs order too, on a couple of groundouts and a K. 7 straight D-backs set down. At least his pitch count is at 51 though.
B3: J.P. Crawford looks like a good player. He fell behind 1-2, fouled off a bunch of pitches and worked a 9 pitch walk to lead off the 3rd. But Castellanos retired the next 3, needing a really nice running catch by David Peralta in the gap to get out of the inning unscathed. That’s the 3rd really good defensive play by the D-backs this game.
T4: The D-backs exploded for 4 runs in the 4th. Kelly singled and Peralta doubled him to 3rd. Smith singled home Kelly and Beer had an RBI knock too, to bring home Peralta. Ahmed flew out to left and somehow Smith decided to tag and was thrown out at 3rd. But Varsho Homered to deep right, scoring Beer ahead of him and the D-backs had a 5-2 lead.
B4: Jarred Kelenic connected on a changeup at the bottom of the strike zone for a homerun to straight away center with two outs. Daulton Varsho made a great sliding/diving catch on a popup in no man’s land in shallow right center to retire Jake Bauers and get Castellanos out of the inning. 5-3 D-backs.
T5: A 6 pitch inning for Flexen as he retired Marte, VanMeter and Kelly on a popout and two flyouts.
B5: Castellanos allowed a leadoff double to Cal Raleigh and the Diamondbacks got the bullpen up. But he stranded the runner, retiring the next 3 batters to preserve the 5-3 lead through 5.
T6: Justus Sheffield relieved Flexen and got the first two left hand batters he faced, Peralta, and Smith, to strikeout looking. The 3rd straight left-hand batter in the person of Seth Beer stepped up to the plate and he drew a two out walk, showing a good batting eye. That gave Ahmed a chance vs. a left-hand pitcher, and he drew a walk as well, giving Varsho another shot with men on base. He immediately delivered, driving the first pitch he saw to the wall in the right center field gap scoring Beer and Ahmed, giving the D-backs a 7-3 lead.
B6: Castellanos back out for the 6th, strikes out Ty France and then gives way to Joe Mantiply with a switch hitter and then 3 lefties in the order. Mantiply struck out Toro, gave up a single to Marmolejos, and then struck out Kelenic looking to end the inning.
T7: Dbacks went down in order against Erik Swanson.
B7: Mantiply stayed in the game and got two outs sandwiched around a double by Raleigh, and Sean Poppen came in to strike out Haniger. Still 7-3 D-backs
T8: Sean Doolittle retired the side in order when Ty France took a base hit away from Beer with two outs. It was a lined rocket to France’s right.
B8: Somewhat surprisingly, Torey pulled Poppen and sent Noe Ramirez out for the 8th inning and he straight away walked Seager on 4 pitches. But he retired the next three batters easily to put the lie to my second guessing.
T9: The D-backs couldn’t tack on despite base hits from Ahmed and Varsho,. Rojas capped a rough 0-5 night grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, and Ketel then struck out.
B9: J.B. Wendelken worked an efficient 1-2-3 inning to wrap it up.
After the game Torey Lovullo gave due praise for Varsho’s night and indicated they might consider moving him up the lineup. He also didn’t mince words when it came to why he was out there talking to the umpires in the second inning after the exchanges with Flexen. He didn’t like the pitches up around the neck and head against Beer, and with Flexen’s walk rates and reputation for control he said one could draw their own conclusions with regards to intent. That’s about as far as Torey ever has gone in calling out the other team’s players, so it was notable.
Daulton Varsho spoke about his pride in being able to do what nobody else is doing in MLB right now, which is both catch and play all three outfield positions. He also spoke about preparation and that the focus is always on catching first and connecting with pitchers as they throw bullpens.
LOTS OF HIGHLIGHTS TO ADD TO THE REEL TONIGHT
Win Expectancy Chart
WPA: Daulton Varsho +.33 and David Peralta +.22 had the biggest hits tonight
Nick Ahmed -.12 and Josh Rojas -.07 missed a few opportunities tonight
Roll Call Info: 16 posters chipped in 134 comments of excellent baseball discussion.
Commenter listAzDbackfanInDc, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Schilling2001, Snacks&Dbacks, Snake_Bitten, gzimmerm, kilnborn, makattack71, since_98
COTD goes to gzimmerm in response to my question of how one might handle the last few innings with the bullpen. Fortunately things went well tonight from the pen, but snarking on the kerosene corp seldom gets old.
Rubber Match Sunday, Tyler Gilbert squares off against Yusei Kikuchi at 1:10 P.M. Arizona time
My final words for the night:
I am so extremely grateful for the first responders, Police, Fire Department, EMT’s, Doctors, Nurses, and Medical Staff that work to protect us and save lives, so often at the risk of their own. My heart is full with love and appreciation for all of them, and especially those lost in the line of duty.
Peace to all tonight.