As the 2022 baseball season winds down, there becomes increasingly little to root for, especially for a team that was well out of playoff contention before this afternoon’s first pitch. To a very large extent I am watching now to get a few more good looks at the young players we’re going to be building our next contending team around. Additionally, with five games left, I’m watching to see how effective we can be as spoilers for other teams’ postseason hopes.
This game checked both of those boxes.
For us, Drey Jameson took the mound for his fourth and last MLB start of 2022, after assembling an impressive body of work in his first three. San Francisco, meanwhile, was opting for an “opener” strategy, much as they did last Sunday, starting lefty Scott Alexander. Also, the Giants entered the day one loss away from elimination in the chase for the third wild card spot in the National League. I have only been able to see a few innings here and there of Jameson’s performance in the Majors so far, so I was looking forward to spending some quality time with him this afternoon. He wasn’t as impressive as he apparently has been so far, but all in all he did not disappoint.
Because San Francisco was starting a lefty, we had our right handed bats in the starting lineup today, with Stone Garrett leading off as our designated hitter and Jordan Luplow, who is still on our team because he swings a bat from the right side of the plate, batting second. Garrett promptly grounded out to first to start the game. Luplow then reached on an error by Giants’ shortstop Thairo Estrada, who airmailed a throw to first on a fairly easy grounder. Alexander retired Jake McCarthy and Christian Walker easily, though, so we did no damage.
Jameson matched Alexander’s result in the bottom of the frame, pitching around a two-out Estrada single to put up a zero.
Corbin Carroll, starting in center tonight, drew a two-out walk in the top of the second off Jakob Junis, San Francisco’s second pitcher of the day, but was left standing on first after a Cooper Hummel (our catcher today) flyout to center. Jameson retired the Giants in order in the bottom of the second, despite surrendering a leadoff single to SF DH JD Davis. He struck out the next batter he faced, and then induced an inning-ending double play to move us on to the third.
Somewhat bizarrely, Jordan Luplow recorded our first hit, a single to shallow right, with two outs in the top of the third, but didn’t advance. Jameson walked his first batter, San Francisco catcher and nine-hole hitter Joey Bart, with one out in the bottom of the frame, then surrendered consecutive singles to the top the Giants’ lineup to load the bases. Thairo Estrada then hit a slow grounder to Buddy Kennedy (newly returned from Reno and manning the hot corner today), who threw to second in the hopes of turning two. We got the force at second, but Estrada is simply too fast and beat the throw to first. Bart scored, giving San Francisco the first run of the game. 1-0 San Francisco
That just seemed to rouse our offense, though, as it turned out. Christian Walker led off the top of the fourth with a triple (!) into deep right center, and scored on a Josh Rojas sacrifice fly to center. Kennedy then struck out looking, before Carroll lined a double to right and Cooper Hummel walked. This brought Sergio Alcantara, playing shortstop today, to the plate, and on the seventh pitch of a very nice at bat, Alcantara did this very nice bit of business:
Sergio Alcántara brings in two pic.twitter.com/dTxcCj1ZIy— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) October 1, 2022
Stone Garrett continued his disappointing afternoon (0-5 by game’s end) by flying out to center to end the frame, but we were now on top. 3-1 D-BACKS
Drey Jameson responded by striking out the middle of the Giants’ order in the bottom of the fourth, which was nice. It took him 18 pitches to do so, putting him at 69 pitches after four, but it was good to see him finally pitch a clean inning, and to shut down San Francisco after we’d taken a lead.
Luplow singled to lead off the fifth, and was bunted to second by McCarthy, and then singled to third by Walker but nothing came of it. Jameson pitched around a two-out walk in the bottom of the fifth to put up another zero. We squandered a leadoff double by Corbin Carroll in the top of the sixth, leaving him standing at second. Drey Jameson managed to complete the sixth inning, despite giving up a two-out homer to Carl Yastrzemski’s spawn that brought the score to 3-2 D-BACKS
And thus endeth Drey Jameson’s last start for us in 2022. He ended with a throughly respectable pitching line of 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, with a season-high 98 pitches thrown. It was now up to the bullpen to protect a one-run lead. Gulp.
Well, not really. I mean, that’s how it looked at the end of the sixth, but we chased Junis at the top of the seventh when Jordan Luplow hit yet another single to lead off the inning. Jarlin Garcia came out of the San Francisco bullpen to replace him, and the fun really started. Jake McCarthy greeted him with a single to left. Christian Walker followed with a double down the line in left that scored Luplow and advanced McCarthy to third:
Christian Walker continues to build on a career year. pic.twitter.com/YEDHAOarTl— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) October 1, 2022
Josh Rojas singled to right, plating McCarthy and moving Walker to third. Buddy Kennedy then walked to load the bases. If you’re keeping track, Buddy was the fifth Diamondback to bat in this inning, and the fourth against Garcia, and there were still no outs. Sadly, Corbin Carroll struck out, and Cooper Hummel flied to right for the second out, though he hit it deep enough that Walker was able to tag and score. This brought up Sergio Alcantara with two men on and two men out, again. Again, Alcantara did the business:
Sergio Alcántara blows this game wide open. pic.twitter.com/AxG7ARdE30— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) October 1, 2022
Once again, Stone Garrett ended the frame, this time as the ninth batter of the inning, but we’d just put up a big crooked number. 8-2 D-BACKS
With that large margin for error to work within, the bullpen experience was markedly less stressful for Diamondbacks fans. Kevin Ginkel retired the Giants in order in the bottom of the seventh, Melancon served up one last Melanball to Mikey Y in the eighth, and Reyes Moronta surrendered another run in the ninth thanks to a single, defensive indifference, a wild pitch, and a sac fly, but it wasn’t enough to squander the fine Jameson start and it wasn’t enough to keep us from eliminating San Francisco from postseason contention. 8-4 D-BACKS
In addition, at some point in the bullpen follies we got perhaps the best baseball-adjacent video highlight I’ve seen on a Diamondbacks broadcast, courtesy of the kayaking ballhounds who patrol the ocean waters of “McCovey Cove” and scoop up longballs and foul balls that get over the right field wall.
So a towering foul ball was hit over said wall, and dropped into the water, and a posse of kayaks swarmed it, but they were having trouble recovering the ball, because that is apparently a highly competitive activity. They were showing it on the broadcast, and then some dude apparently named Dave came paddling in from out of the frame and snagged it, and they actually showed it again on instant replay. It’s utterly fantastic, cool play of the game right there. Enjoy!
Absolute chaos in the cove pic.twitter.com/xYmAeJ9oJA— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) October 1, 2022
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Rocky: Christian Walker (5 AB, 3 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 3B, a home run shy of the cycle, +25.4% WPA), Sergio Alcantara (4 AB, 2 H, 2 2B, 4 RBI, +22.7% WPA)
Clubber Lang: Stone Garrett (5 AB, 0 H, -9.2% WPA)
Unlike last week’s rather dismal showing, we had a very respectable and consistently populated Gameday Thread this afternoon, with 178 comments at time of writing. Sadly, however, nobody was feeling spectacularly witty, or everyone was being very stingy with their recs, because nothing appears to have gone Sedona Red, so no Comment of the Game.
Join us tomorrow as we try to rub in the Giants’ elimination by getting a final series win against them as well. Zach Davies takes the mound against, according to MLB.com, Scott Alexander once again? Um, another opener game, I suppose. Whatever. First pitch is 1:05pm AZ time. Hope to see you.
As always, thanks for reading. As always, go Diamondbacks! And thanks again to all you lovely people for another year of recapping and hanging out with fellow Diamondbacks fans here at the Snake Pit. It has been a pleasure.