The offense actually showed up today, to the tune of nine hits, four walks, and three runs. In the field, we made some truly stellar defensive plays and exactly zero errors. All five of our pitchers not named Ian P. Kennedy put up zeros in every inning they worked. This one was very nice pretty much from start to finish. I’m actually very sorry that I didn’t get to see it.
Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco faced off against Zac Gallen, who was making his first start of the year, and I was looking forward to seeing our putative ace-to-be on the mound for the first time in quite awhile. Alas, it was not to be, as Bally Sports Arizona had decided to not be available down here in the Tucson metro area, so I listened to the action on the radio. Not that there seemed to be a whole lot of actual baseball action that took place through the first three innings or so. Carrasco struck out four of the first five Diamondbacks he faced before surrendering a two out single to DH Seth Beer in the top of the second. Carrasco then sat down the next four he faced to take us through three innings with only one baserunner.
Zac Gallen, meanwhile, pitched around traffic in his first three innings, but never got into any real trouble. He was apparently on a 65 pitch limit this morning, though, according to Jack, and he had already thrown 54 pitches through those three innings, so it was questionable whether he would be able to finish the fourth.
The Diamondbacks offense seemed to stir in the top of the fourth, as Ketel Marte led off the inning with a single to right, which David Peralta followed with a double he ripped into deep right. Marte was only able to advance to third, but with runners on second and third with nobody out, it seemed hard to believe (well, sorta) that we wouldn’t come away with at least one run. Sadly however, we found a way, as Carrasco struck out Christian Walker looking, then struck out Pavin Smith swinging, and after intentionally walking Beer to load the bases for Carson Kelly, got Kelly to fly out to left. So boo.
Gallen came out for his fourth inning of work, and recorded his first one-two-three inning of the game, doing it with a crisp 12 pitches, bringing him to 66 for his first start. He was indeed pulled after the inning, and left with a pitching line of 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K. As I say, I wasn’t able to see how he looked on the mound, but got a pretty good sense of that from the lovely people in the Gameday Thread. I will give it to you in their words:
Thank you Jack, Jeffern and Michael for giving us a good sense of how the experience was, beyond the numbers.
Meanwhile, Carrasco continued to shut us down in the fifth, recording two more strikeouts, and the first man out of the Mets’ bullpen retired us in order in the top of the sixth, recording two more strikeouts. Kyle Nelson pitched the fifth for us and hit the first batter he faced before making a great defensive play to double the runner off first on a rare 1-3 double play. It was also the first video highlight of what thus far had been very much a pitcher’s duel:
So that was cool. He came out to start the sixth as well, but walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, after which point Sean Poppen replaced him and set the three batters he faced on three fly ball outs.
Seth Beer led off the seventh with a lined single to Francisco Lindor at short, which I was not able to watch
so I’m not entirely clear what that entailed. A hard-hit ball that Lindor managed to knock down in the infield but which he wasn’t able to otherwise make a play on would be my guess, but thanks to Michael in the comments below it was, and I quote, “a jamshot liner that landed perfectly between Lindor and EE. Enough side english to keep Lindor from making a throw from about 200 feet away.” Anyway, Seth Lugo came out of the bullpen to face Carson Kelly, he of the pristine batting average. Carson kept his average pristine by striking out swinging. This brought Sergio Alcantara, who was playing shortstop for us today, to the plate. Alcantara has a reputation as a glove-first infielder, but he didn’t look like that when he launched a hanging sinker over the fence in right field:
An absolute no-doubter for the lead! pic.twitter.com/5CEErvI7F7— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 16, 2022
Perhaps even more remarkably, the Diamondbacks weren’t done. One out later, Daulton Varsho drew a two-out walk, which Ketel Marte followed by ripping a double down the first base line that hit a jutting section of fence and rolled around in the outfield for a bit. Varsho advanced to third easily, ran through third base coach Tony Perezchica’s stop sign, and scored a third run when Mets right fielder Starling Marte’s throw to the plate was wildly off line:
David Peralta struck out to end the inning after that, but we’d put up a nice, crooked number. 3-0 D-BACKS
Joe Mantiply pitched around a bit more traffic in the seventh but put up another zero, while the Diamondbacks went quietly in the top of the eighth. Ian Kennedy took the ball for the bottom of the eighth, and a palpable sense of dread fell over the Gameday Thread. Kennedy retired the first batter he faced, before the Mets lineup turned over and the trouble commenced. Mets left fielder Jeff O’Neill singled to shallow center, and Starling Marte then launched a dinger into the left field seats, bringing New York within one. Kennedy then walked Francisco Lindor on four pitches before somewhat remarkably inducing Pete Alonso, the Mets’ cleanup hitter, to bounce to short for an inning-ending double play. 3-2 D-BACKS
We loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, giving the faithful hope of tacking on at least one more insurance run, but all three Diamondbacks who didn’t reach base struck out (bringing our total Ks for the game to a whopping 16), so there was nothing doing. Turns out we didn’t need it, though. Mark Melancon came out in his first save situation of the year, and much to all of our surprise and joy retired the Mets in order on a fly ball to left and then back to back strikeouts, giving himself the save and giving us a much deserved win against a quality baseball team.
Win Probability Added, courtesy of Fangraphs
Pure Blotter Acid: Sergio Alcantara (1 HR, 2 RBI, +26.4% WPA), Zac Gallen (see line above, +19.7% WPA)
Cut with Way Too Much Strychnine: Carson Kelly (0 for 4, -17.2% WPA), Christian Walker (0 for 5, -15.5% WPA), Ian Kennedy (1 IP, 2 ER, -7.6% WPA)
The Worst Trip Ever: Bally Sports Arizona in Tucson (NO VISUALS!!!!)
We wound up with quite the lively Gameday Thread, which admittedly saw an explosion of comments in the last couple of innings after being somewhat sparsely populated through the first six innings or so. Overall, we wound up with 413 comments, which was very nice to see. Comment of the Game goes to Michael McDermott, for this disgusted comment after Alcantara struck out on a truly wretched at bat leading off the top of the fifth, and which became quite funny because of the seventh inning longball:
Join us tomorrow on Easter morning for the rubber match of this three game series. Humberto Castellano takes the mound for the good guys, auditioning for a rotation spot perhaps now that Caleb Smith has lost the job. He faces off against Mets lefty David Peterson, about whom I honestly know nothing. First pitch is 10:40am AZ time. Hope you can join us.
As always, thanks for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!