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Diamondbacks 5, Cardinals 7: Hopeful Early, Exciting Middle, Quiet Late

Arizona’s bullpen went oops!

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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The Diamondbacks fell to the Cardinals 7-5 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. What looked to me to be a pitcher’s duel early on turned into a battle of the bullpens by the middle innings. (Spoiler alert - Arizona’s pen imploded more spectacularly.) Careless defense and some overly aggressive baserunning cost several runs that, unsurprisingly, add up to the final margin.

As I write this from central Texas, where my closest tie to the NL West is enjoying some good old fashioned schadenfreude for the Padre’s last place AA team, my Diamondbacks game day experience is spent listening to the radio broadcast through MLB At-Bat. Call me old-fashioned, but Greg Schulte is one of the best in the business - subsequently having some trouble getting used to Chris Garagiola (despite the family ties).

The first 2 innings started off reasonably well for the Diamondbacks, if you don’t count a questionable decision by Daulton Varsho to try and steal second base after a leadoff walk. Does TOOTBLAN apply retroactively to caught-stealings if the next hitter bashes a home run? Because naturally, that’s what Jordan Luplow did, sneaking an opposite field drive just over the wall to give us an early 1-0 lead. Our half of the 1st inning gave some premonition of what was to come, as Varsho and Zach Davies miscommunicated on a Harrison Bader infield pop-up. Broadcast team wouldn’t commit to blaming either player, so I will gladly choose to blame Bader for not hitting it farther.

Davies was fairly sharp early on, which led to my aforementioned hopes of a pitcher’s duel between Jordan Hicks and Davies. Hicks’ pitch count was climbing rapidly, however, and, alas, one needs good defense for a duel to happen… which is not our forte. The home half of the 3rd inning was a 2 run unraveling that centered around a comebacker to Davies that he either threw wide, or Ketel Marte was not in a good position to catch. Regardless, the ball ended up in center field, a run scored, and the D-backs had no one to blame but themselves. Another unearned run scored later in the inning on a fielder’s choice and we were down 2-1.

The next few innings gave me some hope, even as we waded into a relatively excellent Cardinal bullpen. Hicks left in the 4th after a Christian Walker no-doubter home run to center field, and then Nick Ahmed deposited another home run into the Diamondbacks bullpen in left in the 5th. Frustrating note: all solo home runs. Davies made it through 5, and departed after throwing 90 pitches

Ketel Marte and Pavin Smith made it 4-2 in the 6th after a triple and RBI groundout, respectively. Albert Pujols, who I still can’t fathom as the last remaining active MLB link to the 2001 Arizona World Series squad (had two hits off of Randy Johnson in game 2 of the NLDS, including a home run), hit an RBI single in the 6th off of Taylor Widener after a Tyler O’Neill double to make it 4-3 Diamondbacks.

The 7th inning provided all the fireworks. Luplow restored the 2 run lead with his second HR of the game, to left field this time, making it 5-3 Diamondbacks. Then, with a combination of Kyle Nelson and Keynan Middleton, the latter making his Arizona debut, I present the following:

Andrew Knizner single, Paul DeJong double, Brendan Donovan RBI groundout, Harrison Bader 2 run-HR, Tyler O’Neill strikeout, Nolan Arenado HR. Pujols mercifully struck out to end it, but still. 7-5 Cardinals.

And… that was the final margin, as we went 0 for 6 against Ryan Helsley with 4 K’s, going rather quietly. Middleton took the loss, and the blown save, while Kodi Whitley “earned” the win for St. Louis by striking out Christian Walker on 6 pitches.

Comment of the game goes to Nik for his theoretically violent response to Ahmed’s offensive contributions…https://www.azsnakepit.com/2022/5/1/23043668/gameday-thread-23-5-1-cardinals?commentID=295833f1-3546-414e-b907-a3617ee43a3f

On to Miami to face the Marlins! Who apparently are 12-9?

Getting it done: Jordan Luplow +24.7%
Came to play: +9.8%
Get a rope: Keynan Middleton -43.4%