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Snake Bytes: 2/18 - Double Whammy

The Diamondbacks lost both games of their season’s first double-header to the Dodgers on Tuesday. It was not a pretty sight.

Diamondbacks News

Arizona 6, Los Angeles 7
The Diamondbacks jumped out to a three-run lead against Ryan Pepiot and the Dodgers courtesy of third inning RBI single by Pavin Smith followed by and a Christian Walker two-run home run. The Snakes allowed a solo run in the fourth, but entered the sixth inning still in control of the game. Then the wheels fell off. Arizona’s double-header call-up starter, Tyler Gilbert, who last pitched in a game on 6 May, simply ran out of gas. Torey Lovullo did not have the bullpen ready. The loaded Los Angeles lineup made Arizona pay. Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Justin Turner all deposited balls in the seats before Lovullo and the Diamondbacks could respond. J.B. Wendelken then allowed the Dodgers an insurance run in the seventh, which wound up being the difference in the game as the Snakes went down fighting, scratching out three runs across the final three innings while hanging yet another earned run on closer Craig Kimbrel.

This is one of those games it hurt to see slip away.

Diamondbacks Blow Early Lead to Suffer One-Run Loss
The story of the game was Tyler Gilbert. The lefty call-up starter had 11 days off since the last time he threw a pitch in a game. He was making a spot start in L.A. during the day - hardly an easy assignment. For five full innings he proved himself up to the task. Then, in the sixth inning, the wheels fell off. Gilbert ran out of gas and Torey Lovullo was slow to get the bullpen ready, and the Los Angeles Dodgers were ready to take advantage of it all. Gilbert was unable to make it out of the sixth before allowing six to score.

Arizona 3, Los Angeles 12
At the start of the day, this was the game to feel good about for the Diamondbacks as Merrill Kelly was the scheduled starter. Arizona wasted no time in spotting Kelly to a two-run lead before he ever took the hill. The Dodgers responded in the bottom half of the inning by tying the game back up. Then, in the bottom of the second, Los Angeles piled on in a big way. The Dodgers hung six more runs on Kelly, chasing him from the game. Caleb Smith came on in long relief and pitched a scoreless three innings, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out four. He in turn gave way to freshly called-up Edwin Uceta who was added to the Arizona bullpen in place of the injured Keynan Middleton. The Dodgers wasted no time in abusing Uceta, scoring three more runs in the sixth and yet another in the eighth.

Merrill Kelly Suffers Disastrous Outing in LA
The Diamondbacks spotted their workhorse starter to a two-run lead in the top of the first, grabbing an early lead in both halves of the double header. But on Tuesday, the Dodger bats were simply too potent. L.A. tied the game in the bottom of the first and then poured on the steam in the second, hanging a six-run frame on Merrill Kelly and chasing him from the game.

Since pitching his way to the top of the ERA leaderboard on 6 May, Merrill Kelly has allowed 11 runs in seven innings of work across two starts. Regression to the mean hurts when it comes all at once.

Christian Walker Heats Up While Arizona Starters Cool Down
Christian Walker likes hitting in Chavez Ravine. The Arizona first baseman continued to feat on Dodger pitching at Dodger Stadium, hitting a home run in both games of the double-header. For the day, Walker was 3-for-7 with three RBIs. That was the good sort of regression to the mean. On the other side of that coin is the bad sort of regression on display with Arizona’s starting pitching in the two-game set where Tyler Gilbert and Merrill Kelly combined to allow 14 runs in only 7 23 innings of work.

Marte Scratched, Middleton to IL
After coming off the bench to go 2-for-2 in the first game of the double-header, Ketel Marte was scratched from the second game with hand soreness. He remains day-to-day. Keynan Middleton was placed on the IL due to right elbow inflammation to start the day and was replaced on the roster by Edwin Uceta.

Can Zac Gallen’s Strong Start be Trusted?
An in-depth look at what Zac Gallen has done to turn things around in 2022 and what to expect the rest of the season. The verdict: We all want Gallen to continue to be as good as he’s been, but sadly that’s just unlikely. Regression will eventually come, but Gallen will remain a top arm through it.

Other Baseball News

Astros Tee Off at Fenway
How do you counter an opposing pitcher recording three outs on just five pitches? Hit five homers off him the next inning. Houston tied the Major League record for home runs hit in a single inning when they went deep five times in the second against Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi.

Related: Fan catches two HR in same inning

Baltimore’s Fence Move Steals Another HR
This last off-season, the Baltimore Orioles, in an attempt to neutralize right-handed power, moved the left field fence back 26.5 feet. On Tuesday night, that move paid dividends by turning what previously would have been a home run by Yankees slugger Aaron Judge into a double that hit high up on the 13-foot tall wall. Judge responded by clearing the wall later in the evening - twice.

Twins Option Top Prospect Royce Lewis
Baseball is hard, even when you are good. In order to make room on the roster to activate all-star shortstop Carlos Correa from the IL, the Minnesota Twins optioned Royce Lewis back to AAA-St. Paul. Lewis could hardly have done more to stay up, posting a triple slash of .308/.325/.564 in his first 11 games.