The big storyline going into today’s game was, of course, the first time that Zach Gallen and Jazz Chisolm would face each other since the trade that shipped them across the country back in 2019. While returns had been mixed since the trade, early returns in 2022 have been remarkably strong for both teams, with Chisholm easily being the best hitter on the Marlins, while Gallen has looked like the Ace starter we had all hoped he would be.
The Diamondbacks offense did not wait long to get the day started. Dalton Varsho was batting leadoff for Arizona, and hit a deep line drive to right field for a double on the second pitch of the game from Pablo Lopez. Jordan Luplow wasn’t able to do much, but a wild pitch during his at bat did allow Varsho to move to third. It ultimately wasn’t necissary, as David Peralta launched his third home run of the season to give the D-backs a two run lead. Walker and Hummel weren’t able to keep the offense moving, and a couple ground outs to second and third respectively would end the inning. 2-0 Diamondbacks
With Chisholm leading off for the Fish, we wouldn’t have long to wait to see the first matchup between him and Gallen. Anyone looking for a hard fought battle between the two would be sorely disappointed, though, as Gallen was quickly able to put him away with a fly ball to center field. The rest of the inning didn’t take much longer either, as Gallen got another fly out and a strike out to end the inning.
Second inning was uneventful overall. The Diamondbacks went down in order, and the Marlins nearly did the same. The only baserunner Miami managed was nearly an out. Garrett Cooper chopped one which ricocheted off of Gallen’s foot. Geraldo Perdomo made an incredible barehanded grab to field the ball and threw to first, which the on field umpire initially ruled as beating the runner. However, after review, they decided that Cooper did beat the throw after all, for the first Marlin hit of the day. The radio team disagreed, but in the end, it just delayed the inevitable, as Gallen worked around the hit and got the next batter to pop up to second to end the inning.
The top of the third brought another three up, three down inning from the Diamondbacks offense, but the bottom of the third brought another Gallen vs. Chisholm matchup. Chisholm came up with two outs and no one on, after the eighth and ninth batters in the Marlins lineup went down quietly. Chisholm did manage to see three pitches this at bat, instead of the two he saw the first time around, but the result ended up being essentially the same. He flew out to right field, ending the inning and putting up another zero into the box score for Zac Gallen.
The Diamondbacks put together a threat in the top of the fourth. Peralta lead the inning off with a single, and Walker followed him with a walk to put two on and nobody out to start the inning. The middle of the order wasn’t able to get the job done, though. Hummel struck out, Alcantara flew out, and Carson Kelly struck out as well letting Lopez off easy after the early base runners.
Bottom of the fourth was more of the same from Gallen. He struck out Aguilar and Soler in order to get two easy outs. Didn’t have as much luck with Jesus Sanchez. He got Sanchez to a 1-2 count, but Sanchez connected with one and launched it to the gap for a double. It could have been trouble, but Gallen did let it phase him and struck out Avisail Garcia to end the inning.
After taking a few innings off, the Diamondbacks offense rev’d things back up in the fifth, and it all came with two outs. Varsho drew a walk to get it started, and then he was able to go all the way to third (and almost to home) on a terrible pick off attempt. Jordan Luplow singled to to bring Varsho home, and then he stole second just for good measure. That was fortunate, as it allowed him to also score on a David Peralta single, extending the lead to four. That was the end of Pablo Lopez’ day, as he was pulled in favor of Louis Head. Walker welcomed Head to the game with his second walk of the day, but Cooper Hummel wasn’t able to convert and popped out to end the inning. 4-0 Diamondbacks
The bottom of the fifth was the hardest inning by far for Gallen up to that point. With one out, Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas both singled, putting runners on first and second. Jason Stallings came to the plate, with Jazz Chisholm lurking in the on deck circle. Gallen and Stallings battled to a full count, but Christian Walker and Nick Ahmed turned a dandy of a line drive, double play.
The Marlins did challenge, but after a lengthy review, the call was upheld and Gallen got out of the inning unscathed, and left the Gallen/Chisholm matchup to wait until the sixth.
The Diamondbacks went down in order in the sixth, quickly bringing that matchup to the plate. Like the first two, Jazz Chisholm didn’t waste much time. He took a ball and a called strike, then he put the third pitch in play, grounding out to Perdomo at second base for an easy first out in the inning. The next man up, Aguilar, did single, but nothing came of it. Gallen put up another zero, and the teams went to the seventh.
The seventh started off looking like a potential big inning for Arizona. Richard Bleier came in to pitch for the Marlins, and Perdomo wasted no time welcoming him to the game, turning his first pitch into a single. Varsho also made sure to give him a warm welcome, sending his second pitch into right field for a double. That put runners on second and third with no one out for Jordan Luplow. Luplow already had one RBI on the afternoon, and picked up another, taking a 3-2 pitch to right, bringing Perdomo home and sending Varsho to third, still no outs.
Runners on the corners with no one outs would seem to be a great opportunity for the Diamondbacks, but Luplow got greedy and tried to steal, getting thrown out. Varsho probably could have made it home, but stayed at third, which cost the Diamondbacks, as Peralta and Walker both made outs to end the inning. 5-0 Diamondbacks
Zac Gallen came out for the seventh inning, but he was clearly tired and no longer had his best stuff. He hit Avisail Garcia and Garrett Cooper, both of whom had way more to say than was necessary given the situation. Lovullo let Gallen have one more batter, whom he struck out, and then pulled him in favor of Noe Ramirez.
Ramirez didn’t have much better control than Gallen did, however. He went to 3-1 on Miguel Rojas before getting a very lucky pop up to Walker at first base for the first out of the inning. He let it go to 2-2 on Jason Stallings before also hitting him, and loading the bases on nothing but hit by pitches for, you guessed it, Jazz Chisholm. Ramirez again got the batter to two strikes, but he wasn’t able to finish the job. Chisholm doubled, bringing in two runs, both of which were charged to Gallen.
But they weren’t done there. Jose Aguilar came to the plate next, still with a prime scoring opportunity for the Marlins. Once again, Ramirez got him to two strikes, but this time questionable defensive choices sunk them. Ramirez hit a deep ground ball to Ahmed at short. It was a long throw to first, and frankly, Ahmed should have eaten it. He threw it, the ball skipped off the bag and two runs were able to score. That was finally the end of it though. Ramirez was pinch run for, and his replacement, Jon Berti, did steal second base on a challenged call, Jorge Soler flew out to mercifully bring the inning to an end while the Diamondbacks still had a lead 5-4 Diamondbacks
Both teams went quietly in the eight; three up, three down, and the Diamondbacks did it again in the top of the ninth. Ian Kennedy came in for the bottom of the ninth. Miguel Rojas singled with one out, and they gave Chisholm the ol’ intentional/unintentional walk, but Berti popped it up on the infield to end it. Overall a great game with one rough half inning that almost upended it all.
Lots of strong performances to go around tonight. Gallen had a 24.6% WPA, despite being tagged for the two runs. Mantiply and Kennedy also had double digit positive scores, at 12.9% and 17.5% respectively. On the offense, Peralta had a bit night with 21.4% and Dalton Varsho had 11.8%. Only Noe Ramirez was given a significant negative WPA, at -18.5%
The only red comment was from early in the game, calling for Brent Strom to be the MVP. In retrospect, that seems a bit premature, so I’ll unilaterally declare no COTD tonight.
Same two teams tomorrow, with another 3:40pm start in Miami. Humberto Castellanos will face off against Trevor Rodgers for the Marlins. Be there!