Record: 22-22. Pace: 81-81. Change on 2021: +4.
The very first pitch of tonight's contest, by Zach Davies, was deposited into the left-field bleachers. I should have gone to get more snacks at that point. For the first inning took 30 minutes to complete with the starters throwing 62 pitches (34 for Davies, 28 for Zack Greinke). They faced 15 batters, nine of whom reached base on seven hits, a walk and a hit batter. Five of those hits left the yard, tying the major-league record for home-runs in any inning. All seven hits had exit velocities in excess of 100 mph (and one of the Royals' outs was clocked at 105.0 mph). It's safe to say neither pitcher was fooling anyone.
Davies allowed three homers, all solo shots to left, to the first four batters he faced, and a fourth run later in the inning. However, Daulton Varsho lasered an offering to right-field, and Pavin Smith responded to our round table discussion, with his fifth home-run. That cut the deficit in half, and one out later, Christian Walker made it a one-run game with his 11th homer (both above). That tied him with Pete Alonzo and C.J. Cron for the National League lead (and Cron plays for Colorado, so * there). But just when it looked like we were back in this, Arizona gifted Kansas City a run in the second.
Davies allowed an infield lead-off single, and the runner stole second. Grayson Grenier's throw sailed into shallow right, and nobody from the D-backs was covering third. The runner took that base, Geraldo Perdomo's throw sailed to the backstop; the runner kept going. Drew Ellis threw poorly home, and the Royals were 5-3 up. Each infielder was charged with two errors on the play (below), keeping the Diamondbacks tied with the Pirates for most in the majors (35). Notably, Ellis did not come out to field for the top of the third, being replaced by Jake Hager, though this was announced as due to "right side discomfort."
Arizona tied it up at five in the bottom of the frame. Greinke walked the first two batters he faced, and they both came around to score, on a David Peralta single, and Jake McCarthy RBI groundout. Over his first eight starts, covering 44 innings, Greinke had allowed two home-runs and walked four. In just 3.1 innings tonight, he allowed two home-runs and walked four... but had also set a season high for strikeouts (5). Davies didn't make it out of the fourth either, though it wasn't entirely his own fault. With two outs and two on, he took a 112 mph comebacker off the shin, the crack echoing around a largely empty Chase Field (tonight's announced attendance: 14,629).
He was eventually able to limp off under his own steam (below), but his night was done. He scattered eight hits, including three home-runs, and two walks over 3.2 innings, with five runs allowed (four earned) and two strikeouts. J.B. Wendelken inherited a bases loaded jam, and was able to escape with a nice play by Smith on a sinking liner in right. Arizona then took the lead for the first time in the fourth, after chasing Greinke. Ketel Marte shot a double down the left-field line, off another former D-back, Joel Payamps. That brought home two runs, making it 7-5 to the Diamondbacks. All 12 runs were on the two starters' lines, and the bullpens then calmed things down. As recapper, I can only thank them.
For the Diamondbacks, this was very much a case of piecing things together. In the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings, the Arizona pitcher who started the frame, was not the same one who finished it. The Royals had the tying run at the plate or better in each of them too, which made for a somewhat nerve-wracking experience, considering the way balls were flying out earlier. However, the first relief run went to the D-backs, in the bottom of the seventh, when Peralta got his second RBI single of the night, pushing the lead to 8-5. Further singles from Perdomo and Hager - the latter off yet another former D-back, Matt Peacock - added another run, taking us out of save range.
The drama was not quite over, as Joe Mantiply and Sean Poppen combined to load the bases in the top of the eighth, before getting the third out. It was then over to Luis Frias for the ninth. And, of course, the guy with the 19.29 ERA coming jn, had the least stressful game. He issued a two-out walk, though that was it. The Royals left thirteen men on base, and out-hit the D-backs by 12-10. Unsurprisingly, it also ended up the longest regulation game of the season for Arizona, at three hours, 36 minutes. There were twenty balls in play at more than 100 mph, led by Peralta's seventh inning single at 113 mph.
Post game comments from Pavin Smith and Torey Lovullo are below. Smith said he had slightly tweaked his mechanics: it would be nice if his previous slump was due to this, and is now fixed. Lovullo said Zach Davies’s X-rays were negative, but will get a CAT scan, and a stint on the injured list is likely. He also revealed that the absence of Dave McKay is because he has COVID. Given our coach’s age, we’re definitely keeping our fingers crossed for him. Though if there’s any 72-year-old who can kick COVID’s ass, it’s going to be Dave!
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Lawrence Welk: Ketel Marte: +29.3%
Weird Al Yankovic: Peralta, +18.2%; Smith, +16.1%; Ramirez, +10.8%
Judy Tenuta: Zach Davies, -35.0%%
A delicious, all-you-can-eat buffet of shame in the comments, i.e. all those who wrote this one off in the middle of the first. Quite a few contenders to choose from, but let’s go with the person who, as a SnakePit writer, really should know better by now!
“Here, hold my beer,” goes the Diamondbacks’ offense. It’s the same two teams tomorrow, and with Zac Gallen starter, I’m feeling hopeful we’ll end up above .500 heading into Wednesday’s off-say. One final tit-bit, to show you how far the team has come. Tonight was the D-backs’ 22nd win of the season, in their 44th game. Last year, win #22 didn’t happen until June 26th, in their seventy-eighth game...