In his last start, Zac Gallen hit four of the first eight batters he faced, before righting the ship and doing some serious pitching. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect tonight. Gallen’s been a bit erratic to say the least. He was facing off against Padres lefty Sean Manaea (and his hair), who started the ballgame with an ERA hovering just under 4.00. So, a decent arm. Seemed likely that we’d be getting a pitcher’s duel. And so it was, after a fashion, at least at first.
Manaea sat down the top of our order in the top of the first, throwing 14 pitches. Gallen matched him in the bottom of the frame, only needing 11 pitches. Christian Walker led off the second with a single to left, but was left standing at first when the final out was recorded three batters later. Gallen, meanwhile, looked locked in, striking out the middle of the San Diego lineup in order in a 14 pitch second.
We drew our first (and, it turned out, only) blood in the top of the third, as Geraldo Perdomo, batting in the nine hole, drew an eight-pitch walk off Manaea. Jordan Luplow, who for whatever reason (I get it, he bats righthanded) started in left tonight and was batting in the leadoff spot, stroked a sinking liner to center that Trent Grisham, San Diego’s center fielder, dove for and missed. Cue a spot of Yakety Sax as we enjoy our first inside-the-park home run since 2020:
INSIDE-THE-PARK HOMER FOR JORDAN LUPLOW! pic.twitter.com/CFCzzX57yx— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 22, 2022
Pro tip for you young center fielders out there: don’t dive for a sinking liner in center unless you’re very, very sure you can catch it, or at least keep it in front of you. 2-0 D-BACKS
Sadly, however, things started to break down a bit for Gallen in the bottom of the frame. Padres shortstop CJ Abrams reached on a one-out single to shallow right, and then Ha-Seong Kim, San Diego’s third baseman and number nine hitter, hit a sharp line drive to the gap in left. Jordan Luplow actually made it to the ball while it was still in the air, and the ball hit his glove, but he utterly failed to catch it. The ball bounced into center, past Alek Thomas, who had to go back and chase it down. By the time the ball was back in the infield, Kim was at second and Abrams had crossed the plate. The play was initially ruled an error on Luplow, which I thought was eminently fair, given that the dude was there, his glove was up, the ball hit the glove, but it didn’t wind up being an out because Luplow clanked it. Nevertheless, the scoring decision was changed to a double later on. All this kinda messed with Gallen’s head, though, and while he escaped any further damage, he wound up using up 26 pitches in the inning. 2-1 D-BACKS
And that was pretty much all that happened for awhile. Carson Kelly doubled to left with two outs in the top of the fourth, followed by an Alek Thomas walk, but nothing came of it as Jake Hager struck out to end the burgeoning threat. Gallen gave up a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the fourth, but then struck out the next three batters he faced. His control was getting a bit shaky, though, and the Padres were starting to hang long ABs on him—it took him 22 pitches to get through the fourth, putting him at 73 through fourth innings. We sat down in order in the top of the fifth, despite a one out walk to Jordan Luplow, as he was erased four pitches later by a Daulton Varsho grounder that doubled him off. Gallen needed 20 more pitches to get through the fifth, pitching around a single and a walk but nevertheless recording his tenth and eleventh strikeouts of the game. Christian Walker hit a one-out Texas League single to shallow right in the top of the sixth, but again, nothing came of the baserunner. So onto the bottom of the sixth.
Somewhat to my surprise, Gallen came out for the sixth. Yes, he’d only given up one run thus far, and arguably it wasn’t his fault, but his control has largely departed and his efficiency had gone with it. But here he was, at 93 pitches, coming out to face the middle of the Padres’ lineup for the third time. Granted, he’d kind of mown them down the first two times through the order, but he’d looked kinda gassed by the time he got through the fifth. To his credit, he recorded the first two outs of the inning on nine pitches, so that was nice. Eric Hosmer, whom Gallen had already rung up twice, came to the plate, grinded out a six pitch AB, and then golfed the seventh pitch he saw, a curveball that didn’t quite wind up in the dirt where I think Gallen wanted it, just over the wall in right. He then surrendered a double to San Diego’s backup catcher, Jorge Alfaro, that rattled around in the left field corner long enough that Alfaro decided it would be good to stretch it into a triple. That was not a good idea, as Luplow eventually corralled the ball and threw him out easily at third. That got Gallen out of the inning, and allowed him to finish six complete innings, but he needed 22 more pitches to get through the sixth, putting him at 115 for the night. He was done, with a final pitching line of 6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 1 HR, and 11 K with 115 pitches thrown. 2-2 TIE
Pro tip for you young catchers out there: You’re a catcher. You don’t run fast. It’s not your job. So don’t try to stretch a double into the left field corner into a triple. It rarely will work out in your favor.
So then it was a bullpen game, and given that the Padres actually spend money on their bullpen and presumably develop bullpen arms in their minor league system, you probably have a fair idea of how this was going to go. Also, you probably saw the headline. So. Anyway. Our offense had pretty much left the building for the night, so the only presence we achieved on the basepaths during the last three innings was a two-out Geraldo Perdomo walk in the top of the seventh.
Our bullpen was actually very good, though very little of it was all that pretty. Joe Mantiply pitched a scoreless seventh, despite starting off with a hit batter and then a balk that got called on his pickoff move to first. He then recorded the first out of the eighth, before Noe Ramirez came out to take the ball from him. Ramirez, who has been shaky this month, walked the first batter he faced, but left that runner stranded by recording the last two outs on a popup to shallow center and then a groundout to second. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth, and actually did that competently, retiring the bottom of the Padres’ lineup in order on only eight pitches. So we were on to extras. Their tenth inning guy, a rookie right hander named Steven Wilson, sat us down in order in an inning where we failed to even advance our Manfred Man to third. Kinda pathetic.
Kyle Nelson started the bottom of the tenth for us, recording the first out on a grounder back to the mound that he threw to third to cut down San Diego’s first Manfred Man. He then walked Jurickson Profar before recording the second out via another fielder’s choice wherein Profar grounded to Walker at first, who threw to short to force the runner there. Runners on first and third, though, and Nelson was pulled for Sean Poppen, who recorded the final out on a called third strike.
In the eleventh, we finally managed to advance a Manfred Man to third, though the whole thing featured no hits and was again, pretty pathetic ultimately. Varsho struck out to start the frame. Ketel Marte then drew a four-pitch walk. Christian Walked then struck out, which earned Wilson a hook, as the Padres brought in a lefty to face Josh Rojas. Rojas’s blousy pantaloons were brushed by the first pitch he saw, giving him first base and loading the bases for Carson Kelly. Apparently, though, that fourth inning double was all the offense Kelly had in him tonight, and he promptly grounded out to third.
Ian P. Kennedy, the second of our
relatively high-priced back-end-of-the-bullpen liabilities veteran closers, took the ball for the bottom of the eleventh. He struck out the first batter he faced, which was nice, and then issued an intentional walk to Eric Hosmer, for whatever reason, and then surrendered the game-winning hit to Jorge Alfaro, who rifled a single into left field. 3-2 San Diego
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Presumably because this one wound up being a bullpen game that went into extras, and because our offense did essentially nothing, all the positives come from our bullpen, while most of the negative ratings come from our offense. Here are our leaders, named on honor of Go Skateboarding Day, ranked according to other human-powered wheeled conveyances I’d rather injure myself trying to make use of:
Unicycle: Kyle Nelson (2⁄3 IP, 0 R, +17.2% WPA)
Three-Speed Bicycle: Sean Poppen, (1⁄3 IP, 0 R, 1 K, +13.2% WPA), Mark Melancon (1 IP, 0 R), Joe Manitply (1 1⁄3 IP, 0 R, 1 HBP, 1 Balk, 2 K, +12.9% WPA)
Rollerblades: Jake Hager (4 AB, 0 H, 2 K, -31.5 % WPA), Daulton Varsho (5 AB, 0 H, 2 K, -24.2% WPA), Carson Kelly (5 AB, 1 H, 1 2B, 1 K, -23.7% WPA), Ian P. Kennedy (1⁄3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 R)
The Gameday Thread has 176 comments at time of writing. CotG goes, quite deservedly, to kilnborn, who graced us tonight with not just one but two additional verses for his ongoing poetic opus, “The Ballad of Mantiply Joe.” Only one went Sedona Red, but here’s both of them, for posterity’s sake if nothing else:
If you are free tomorrow afternoon, and have it in you to see whether we can salvage a win and avoid the sweep in this series, then please join us as Madison Bumgarner takes the mound against Padres right hander Mike Clevinger. It’s a getaway day, so first pitch is 1:10pm AZ time.
As always, thank you for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!