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Diamondbacks 0, San Francisco 13: Batting Practice

This is what happens when your starting pitcher puts you in an 8-0 hole before recording his seventh out.

Minnesota Twins v Arizona Diamondbacks
I wanted a photo of Jake McCarthy falling down in right field in the bottom of the first, but it was not to be.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

I’m honestly not sure how to even go about writing this game up, because it was so terrible from the outset and, given the score, it was clearly a foregone conclusion by the time Arizona starter and failed refurbishment project Dallas Keuchel was done facing his third batter in the bottom of the first. I dunno. Brace yourselves for the gory details, I guess.

San Francisco’s starting pitcher, Logan Webb, entered the game with a sub-3.00 ERA. As noted, we had Keuchel on the mound. Keuchel had a decent start against the Rockies in his last appearance, giving up three runs but pitching seven innings and settling down after a shaky beginning to his outing.

Webb was as advertised, which is to say, he was good. He retired Josh Rojas, Alek Thomas, and David Peralta in order to start the game, needing only 8 pitches in the top of the first. Keuchel, needless to say, did not provide a comparable performance. Giants’ CF Austin Slater doubled to right on the first pitch he saw. One out later, LF Yermin Mercedes doubled to right center, plating Slater and giving San Francisco their needed margin for victory. Keuchel walked Darin Ruf, and then got the second out, and it almost looked like he’d escape with minimal damage. But no. Giants third baseman David Villar lined a ball right at Jake McCarthy in right, but the sun was in McCarthy’s eyes, and he apparently couldn’t see the ball, and then he fell down for no apparent reason, and so Villar’s liner rolled to the wall. Mercedes and Ruf scored, while Villar motored into third. McCarthy threw sorta wildly to his cutoff man, Sergio Alcantara, who then botched the relay throw, allowing Villar to score on the E4. 4-0 San Francisco

In the top of the second, McCarthy kinda redeemed himself, or tried to, hitting a two-out double to left. Carson Kelly drew a walk, but Alcantara grounded out to end the frame. Keuchel came out for his second inning of work, and pretty much continued where he left off. He struck someone out, surrendered a home run to center field to Giants’ catcher (and sub-.160 hitter, until that AB) Joey Bart. That turned San Francisco’s lineup over, and Austin Slater singled to center, and was driven home one out later by Yermin Mercedes lining the second dinger of the evening just inside the left field foul pole. 7-0 San Francisco

Josh Rojas singled with one out in the third, and was moved to third on an Alek Thomas ground-rule double that bounced over the left field wall, but a David Peralta strikeout and a Christian Walker grounder to shortstop left both runners stranded in scoring position.

Keuchel, for whatever reason, came out to pitch the bottom of the third, and promptly gave up his third home run in six Giants’ ABs, this one over the wall in left-center to Giants’ shortstop Thairo Estrada. He then gave up a single to Villar, before recording his seventh and final out by inducing Giants’ right fielder and Diamondbacks hero namesake Luis Gonzalez to ground out to Christian Walker. Torey Lovullo pulled him after that, bringing in Edwin Uceta, who had been presciently called up from Reno in advance of this start, in case we needed a bit more long relief. Uceta ended the inning with no further drama, but the hole was deep now. 8-0 San Francisco

Logan Webb continued to cruise, pitching around a leadoff Alcantara single in the fifth and a walk and a single in the sixth, to keep putting up zeros. Uceta did similar service for us, pitching around a walk in the fourth and then retiring the five-, six-, and seven-hitters in the Giants’ lineup in the fifth for the one clean inning our pitchers managed this evening. Luke Weaver pitched the bottom of the sixth for us, and aside from a leadoff single he was good, striking out two and putting up a zero of hid own.

We got into the San Francisco bullpen in the seventh, but could do nothing. Alcantara hit a leadoff double off reliever Yunior Marte, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch, but ended our half of the inning still standing on third base. Marte also pitched the eighth, and retired the middle of our lineup in order. Meanwhile, Caleb Smith relieved Uceta for the bottom of the seventh, and gave up a leadoff single and a one-out dinger off the bat of Thairo Estrada, who had already homered once in the bottom of the third. So that was fun. 10-0 San Francisco

In the bottom of the eighth, things got silly and stupid. It was kind of like the goofy easter eggs you would be rewarded with if you remained in the theater through the entirety of the interminable credits at the end of, say “Ant Man 2.” Not wanting to waste another bullpen arm, Lovullo sent Carson Kelly out to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Kelly was on it, dazzling us with 22 pitches that the MLB Gameday identified as sliders, every single one, ranging in velocity from 48.8 mph to a smouldering 83.7 mph. Granted, the first four batters he faced reached don a walk, two singles, and then a bases-clearing double, but then he settled down and retired the heart of the Giants lineup in order. Sure, three more runs scored, but when you’re already down by ten, who’s counting? 13-0 San Francisco

In the top of the ninth, the hilarity continued, as Giants’ skipper Gabe Kapler decided that what was good for the goose must surely be good for the gander, and put starting right fielder Luis Gonzalez on the mound. Gonzalez had an even mightier array of pitches in his outfielder’s arsenal, mixing in a bunch of eephus pitches with a minimum velocity of 42.5 mph with a handful of fastballs that hit velocities as high as 89.3 mph—which is to say, exceeding the maximum velocity that Dallas Keuchel managed in his 213 innings of work. He gave up one-out singles to Carson Kelly (perhaps the only time a pitcher will record an AB in a Diamondbacks game this year) and Sergio Alcantara, but managed to close out the game with a final zero. And that, finally, was that.

Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs

According to FanGraphs, nobody on our side did anything worth even 1% of adding to our WPA, so we’ll just go with one noteworthy performer. Sorry to waste the Rolling Stones theme, but it is what it is.

Altamont: Dallas Keuchel (213 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3 HR, -39.8% WPA)

Something worth noting about this game, though, at least in my mind, is that it provided the clearest and most persuasive evidence to date for me that we really need to stop running out declining veterans every day, and instead start bringing up many more of the young’uns and give them a chance to adjust from Reno to Chase, and see how their skills and their stuff work in a ballpark at a reasonable altitude. Give ‘em time, give ‘em space, don’t worry too much about short-term results and let the kiddos play.

Tonight, Geraldo Perdomo was our only young’un who didn’t get a hit. Josh Rojas went 1-5. Alek Thomas went 1-4, as did Daulton Varsho and Jake McCarthy. Carson Kelly (who I’m not sure counts as a young’un, but still) went 1-3 with a walk. Sergio Alcantara went 3-4 with two singles and a double.

David Peralta, meanwhile, went 0-4 with three Ks. Christian Walker went 0-3 with a walk. Dallas Keuchel, who could be taken out of the way to give Tommy Henry or Corbin Martin or someone else a chance, did what he did.

Screw it. I love Peralta, and Walker’s power resurgence has been nice, but seriously. Get the older dudes out of the way, and let’s find out a bit more of what the kiddos can do. I’ve been reluctant to embrace this to the extent of some of my colleagues here at the ‘Pit, but I think tonight was a tipping point for me. I’m totally on board. Anyway.

The Gameday Thread was looking like it wasn’t going to break 100 comments for most of the night, but the foolishness of both teams putting position players on the mound at the end kicked us over into triple digits. At time of writing we have 114 comments. Only one comment went Sedona Red, and so I gotta give it to Fearless Leader once again, though I gotta say that I don’t love giving CotG to anyone who wasn’t actually watching the game and participating in the thread. But here we are, and Jim is not wrong....this was not a pleasant game to watch.

Since we hung on to win on Monday, we still have a shot at a series win, as the rubber match takes place tomorrow afternoon. Zac Gallen has the start for us; for San Francisco, it looks to be John Brebbia, who we saw a couple of times out of the Giants’ bullpen recently. First pitch is 12:45 AZ time. Join us if you feel inclined and able.

This one was no fun at all, but as always, thanks for reading. And as always, go Diamondbacks!