I will be honest with you, I got home tonight not wanting to write about baseball. I’m back at work this week, getting ready to teach academic argument (and creative writing) to a bunch of high schoolers for the first time in my life, and the last two days have been filled with on-site training regarding everything from syllabus construction to classroom management to IEPs and 504s and SPED requirements under state and federal law (acronyms are common in my world) to suicide prevention. I need to be at work in less than twelve hours to start the day learning our new post-Uvalde active shooter lockdown procedure. I can do this, and I’m gonna do it pretty damn well, I think, but today I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted and overwhelmed.
Also, of late, the Diamondbacks have tended to suck a fair amount. Especially on Tuesdays.
Over the weekend, while watching the baseball with TheRealRamona, I got to wondering which of our fluctuating cast of starters I would be recapping tonight, and saw that tonight’s scheduled starter (at that point) was Merrill Kelly. I recall saying to TheRealRamona something along the lines of “Oh, that’s cool. Seems like I haven’t recapped a Kelly start in awhile. It feels like it’s been a lot of Tyler Gilbert recently. Ugh.”
Fast forward to yesterday, when I discovered that Gilbert and Kelly had been swapped, and once more, I said “ugh.”
Fast forward to tonight, as the selfsame Tyler Gilbert took the mound for us, facing off against San Francisco lefty Carlos Rodon, who entered the game with an ERA that was two runs better than Gilbert’s. I was very much hoping that it would be a pitcher’s duel, even if it was a one-sided pitcher’s duel, and that the game would end quickly and I could get my paying work done at the very least. But it was not to be.
Gilbert walked Giants’ CF Austin Slater to lead off the game, surrendered a one-out single to RF Darin Ruf, and went to a full count on three of the five batters he faced in the first inning. He managed to strand the two baserunners, but it took him 28 pitches to get out of the first. Efficiency, thy name was not Gilbert tonight.
Rodon was much more efficient and better at his job, at least in the bottom of the first, as he retired Carson Kelly, Jordan Luplow, and Ketel Marte in order on 11 pitches.
In the second, Gilbert seemed to steal a page out of Rodon’s book, and retired the Giants in order on 11 pitches. That was nice, and led some in the Gameday Thread to suggest that Gilbert was settling down and settling in. Rodon, in the bottom of the inning, seemed to have taken a page out of Gilbert’s book (not exactly, not even close, but bear with me, because video highlights are a-comin’). He walked Christian Walker to lead off the fourth, struck out Buddy Kennedy looking, and then induced Jake McCarthy to ground to second for what, if not for the speed of McCarthy, would have been an inning-ending double play. McCarthy beat the relay throw to first, though, bringing once and future D-Back Sergio Alcantara to the plate. On the fifth pitch of his AB, Alcantara (who I’m becoming more or more fond of, after being unimpressed with him during his first stint with us this year), gave us the lead:
Sergio Alcantara pokes one out for the lead! pic.twitter.com/YEAgKknGjW— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 27, 2022
Yeah, it barely cleared the fence, and yeah, Giants’ manager Gabe Kapler challenged it, but the call was upheld and we had an early lead! 2-0 D-BACKS
Tyler Gilbert then seemed to borrow another page out of Rodon’s book in the top of the third, surrendering a leadoff single to Luis Gonzalez (no, we’ve been through this before, not that one), and then, one out later, a dinger to Wilmer Flores, who sent one over the wall in left center. He got out of it without further damage, but the early lead was no more. 2-2 TIE
Also, I promise that I almost certainly will abandon this borrowing-pages-out-of-books metaphor now. It’s already in dead horse territory, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’m sorry.
Anyway. We apparently didn’t want to leave Gilbert feeling bad and uncertain, so in the bottom of the third Gerarldo Perdomo did what he frequently seems to do these days, and drew a 7-pitch walk off Rodon to lead off the frame. It was a hell of an AB, and Carson Kelly followed up by getting hit by a pitch that broke down and in and hit him on the foot. Luplow struck out (seriously, I know we’re short on right-hand bats, but why is this dude in our lineup still?!?), and then Marte struck out, and then, after a hilarious Gameday Thread comment from Michael that (SPOILER) is our Comment of the Game, Christian Walker destroyed the first pitch he saw:
Christian Walker with a moonshot! pic.twitter.com/U3vO9KzVDr— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 27, 2022
Buddy Kennedy then struck out, but we were up again with another crooked number. 5-2 D-BACKS
Also, here’s a fun fact: at this point in the game, the Giants had scored two runs on three hits. We now had five runs on two hits. That’s not even close, though, to the most extreme example of this particular phenomenon, though...check out the Gameday Thread, and specifically Fearless Leader’s contributions, to learn more. But baseball sure is wacky sometimes.
Anyway. The second act of the game was pretty quiet after that. Gilbert pitched around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, Rodon sat us down in order in the fifth and the sixth. Gilbert was pulled for Luke Weaver, who pitched a sloppy fifth but put up a zero. He hit the leadoff batter in the sixth, Thairo Estrada, San Francisco’s SS and five-hole batter, and was relieved by Kyle Nelson. Brandon Belt doubled off the center field wall on a liner that hit a bit too high even for center fielder Alek Thomas to make a catch on, but then settled things down and retired the bottom of the Giants’ lineup in order. 5-3 D-BACKS
Ian Kennedy pitched a clean top of the seventh for us, and Yunior Marte relieved Rodon in the bottom of the seventh, and pitched it clean for them. Somewhat to my alarm, Kennedy came out for the eighth as well, but recorded the first two outs before giving way to Joe Mantiply, who, I’m sad to say, also kinda makes me nervous at this point. Mantiply gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but induced a grounder to Perdomo at short to record the final out.
We weren’t quite done on offense, though, which I was very glad about, since even when it’s a save situation, I really don’t trust Mark Melancon at this point as far as I can throw him, which is not very far at all. Carson Kelly drew a leadoff walk, then David Peralta, pinch-hitting for Luplow, hit a grounder just past Brandon Belt’s glove that wound up in the right field corner for a triple that scored Kelly:
Ketel Marte then played a variation on that theme, doubling down the right field line to score Peralta.
Another one down the line to tack on some insurance. pic.twitter.com/dKa6FVmywJ— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 27, 2022
That was it for our boys, but it was plenty. Melancon pitched a frankly beautiful scoreless and drama-free ninth, striking out two and bringing us to a victorious end. 7-3 D-BACKS
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Sir Richard Francis Burton: Christian Walker (3 AB, 1 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, +29.5% WPA)
Sir Francis Drake: Sergio Alcantara (4 AB, 1 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, +17.3% WPA)
For the bad Diamondback performer, I was probably going to go for the low-hanging fruit with the Sir Robin label, but happily, no Diamondback sucked enough tonight to make that necessary. So that’s nice.
We had an utterly fantastic Gameday Thread tonight, with a very robust 276 comments at time of writing, which is much higher than I think I’ve seen, especially on a Tuesday night, in quite some time. There was a truly excellent running gag from Oldenschoole (primarily) naming increasingly distant AZ towns while mocking various players swinging absurdly for the fences and predictably missing. There was an amusing discursion regarding the juxtaposition of the word “crappy” with the earning of the five-run “tacos from Taco Bell.” We had a visit from Rockstarr12, though sadly her video feed of the game crapped out early. But as teased above, CotG simply must go to Michael McDermott for his latest exemplary and eerily timely exhibition of apotropaic magic, as he posted this comment immediately in advance of the Christian Walker moonshot that provided the margin of victory:
Also, check out the truly massive popular acclaim....it’s very rare that any Gameday comment gets 10 rec’s. GuruB might have had something to do with that. Nice.
Anyhow. We once again can get out our brooms tomorrow, as we try again to complete a series sweep against the Giants. Zac Gallen takes the mound for us; his opposite number tomorrow will be Logan Webb, who seems to be the San Francisco ace this year. Should be a good pitching matchup. It’s a getaway day game, though, so first pitch is 12:40pm AZ time. Come join us and check it out, should you feel so inclined.
As always, thank you so much for reading. As always, go Diamondbacks! See you next Saturday! Cheers!
Postgame Audio, courtesy of Jack Sommers and Michael McDermott
Video Recap by Michael McDermott