Record: 51-61. Pace: 74-88. Change on 2021: +16.
The adage is that no lead is ever safe at Coors Field. This evening, that proved true, as an early 3-0 lead for Arizona was gradually chipped away. Though a key factor in this loss was the Diamondbacks being held hitless after the third inning.
Both sides sent up the minimum in the first. Josh Rojas led the game off with a single, before being erased on a double-play. Zach Davies was even more economical, retiring the three Rockies he faced on just five pitches. Arizona then threatened a big inning, loading the bases with no outs, after singles by Christian Walker and Daulton Varsho, then a walk by Jake McCarthy. However, they had to settle for one run in the second, as Cooper Hummel hit into another double-play, though Torey Lovullo challenged (and lost) a rather dodgy-looking neighborhood play at second base. Seth Beer flew out, and Arizona were back in the field with a mere 1-0 lead.
Davies was able to protect it, with another quite efficient inning: 15 pitches, and it would have been less, had he got the call on a “borderline” (let’s be polite) ball four call to Ryan McMahon. He was also helped by a nice sliding grab on a sinking liner by left fielder Jake McCarthy. Arizona went down aggressively in the third, on just nine pitches, and that included Ketel Marte reaching on an error. The bottom half included the MLB debut of 31-year-old rookie Wynton Bernard, who was a 35th round draft pick over a decade ago, in the 2012 draft. He was retired, but Davies had to throw a couple of extra pitches in the inning after an error by Beer. No harm done, and we were through three with Arizona still 1-0 up.
There was a certain symmetry about the fourth inning, with plays that might have been made turning into two runs, courtesy of a double just fair down the line, in both halves of the frame. Arizona got their two when a walk to Daulton Varsho and a McCarthy single, were followed by a double from Hummel into the right-field corner (below). But Colorado matched it, after their walk and single - the latter on a play where Beer made a tremendous diving stop, only to muff the throw to first - were followed by a double into the left-field corner. Both pitchers were able to escape further damage, so the Diamondbacks just held on to their lead, 3-2 at the end of the fourth.
They weren't able to do so in the fifth, however. After Arizona went down in order, Davies's first pitch was ambushed, launched just over the fence in left, and the game was tied at three. Zach was able to get through the fifth, but Torey Lovullo opted for a relatively quick hook, with his starter having thrown 82 pitches. Davies was charged with three runs on only three hits, along with two walks and two strikeouts, leaving the decision in the hands of the Arizona bullpen for the fiftieth time this year. But would it be a win or a loss? Things began well, Chris Devenski retiring the Rockies in order for the bottom of the sixth. However, the seventh saw him give up a lead-off double, bouncing into the stands in left-center.
An infield single followed, accompanied by what is among the most easily overturned calls I've ever seen, the runner beating the ball to first by almost a full step. Devenski did get the first out, and was replaced by Joe Mantiply, who gave up an RBI single, that handed Colorado their first lead. A sacrifice fly followed, and the Rockies were 5-3 up after the seventh. As Jack mentioned in the GDT, "Mantiply has now allowed 9 of 21 inherited runners to score. That’s 43%, by far the worst on the team and well above MLB avg 33%". Tonight, both the men he inherited crossed home, though his own ERA dropped back down below two, to 1.97.
You may have noticed a lack of much mention of the D-backs offense in the past couple of paragraphs. This is largely because it performed its usual middle inning vanishing act. After Hummel's double in the third, 14 of the next 15 Arizona hitters were retired, the sole exception being Christian Walker's base on balls, leading off the sixth. After a scoreless eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts from the good version of Kevin Ginkel that showed up, it was into the ninth, with the Diamondbacks just a bloop and a blast away from tying this thing up, not inconceivable at Coors Field.
However, if you’ve read this far, you’ll know that the team couldn’t even must the bloop, never mind the blast, going quietly down in order once more, to drop the opener of this three-game series. Walker, Varsho and McCarthy each had a single and a walk, but you wonder what might have happen if they’d put up a crooked number in the second inning.
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Citizen Kane: Christian Walker, +4.2%
The Other Side of the Wind: Joe Mantiply, -10.8%
The Immortal Story: Seth Beer, -10.0%
Not a particularly busy Gameday Thread, ending up at 84 comments. Don’t think there was anything with more than a single rec, so we’ll get on with our Friday nights. Which, for me, involves watching the latest shitty shark movie, entitled - I kid you not - Shark Side of the Moon. I’m just going to check the alcohol supply before we get into that... Tomorrow, it’s the same two teams, with a slightly earlier start time of 5:10 pm. On the mound for the D-backs is the other Zac(h), Mr. Gallen. If you’ve read your preview, you’d know he has one of the best ERAs of any Arizona pitcher here, so fingers crossed that will continue to be the case.