Record: 60-67. Pace: 77-85. Change on 2021: +18.
This is certainly going to be a contender for Game of the Year. Which really did not look likely when starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner slumped off the mound in the fourth inning, with the D-backs 7-0 down. But by the end of the fifth, after batting round in consecutive innings, Arizona were 12-7 up, scoring thirteen unanswered runs to tie their season-high win streak at four games, and setting a new record for the biggest comeback in franchise history. If the score in San Francisco stays as it is, they’ll be just one behind the Giants. Oh, and some young player made his first MLB appearance. So that was nice.
I did think about trolling the SnakePit mailing list this morning, and asking if anyone wanted to swap for tonight’s recap. Truth be told, I’d have watched this, even if I wasn’t scheduled to write about it, and there are not many times that has been true in 2022. For it was the debut of Corbin Carroll. He was a consensus top 20 prospect across all of baseball at the beginning of the season, and his stock has only risen since then. I started looking through the records to find the last time we had such a top 20 prospect arrive. It may have been before the 2014 season when Archie Bradley was highly-ranked, though his star had dimmed by the time he debuted the following year. So probably Tyler Skaggs or Trevor Bauer’s debuts in 2012.
Carroll was immediately in the game, tracking a fly-ball down just short of the fence in right off the night's first hitter. Though even in his inaugural MLB play, he looked a little tentative. Meanwhile, Madison Bumgarner did not appear to have benefited from his extra days off. The first four Phillies batters put the ball in play at velocities of 102, 101, 102 and 113 mph. The last was a vicious liner by Bryce Harper, that got past Carroll's slide on his knees for an RBI double: maybe a more experienced outfielder would have snared the ball. It was fortunate the Phillies scored only two runs in the first, largely because they ran into two outs on the basepaths. One runner was out at home on a contact play, and another was cut down stealing second, by Carson Kelly.
If we hoped Bumgarner would settle down, Arizona fans were to be sadly disappointed, as he allowed another run in each of the second and third innings. Indeed, after a lead-off double in the third was cranked off the wall in center, Madison had allowed more balls with exit velocities of 101 mph or greater (7), than he had recorded outs (6). In contrast the Diamondbacks had zero such hard-hit balls through the first three innings. Indeed, Arizona’s batters had not even managed to get a pitch out of the infield against the Philadelphia sinker specialist Ranger Suarez. That included Carroll, who grounded out in his first at-bat, though we did get a sample of his impressive speed.
Bumgarner didn't make it through the fourth. Another Harper double to right, this one even harder hut (113.6 mph) was the final nail in Madison's coffin. It came after a three-run homer by Kyle Schwarber made the score 7-0 to the Phillies. His final line was 3.2 innings pitched, with seven runs allowed, all earned, on 11 hits, with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. He finished with nine balls put into play at triple digits, and was in line for his 14th loss. That would have trailed only Patrick Corbin's startling seventeen losses. But miraculously, Bumgarner got off the hook. He was the first Arizona starter since Micah Owings in 2007 to allow 7+ ER in less than four innings, yet escape without the loss.
For remarkably, after being no-hit through three innings, the D-backs chased Suarez before the end of the fourth. They batted around, Josh Rojas managing the unenviable feat of making both the first and third outs in the frame. Between those, Arizona resurrected a game that seemed dead and buried by scoring six runs on five hits and a walk. Kelly had the big hit, a double with the bases loaded that scored three (above). Emmanuel Rivera and Stone Garrett also had RBI, and Carroll reached base safely for the first time, his speed helping to force an error out of former D-back Jean Segura. Luis Frias then managed what Bumgarner could not do in four attempts, and posted a zero in the fifth, keeping it a one-run game at 7-6.
The Phillies must have been feeling deja vu in the fifth, as the Diamondbacks scored six more runs, again batting around. They took advantage of some wild Phillies relief work in the frame, their bullpen issuing a remarkable five walks and also hitting Jake McCarthy, driving in three runs there. Carroll got his first hit, driving in two with a bases-loaded single (below) to give the home team the lead, and Kelly also knocked in a run. Arizona’s Win Probability had gone from 2.8% near the middle of the fourth to 96.4% in the bottom of the fifth. The first five innings took a total of two hours and 25 minutes. We had a whole nine-inning game on April 19 in Washington which took only six minutes more than that.
Frias had another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, with the help of a great snag from Christian Walker. Small sample size, but in 4.2 IP since his recall, Frias has allowed no hits, one walk and five K’s. If he can keep that up, then his 100+ mph velocity might play as a future closer. Though we've seen our share of future closers flame out after promising starts before, from Silvano Bracho through Yoan Lopez to Kevin Ginkel. Caleb Smith, freshly called up from Reno after breaking his non-pitching hand, worked a pair of scoreless innings, and Reyes Moronta finished things off. All told, the much-maligned D-backs bullpen tossed 5.1 innings of no-hit baseball against an above-average offense. No complaints there.
Stone Garrett completed the scoring in the bottom of the eighth with his second home-run in as many games (below) and it got out of there in a hurry. Despite the final score, Arizona were actually out-hit by Philadelphia, 11-10. Kelly, Ketel Marte and Garrett had two hits apiece, while Walker was on base four times, with a hit and three walks, and Gerardo Perdomo had a hit and a pair of walks. The victory guarantees the Diamondbacks a winning record for August, as they sit at 15-11 with two games left to play, and they have won four in a row for the first time since May 2-6.
Below, you’ll find post-game audio from Jack, including a quite terse Bumgarner and rather more voluble manager Torey Lovullo, plus Carroll, who is certainly going to remember his MLB debut for a very long time!
Madison Bumgarner audio
Torey Lovullo audio
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Leon - the Professional: Carson Kelly, +25.8%
The Fifth Element: Carroll, +20.6%; Marte, +12.7%; Walker, +11.8%; Rivera, +10.7%
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Madison Bumgarner, -33.4%
Well done to those who stuck it out in the Gameday Thread, when it seemed that all certainly seemed lost. That would certainly have included me, if I hadn’t been recapping, but I’m glad we got to witness the largest fight-back in Diamondbacks history. As for Comment of the Night, to quote the great philosopher Connor McLeod, “There can be only one,” and it goes to Justin for what must have seemed like a very safe use of sarcasm font at the time...
Same two teams tomorrow, and another 6:40 pm start, with Zac Gallen on the mound for Arizona. I’m hoping we might see something slightly better in the way of a starting pitcher outing.