Record: 68-76. Pace: 76-86. Change on 2021: +21.
Just after three o’clock this afternoon, the SnakePit mailing list dropped a plaintive little missive from Justin27, calling off his scheduled recap on the grounds of sickness. I suspect he may simply have been sick at the prospect of having to sit through another Madison Bumgarner start. Like a good managing editor, I stepped in to fill the gap, though will admit to having the game on mute, listening to our preferred 80’s DJ on Twitch, as per usual for Friday nights. I don’t feel like I lost much. No offense to Steve and Bob, but the thoroughly expected sight of balls whizzing out of the park really did not require much commentary. Let's start, for variety, with the comment of the game, which belongs to kilnborn
Never say we’re not on the nose. For Madison Bumgarner moved within one of the Diamondbacks single-season franchise record for losses tonight, with his fifteenth L of 2022. The last Arizona pitcher with more defeats was Rodrigo Lopez, who went 7-16 in 2010. He was earning only $650,000, so at least was economical. With only three starts left (unless the front-office decides to skip him again - which I'd not mind in the slightest), MadBum is probably more likely to set a new record with seventeen losses than get a win and reach /checks notes seven. He hasn't won since July, a stretch of nine starts over which Madison is 0-5 with an ERA of 5.00.
This evening it was a series of batting-practise offerings which caught far too much of the plate. The San Diego hitters gratefully accepted the charity, sending then into left-field bleachers with enthusiasm. The opening salvo came courtesy of former D-back Brandon Drury, who continues to torment his old team this year. As if homering four times in six games with the Reds wasn't enough, he went deep with two outs in the first, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead, and then again to lead off the top of the fourth. He now has 27 home-runs on the season. Drury had a TOTAL of 31 across his three years with the D-backs.
There was another solo shot in the middle of the Drurybombs, and the Padres used (relatively) small ball to add another tally in the fifth. Bumgarner's final line: five runs in five innings, on eight hits with a pair of strikeouts. Seven balls went in play at 100 mph or more. He didn't walk anyone, which is about the sole positive you can take away from tonight. With $37 million owed to Madison after this season, he is looking increasingly like a sunk cost through the end of 2024. The only question is, when the team will decide they have better starting options and yank him from the rotation and/or a roster spot. As Snake_Bitten mentioned in the GDT, Madison could follow the David Price route and become an insanely overpaid reliever.
Approaching the end of his third season with Arizona, Bumgarner has a 14-29 record, an ERA above five and has been worth a total of 0.5 bWAR, less whatever comes off that for tonight’s outing. $48 million doesn't get you what it used to, does it? He was followed to the mound tonight by Keynan Middleton, the human white flag. We have lost 10 of his last 11 appearances - the exception being when he closed out a 7-0 win. Tonight, he showed why, allowing two runs on three hits. After a scoreless seventh, Ian Kennedy got lit up for four runs in the eighth. Though to be fair, he would have been out of the inning with half that, had Stone Garrett not botched an eminently catchable ball near the fence in left.
I was hoping to see Mark Melancon, so we could complete the trifecta of poor free-agent pitcher signings. Instead, he was bailed out by Carson Kelly, who recorded the final out of the eighth. Amusing to see him head over to the umpire with his hands out for a sticky substance check, only for the ump apparently to go, "Nah, fam - you're good." He came out for another inning of work in the ninth. Touching as high as 56 mph with his fastball, though Kelly did allow a home-run, his 6.75 ERA on the night is still better than that of Bumgarner, Middleton or Kennedy. The last named is the only Arizona pitcher used tonight with an ERA for the season below five - and that only just, at 4.93.
To copy-paste a line from my Monday recap. “You’ll notice I have not said a word about the Arizona offense. That’s because, as the score suggests, there is precious little to talk about.” It looked like they might get back into the game in the first, after Garrett doubled, and Emmanuel Rivera reached on an error. However, Garrett then got himself picked off second, and the rally deflated like a balloon at a porcupine convention. The exception the rest of the way was Christian Walker, who hit home-run #33 in the fourth inning, then added #34 in the ninth, a two-run shot. It’s still probably going to be a stretch to reach forty for the year, but never say never.
Fun fact. Neither side issued a walk tonight. Arizona also had only two strikeouts, a combo the Diamondbacks had not surpassed for exactly eight years, to the day. This probably helps explain why the game took only 2:58, despite the sites combining for fifteen runs on twenty-four hits.
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Original: Christian Walker, +3.3%
Fifth-gen creased photocopy: Madison Bumgarner, -25.3%
Bonus comment of the game from Jack Sommers (I’ll embed the image rather than the comment, because it’s easier to see). Note the positioning of the outfielders. :)
kilnborn also asked at the end of the GDT, who was the last position player to get a win? The answer is John Baker for the Cubs in 2014 - he not just got the win on the mound, he scored the game-winning run. Anyway. Moving on, we’ll hope for MUCH better tomorrow, with Zac Gallen taking the mound for Arizona, in a 5:10 pm first pitch.