With the season winding down, the problems that have befallen the 2022 version of the Arizona Diamondbacks have become clear. One of the biggest questions that plagued the team, and will need an answer for next season is the two-sided performance of the starting rotation. Coming into tonight’s game, 10 different pitchers made starts for the team (technically 12, but let’s not count opener relievers). 3 of those guys - Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Zach Davies, have been excellent; allowing just a 3.04 ERA in their 72 combined starts. Their overall record when starting is a bit skewed with the bullpen, with a 38-40 record.
Contrast that with their counterparts, a group that includes: Bumgarner, Castellanos, Gilbert, Henry, Keuchel, Martin, and Weaver; they combined for 53 starts and a 5.64 ERA. Despite the poor performance, the team has a 23-28 record. Of course, the former group averages almost another inning more than the former so despite the worse ERA, a 3-run advantage isn’t all that surmountable.
Luckily tonight we had one of the better ones pitching tonight, with Merrill Kelly taking the mound against Brandon Woodruff. Kelly has “fallen” back to earth a bit after his electric July, with a 3.34 ERA across 5 August starts with only a 1-0 record to show for it. Woodruff has been even better, pitching to a 2.70 ERA in the same 5 starts but a bad-luck 0-0 record to go with it.
The offense started things off with a bang, both figuratively and literally, as Ketel Marte doubled with 2-outs and Christian Walker continued his late-season assault, hitting his 31st to left field to stake Kelly to an early 2-0 lead.
Merrill Kelly was phenomenal in response to the early lead. He allowed 4 hits, all singles in the first 5 innings with only one of those reaching scoring position, Jace Peterson in the 5th. He was stranded there after Garrett Mitchell struck out. After that, Kelly struck out 4 of the last 6 batters he faced with Keston Hiura ending Kelly’s night after an 8-pitch at-bat to end the 7th.
His night ended with 91 pitches, 7 innings, and 7 strikeouts with just the 4 hits allowed. It seemed too easy? I don’t know, for a team that came into the day with a 69-61 record, a 41% chance of making the playoffs, and had won 6 of their last 10 games; the Brewers just came out flat. Maybe it’s the daze of the day off or the start of a long road trip, but this isn’t the team I expect to see.
The offense added a third run in the 2nd after Thomas doubled and Perdomo singled to make the score 3-0. Flash forward to the 6th, where Carroll and Kelly singled to start the inning. Two outs followed a safety squeeze by Perdomo and pop out, bringing up Rojas where he jumped on the first pitch from Woodruff. 5-0 Dbacks.
Caleb Smith came on in relief and was superb, striking out 4 in his two innings to secure the 8th shutout victory of the year and a nice win after their worst loss of the year last night.
Kelly brought the pain, with a +.304 WPA with his 7 shutout innings. Christian Walker’s homer gave him second on the night, a +.169 WPA to lead the offense.
Diamondhacks sums it all up with the Comment of the Thread, thanks all for stopping by.
These two teams run it back tomorrow for the second of a 4-game series, with the first pitch at 6:40 pm. If you can’t make it to the field make sure to stop on by!