After the way things went in game one of the double header, I found myself watching this game more out of obligation than anything else. Between the Curse of the Bullpen and Josh Rojas demonstrating why he has always been a suspect candidate for playing third base instead of the outfield, I more or less reached my fill of disappointment for the day/week/season/whatever.
But, there was a silver lining to being tabbed to cover tonight’s second bill. Drey Jameson got the start. The young rookie flamethrower was tabbed to make his second start of the season and was handed a daunting task, stop the loaded Dodgers lineup - in Chavez Ravine.
Still, in order to alleviate tension, I decided to watch the game silently whilst also killing some time catching up on the first two episodes of the newest season of Murdoch Mysteries. I figure the fun and absurdity of Yannick Bisson and Hélène Joy might be a nice tonic for what ails me if things go as expected against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers sent another lefty starter to the mound for tonight’s game, Tyler Anderson. The Diamondbacks responded by stacking the lineup with righties, including (ugh) Jordan Luplow. The only lefty in the starting lineup for Arizona was Jake McCarthy, batting third. I’m not going to sugar-coat this, a lineup consisting of Luplow, Emmanuel Rivera, Geraldo Perdomo, and Sergio Alcántara did not have me exactly bursting with any sort of confidence. I very much would have preferred to see one of Carroll or Varsho in the game as well, if not both. Shopping Luplow around at this point is a lost cause.
However, as we all know, sometimes you just cannot predict baseball. So here we go...
The Diamondbacks went down in order, quickly and quietly. Drey Jameson followed. His first batter was the dangerous Mookie Betts. No problem for Jameson. He struck out Betts, swinging, on three pitches. I like this start. The next three pitches from Jameson went single, ball, single, putting runners on first and second with the heart of the Los Angeles order coming up. Ten pitches later, Jameson had two more swinging strikeouts avoiding any real damage.
Christian Walker struck out. Rivera singled. He was followed by Carson Kelly, who usually likes hitting against lefties. In his first at-bat of the evening, he did not disappoint, lacing a single to Betts in right, giving the Diamondbacks their own version of runners on first and second with one out. That brought up the “lefty killer”, Jordan Luplow who skied an infield fly rule pop-up to Gavin Lux at second. Next came Alcántara, who then grounded into
an inning-ending a fielder’s choice to Trea Turner which Turner tossed into right field trying to go the short way to second. Rivera scored while Alcántara and Kelly took second and third respectively. Perdomo then grounded out to Muncy to end the threat.
Jameson then took the mound and needed only 10 pitches to retire the Dodgers in order. I really like this sort of pitching from the Snakes.
Score: 1-0 AZ
Tyler Anderson looked to the Diamondbacks dugout and told Jameson, “Anything you can do, I can do better.” (Okay, not really, but it sure felt like it.) Anderson needed only nine pitches to sit the Diamondbacks down in order, and that included two strikeouts. In the bottom half of the inning, the Dodgers once again tried to get something going, but to no avail. After Cody Bellinger led things off with a single, he was erased on a fielder’s choice hit by Betts to Rivera at third. Turner then walked after running the count full, putting runners on first and second with one out (again), with plenty of speed on the bases. The speed was not enough to save Freddie Freeman or the the Dodgers as Freeman rolled over one, grounding into a double play and ending the inning.
Score: 1-0 AZ
Four pitches, three outs. Oy vey. Although, Carson Kelly might have a valid claim of robbery, as Betts made a terrific diving grab with full extension to take away a hit from the Diamondbacks’ catcher. The Dodgers came out having clearly made an adjustment in the fourth. They began jumping at Jameson’s early offerings, trying to steal a quick hit off of Jameson trying to steal a strike. Will Smith led things off by singling to Luplow in right. Max Muncy went up hacking, but struck out swinging. Justin Turner then turned the first pitch he saw into a single to Garrett in left. Gavin Lux then swung at the first pitch, grounded out to a Walker. He was followed by Chris Taylor who struck out on three pitches.
Score: 1-0 AZ
I’m beginning to wonder if there is some sort of event I have forgotten about. Do these players have some place else to be? Or, are they tired from playing in a day/night double header for posterity, since this game will have zero impact on the final standings? Whatever the reason, this game is flying along, mostly from batter impatience. Luplow continued to raise questions as to why he is on the roster, flying out to Taylor on the first pitch. Alcántara only required two pitches to be retired. Perdomo then managed to work a full count and then walk. Stone Garrett followed that up by swinging at a first pitch changeup at 77 mph in the dirt. He would go on to pop out to Freeman in foul territory near first. Garrett is now in a serious slump and will need to make adjustments quickly if he wants to make a proper impression heading into the offseason, giving himself a shot at a spot on next season’s 26-man roster.
We are now half way through the game and it is only an hour and twenty minutes old. The two pitchers have combined for a total of 124 pitches. This is some efficiency, despite sporadic hits.
No sooner do I say that then it takes Jameson seven pitches to retire Bellinger on a fly to Luplow. Another seven pitches and Jameson heads back to the dugout. Have I mentioned I like what I am seeing from this young man?
Score: 1-0 AZ
Ketel Marte led things off by watching two wholly uncompetitive pitches be delivered before being plunked by a third one. Jake McCarthy then grounded
out lamely to Freeman at first to Freeman at first, but Anderson could not secure the toss to first. McCarthy is safe due to the Dodgers’ second error of the night. Marte held up at safely at second. Of the five base runners on the night for Arizona to this point, two have come by hit, one via the walk, and two more via errors. It may not be pretty, but Arizona will take all the help they can get.
Oops! Another hit by pitch. This time, it is Christian Walker. Arizona has now received more runners via HBP and errors than hits and walks. This one loaded the bases for Rivera. With the bases loaded and nobody out, this was an opportunity for the Diamondbacks to really do some damage. So of course, Rivera struck out. That brought up Kelly. Once again, Kelly comes through in a key spot (sort of). This time, Kelly lifted a fly to Betts in right field. Betts has a great arm in right, but Marte had enough speed that, despite Betts setting up behind the throw, there would be no play. So Betts decided he would try to show off his terrific arm by unleashing a throw to third, because apparently he thought trying to nail McCarthy with the afterburners going would be a good idea. The pitcher is supposed to be backing up third on that play. Well, McCarthy beat the cannon throw by a good 8 feet. With McCarthy already popping up as the throw finally arrived, Justin Turner was unable to field the throw. Anderson then had to chase the ball as, while he was in the area, he was not actually backing Turner up. McCarthy took advantage of this and scampered home. Anderson, not learning from Betts’ mistake rifled the ball home from foul territory in shallow left field. Jake beat that throw by a good six feet or more as well. Will Smith was unable to corral the throw as it bounced at his shins, letting the ball get away into the vast expanse behind home plate. This allowed Walker to take third. Luplow then followed with a walk (Yay! Luplow had a productive at-bat!). Alas, Alcántara then grounded out to finally end the inning.
Yes, Carson Kelly's sac fly brought in 2 runs. pic.twitter.com/f5hrepoVxO— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) September 21, 2022
Freddie Freeman led things off in the bottom half of the inning against James, who, to this point at least, was dealing. Freeman singled to Luplow in right. Jameson then struck out Smith swinging on three pitches. Then, Max Muncy came to bat. Jameson got a called strike up on a 95 mph heater. But, he then hung a slider in the same area. Muncy knew just what to do with that pitch, sending it deep to right for a two-run homer. To his credit, Jameson did not let the home run rattle him. He responded by getting Justin Turner to ground out and then striking out Gavin Lux.
Score: 3-2 AZ
The Dodgers sent righty, Phil Bickford to the mound for the seventh, putting an end to Anderson’s night. Anderson likely deserved better than what he left the game with, though he did execute sloppy fielding. His line for the night was 6 IP, 2 H, 3 R (none earned), with two walks, two HBP and six strikeouts. Despite the tough end result, Anderson actually lowered his ERA to 2.52, good for fourth in the NL. Bickford struck out Perdomo looking. With a righty on the mound, Garrett was lifted for left-handed batting Corbin Carroll, giving the Snakes the platoon advantage and increased outfield defense. Carroll struck out swinging on five pitches (blah). Ketel Marte then did a thing. Bickford tried to get a fastball down and in on Marte and missed his spot. Marte lifted that offering into straightaway center field, dropping it right alongside the 395 marker for his twelfth home run of the season. Jake McCarthy then grounded out.
Ketel Marte hits his 12th home run of the year. pic.twitter.com/4kl4jnx5No— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) September 21, 2022
With six full innings and 94 pitches in the books, Jameson did not return to the mound for the seventh inning. Jameson ended the night allowing seven hits and one walk in six innings, striking out seven. His only real mistake being the long ball he gave up to Muncy. Torey Lovullo sent out (pause for writer double-take) Mark Melancon to keep the Dodgers at bay, defending a two-run lead with nine outs to go. (Hang on to your hats ladies and gentlemen.) Chris Taylor flew out to Luplow in right. A contentious, seven-pitch at-bat by Bellinger ended in a flyout to Carroll, now patrolling left. Betts then hacked at the first pitch he saw, flying out to McCarthy in center.
Score: 4-2 AZ
Walker, Rivera, and Kelly went three up, three down. This brought on Luis Frías in relief of Melancon. Trea Turner led off the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers. and struck out swinging despite Frías being somewhat erratic. The brought up Freeman, who grounded out to Alcántara at second. Next, Frías faced off against Will Smith. Frías continued to be erratic, with pitches going almost literally everywhere. Smith bided his time and singled to short. (In the immortal words of half the characters in Star Wars, “I have a bad feeling about this.”) Thankfully, the three batter minimum had been met by this point and Lovullo had seen enough. Frías was lifted and replaced by Joe Mantiply. Two pitches later, Muncy drilled a liner to right field at 103 mph. Luckily for Arizona, Luplow was right there to make the catch, allowing the Snakes to avoid any scoring damage.
Score: 4-2 AZ
I’m going to have to re-watch Murdoch Mysteries. This game was actually entertaining in a circus-style fashion. Left-hander Justin Bruihl is sent out to relieve Bickford. Thanks to the pitching change, Luplow gets another shot at hitting against a lefty. He responded by flying out to Bellinger. Alcántara followed with a single. Perdomo then popped out to Freeman, bringing up Corbin Carroll for a second at-bat. Alcántara dancing around at first kept Bruihl’s attention split and drew a couple of throws between pitches. The pitch pattern shows the Dodgers trying to work Carroll down and in. CRACK!!! They maybe should have stayed down and in. Instead, Bruihl left a slider up near the top of the zone and Carroll jumped on it. The result was a liner into the right field corner that Betts had to chase down. Betts once again showed off his arm on the throw home. Alcántara easily beat the throw, but it was much closer than one might have expected. When the dust cleared, Carroll was standing on third with an RBI triple, giving the Diamondbacks an insurance run and Diamondback fans tacos.
Ketel Marte was intentionally walked and then Jake McCarthy grounded out to short to end the inning.
That brought up the bottom of the ninth. Jake McCarthy shifted to right field and Daulton Varsho took over in center, sending Luplow to the bench. Reyes Moronta came on to pitch for Arizona, looking to nail down the save. Justin Turner tested to see if McCarthy was ready for the shift of position. He was. One away. Gavin Lux then tested Varsho in center on the first pitch he saw. Two away. Moronta then closed out the game with a three-pitch strikeout of Gavin Lux, reminding Arizona fans of what properly closing out a game looks like.
FINAL SCORE: 5-2 AZ
This game was a brisk one. Despite all the errors and final score, the contest still came in at only 2:49 in total. The Diamondbacks’ youth movement continued to shine with Drey Jameson, Jake McCarthy, and Corbin Carroll all making an impact. The Diamondbacks benefitted from four errors and two hit by pitches, but I don’t think anyone in the Arizona clubhouse is going to mind that the Dodgers helped boost the Snakes’ offense somewhat tonight. The Diamondbacks will play game four of this five-game set tomorrow evening at 7:10 MST.
Stars of the Game: Drey Jameson, Ketel Marte (14.8% each)
Supporting Cast: Carson Kelly (12.2%)
Scrubs: Geraldo Perdomo (-7.3%), Jordan Luplow (-7.2%)