So I drew another Bumgarner start tonight, which I wasn’t thrilled with. He was facing off tonight against Corbin Burnes, the top guy in Milwaukee’s rotation and last year’s NL Cy Young award winner. With that kind of matchup, it would be not only delusional but also willfully negligent to expect too many good things for our side. So I didn’t, and well, yes, we lost in the end, but honestly, but in terms of the good things for our side tonight, I wound up being pleasantly surprised for the most part. At least until the bullpen got involved.
First good thing was that our very highly paid Bum retired the Brewers in order in the top of the first on only fifteen pitches. Given how well and how efficiently Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have been pitching of late, “fifteen pitches” doesn’t fully rate an “only” in my mind, but we’re talking about the Bum here, so hell yes, I will take it and praise him for it.
Second good thing was that we scratched out a run in the bottom of the first to take the lead against the reigning CY Young guy. Josh Rojas led off for us, went up 3-0 on the first three pitches Burnes threw him (fair disclosure—despite the CY Young, Burnes has been kinda rough lately in terms of his control and also his results of late) before Burnes got back into it with a couple of strikes to get the count full. Rojas then did what he sometimes does, and dropped a bunt down, left of the mound, garnering a bunt-single infield hit on a full count in the first inning.
Gotta love the Rojas Special.
Shortly thereafter, Burnes threw away a pickoff, because Rojas making Burnes uncomfortable with his leads and his body language and whatnot, which is what he does, so he took second. Daulton Varsho, batting second tonight, got the count full himself and earned a walk. Ketel Marte and Christian Walker (earning more than $10 million between the two of them this year, tra la) followed with two unproductive outs, a foul-out to third by Marte and a fly to shallow center for Walker, before Corbin Carroll drove a single into shallow right to bring Rojas home.
Corbin Carroll comes through (again). pic.twitter.com/Z6e9tLGWu0— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) September 4, 2022
Emmanuel Rivera struck out afterward to end the frame, but not only had we drawn first blood, we’d also hung 30 pitches on Burnes in his first inning, so that was nice too. 1-0 D-BACKS
Sadly, a 1-run lead after one was not enough to make Madison Bumgarner feel secure, and he promptly gave the run back, and another on top of it, in the top of the second. He surrendered a leadoff single to Brewers’ 2B Luis Urias to start things off, before getting esteury Ruiz to strike out looking for the first out. After that, though, he walked the next batter, got his second out on a fielder’s choice grounder to third, and then allowed Milwaukee catcher Victor Caratini to double into the corner in left to clear the bases. 2-1 Milwaukee
Our kiddos, though, turned out to be equal to the task of getting us at least back to zero. Cooper Hummel, catching for us tonight like he does sometimes now, I guess, doubled to right to with one out in the bottom of the frame, and advanced to third on a Geraldo Perdomo single to shallow left. Josh Rojas walkedd, and Daulton Varsho hit a sacrifice fly to deep left that plated Hummel. Ketel Marte ended the inning, as he often does, this time by striking out looking, but at least we were all evened up again. 2-0 TIE
Things got quiet after that, for awhile, as both Burnes and Bumgarner settled down for the next few innings, after their respective fashions. Burnes retired us in order in the third and the fourth; Bumgarner, meanwhile, tap-danced his way around various base hits, walks, hit batsmen and whatnot, to put up zeros in the third and the fourth, and to surrender an unearned run in the fifth, thanks to a two-out misplay by Rojas on an infield grounder that allowed a run to score. 3-2 Milwaukee
Bum wound up needing 95 pitches to get through those five frames, and so his night was done after 5 innings, but he ended with a deceptively good pitching line of 5 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, and 3 K. That’s far better than we’ve come to expect from the Bum, and if you didn’t see the game you might well feel that he had a good start. Trust me, though....he did not pitch particularly well, and given how he did perform, the outcome for him could have easily been far, far worse. Just sayin’.
Also, if you’re keeping track at home, each of those five innings of the Bum’s work tonight cost the Diamondbacks $162,889.52, for a total of $814,447.59 for this evening’s work, based on his $23M salary and the 141.2 innings he’s managed to get through so far this year. So that’s fun.
Anyway. Daulton Varsho hit his 19th dinger of the year, a one-out solo shot into the pool area, to get us back to even, again, in the bottom of the fifth.
Daulton Varsho ties the game with one swing! pic.twitter.com/SmMCGLW5kR— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) September 4, 2022
The kiddos continue to do their best to keep us in games. 3-3 TIE
Kenyon Middleton, making his return for us from the IL, gave the lead back again on the first pitch he threw in the top of the sixth, surrendering a homer to right center to Brewers’ CF Tyrone Taylor, but settled down after that to retire the next three batters he faced. 4-3 Milwaukee
Again, our young players, this time at the bottom of the order, kept fighting. After Corbin Carroll and Emmanuel Rivera made outs to begin the bottom of the sixth, Alek Thomas singled to left. Coopel Hummel then doubled off the wall in pretty much straightaway center, plating Thomas for the tying run.
Coop comes through again! pic.twitter.com/1iT2PKLmtJ— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 4, 2022
Geraldo Perdomo then notched his second hit of the night, a single to shallow left that scored Hummel. He then stole second base off of Burnes, who was still in the game for Milwaukee, and scored when Rojas singled to center. Varsho struck out to end the rally, but we’d actually put up a crooked number, and another lead. 6-4 D-BACKS
Kevin Ginkel pitched the top of the seventh for us, and despite some mild Ginkeling (a walk, a single, many more pitches and fuller counts than any of us were comfortable with), wound up putting up a zero. Our offense did the same in the bottom of the frame, though, sadly, so the score held until the top of the eighth, when we gave the first run of our lead back.
Caleb Smith took the ball for us and induced three nice ground balls in a row. the first two went for outs; the third resulted in an infield hit by Brewers’ 3B and nine-hole hitter Jace Pederson, who beat out a slow grounder. That earned Smith the hook, and he was replaced by Reyes Moronta. Moronta threw a wild pitch that advanced Pederson to second, and then Milwaukee DH and leadoff hitter Andrew McCutchen singled to left, driving Pederson in. 6-5 D-BACKS
Despite a two-out walk by Perdomo, we did nothing in the bottom half, bringing us to the top of the ninth, clinging to a one-run lead and Ian P. Kennedy taking the mound. IPK go the first out just fine, but then let pinch-hitter Rowdy Telles hit a homer out to center field. Our offense failed to rise to the occasion in the bottom of the ninth, so we were off to extras. 6-6 TIE
Joe Mantiply was our 10th inning guy tonight, and sadly, it didn’t go well. The first batter Mantiply faced, with the Manfred Man on second, was Tyrone Taylor, who had homered to lead off the sixth against Middleton. Taylor did it again against Mantiply, sending one over the wall in left center. And that’s your final margin, as Mantiply did his job the rest of the way but we did nothing in the bottom of the 10th. 8-6 Milwaukee FINAL
Win Probability Added, courtesy of Fangraphs
Tiger Blood: Cooper Hummel (3 AB, 2 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 2B, +22.9% WPA), Geraldo Perdomo (3 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB, +22.0% WPA)
Bi-Winning: Daulton Varsho (3 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, +10.4% WPA)
Charlie Sheen: Joe Mantiply (1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, -27.2% WPA)
Lively and vigorous Gameday Thread tonight, with 294 comments total at time of writing. as near as I can tell, there are three comments that went Sedona Red. One of them is an animated GIF, which is sadly a no-go. One of the others is mine, and the last is the response to mine, which is an image but not a GIF, so we’re going to go with that one. CotG, therefore, goes to Diamondhacks. It was kind of a joke that built, though, so I’m going to give you the whole thing:
As for tomorrow, we still have a good chance to take down another series win against a winning team, as Zac Gallen climbs the hill tomorrow to face Milwaukee righthander Jason Alexander. First pitch is 1:10pm AZ time. Join us if you dare.
Thanks for reading, as always. And as always, go Diamondbacks!
ONE LAST THING
Like I said at the top, this one wasn’t so bad, and the reason why it wasn’t for me, even though we lost, was that we got to watch our young position players, the potential future core of our team a year or two from now, keep trying and scrapping and fighting and keeping it close. I love watching that. But, as we have seen so many times this year, and in recent years, our pitching lost it for us. Specifically, tonight, it was our bullpen. And let’s have a quick look at the ones in our bullpen who did us harm tonight:
Kenyan Middleton, Angels bullpen castoff from last year, claimed off the scrap heap and signed in free agency on December 1, 2021. (1 IP, 1 HR, 1 ER)
Reyes Moronta, Dodgers bullpen castoff and waiver wire claim after the 2022 trade deadline. (1⁄3 IP, 1 H, 1 inherited runner scored)
Ian P. Kennedy, 38 years old, over-the-hill free agent, signed in free agency as a backup closer for Mark Melancon on March 16, 2022. (1 IP, 1 HR, 1 ER)
These dudes, along with Caleb Smith and Joe Mantiply, lost us the game, which is what, as Diamondbacks fans, we have come to expect from our bullpen, for years now. I’m tired of it, and I’m especially tired of seeing it happen at the hands of people who are already, by and large, known quantities at the major league level. So.
If our bullpen is going to continue to lose games for us, I would vastly prefer that we let our own homegrown kiddos do it, so at least we can see them work and learn more about what their talents and capabilities might be going forward. Bring up Corbin Martin, and put him in the bullpen. Bring up Ryne Nelson (oh, wait, we are), bring up Brandon Pfaadt, bring up other AAA prospects whose names I don’t know, and let them fill out the bullpen. Do for the bullpen what we’ve done in the last month with the position players, and let the kiddos play. The results for the position players have actually been pretty damn positive, so why not give it a try with the young pitchers as well? It would certainly beat the hell out of what we’ve been doing with our bullpen now for years.