I have to say, I’ve written a lot of recaps for the Diamondbacks over the last five or six or however many years. Mainly they’ve been off-peak, mid-week games—Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturday games last year and now Friday nights this year—and, for most of those years, the Diamondbacks frankly have not been a good baseball team. So I feel like I’ve gotten very good, or at least very practiced, at writing more words than perhaps were necessary about many games that were really kind of terrible to watch from first pitch to last, which I always do, and finding something hopefully insightful to say beyond “welp, we sucked, again,” which I’ve done my best not to settle for. So this is kind of a weird one for me, because it feels like I haven’t caught a recap like this in a very, very long time.
This game was an absolute pleasure, from start to finish. Top-notch pitching, enough offense in the early going, and then an absolutely hilarious bottom of the eighth in which we batted around against a much-ballyhooed San Diego bullpen. I mean, wow. And yay. Like I say, this one was an absolute pleasure. Tonight we watched a good, young baseball team, competing against a quality opponent and beating them handily, outplaying them in every facet of the game.
Zac Gallen took the mound for us, facing off against Seth Lugo, the many-year reliever for the NY Mets who got a big fat check to join the Padres as a starter this year, and has broadly been doing a nice job since he’s joined the Friars’ rotation. Gallen had what seemed like a pretty shaky spring training, and that continued in his first two starts of the regular season, in which he got shelled by the Doyers on Opening Day at Chavez Ravine and then again five days later in San Diego against these selfsame Padres. He righted himself in his last two starts, against Milwaukee and Miami respectively, but I wasn’t sure whether the right and proper and ace-like Zac Gallen would persist, or whether he would regress. Happily, he didn’t regress.
We didn’t do anything against Lugo to begin the game, sitting down in order over the first two innings. Didn’t matter, though, as Gallen retired the top of the San Diego lineup in order in the first, and then sat ‘em down again after surrendering a leadoff double to Xander Boegarts to lead off the second. After that, Gallen settled in nicely, recording three 1-2-3 innings before giving up a two-out single to Tatis in the top of the sixth. This was the second hit, and the second baserunner, that Gallen would allow, and like the first, nothing came of it.
Meanwhile, we began to get to Lugo starting in the bottom of the third. Gabriel Moreno, one of tonight’s heroes on offense, led off with a single to right. One out later, Geraldo Perdomo, another of tonight’s heroes on offense, doubled off the wall in right-center, advancing Moreno to third. Lugo wriggled off the hook, but he was beginning to seem vulnerable. That vulnerability continued to reveal itself in the bottom of the fourth, as Christian Walker hit a one-out single to center. Pavin Smith, tonight’s designated hitter for the Serpientes, drew a two-out walk, and then Moreno squibbed an infield single up the middle, beating the throw at first and driving Walker in for the first and only needed run of the ballgame:
We tacked on a second run in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to a one-out single to shallow left from Josh Rojas, followed by a Ketel Marte line-drive double to into the right field gap:
Ketel Marte tacks on one more! pic.twitter.com/UzbWhovTvb— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 22, 2023
We sat down in order in the bottom of the sixth, Gallen came out and recorded another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh, wrapping up his night with 7 IP, 2 H, 11 K, 0 BB, on 96 pitches thrown, 67 for strikes. It was a brilliant outing, no question.
San Diego pulled Lugo after six innings, so we were into the Padres bullpen. Some lefty named Kerr retired us in order in the bottom of the seventh, Miguel Castro relieved Gallen and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and then, possibly because a number of us in the Gameday Thread were asking the baseball god for insurance runs, well, we got some insurance runs. Seven of them, to be precise. One hapless SD bullpen arm named Luis Garcia started the inning, and Marte and Corbin Carroll greeted him with back-to-back singles to lead things off. Christian Walker then skied one to center that allowed Marte to tag and advance to third. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. singled to left, scoring Marte, and was replaced by Jake McCarthy as a pinch-runner. Pavin Smith walked. Moreno singled on a line drive to center, scoring both Carroll and McCarthy, with Smith advancing to second:
The Moreno magic continues pic.twitter.com/RcxRPn70GY— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 22, 2023
After Alek Thomas walked to load the bases against another member of the San Diego bullpen whose name begins with K, Perdomo doubled down into the right field corner, scoring Smith and Moreno and advancing Thomas to third:
Josh Rojas then grounded out to short for only the second out of the inning, scoring Thomas and moving Perdomo to third. Marte came to the plate for the second time in the inning, and promptly singled to right, driving in Perdomo.
Six pitches later, Corbin Carroll was called out on strikes to end this ridiculous and hilarious inning, with the final two strikes being called and being pretty much not in the zone. It was an inning-ending mercy K, I think. 9-0 D-BACKS
And then Joe Mantiply came out and pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, to put this one in the books for the good guys. Yay, and huzzah.
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
256 Tablespoons: Zac Gallen (pitching line above, +42.1% WPA)
768 Teaspoons: Gabriel Moreno (4 AB, 3 H, 1 R, 3 RBI, + 16.4% WPA)
Tonight’s Gameday Thread was, perhaps unsurprisingly, very active, well-populated, and exuberant, with 351 comments at time of writing. Many comments went Sedona Red—hmm, maybe people are more forthcoming with rec’s when the team doesn’t suck? Go figure. Anyway, there’s a four-way tie for the non-GIF CotG, so I’m just going to give you all of ‘em, as taken together they make a nice composite of the game and its various joys:
The four-game series with the Daddies of St. James continues tomorrow, with Merrill Kelly taking the mound against Joe Musgrove in his return from the IL. First pitch is 5:10pm AZ time. Hope you can join us as we see if Kelly and Company can get us at least a series split.
As always, thanks so much for reading. As always, go Diamondbacks!