At the end of this game, I find myself wondering, “Is this how it’s felt for all the opposing teams in recent years who thought they were in a tight battle with the Diamondbacks right up until our bullpen got involved and they wound up winning a laugher?” Because that’s kinda what happened tonight. And good lord, it was so much better to be on the winning end. Wow.
I kinda feel bad for the Colorado fans, actually. Because we know how this feels.
Anyway. You may have heard that Colorado’s starting pitching has been...unreliable...so far this year. By the numbers, that has been true (5.92 ERA from their rotation to start the year), but it didn’t turn out to be the case tonight. Our starting pitching has been kinda dicey as well, at least outside of Zac Gallen over his last 28 innings or so. Merrill Kelly, our starter tonight, hasn’t had the efficiency or control we have come to expect from him—going into this evening, he’d walked 13 batters in 22.2 innings, and hadn’t made it deeper than 6 IP in a start, and was sporting a 1-3 record so far. Kyle Freeland, starting for the Rockies, had been better than his team as a whole, with a 4.23 ERA going into tonight with a 2-2 record.
Neither starter sucked tonight. Both pitchers dealt with minimal traffic in the early going, and both suffered minimal damage as a result. Emmanuel Rivera, tonight’s designated hitter for us, singled to left with one out in the top of the first against Freeland, Gaby Moreno led off the top of the third with a single of his own before getting doubled off on an Alek Thomas liner to third, and Ketel Marte then launched one into the left field bleachers to get us on the board first:
Diamondbacks strike first! pic.twitter.com/0pNJ6wSoEL— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) April 29, 2023
Kelly frankly looked worse, giving up six hits (all singles) and allowing a walk in his first three innings of work, but only one run wound up scoring as he gave back the lead in the bottom of the third. 1-1 TIE
Both pitchers settled down some after that, though—Freeland sat us down in order in the top of the fourth, fifth, and sixth, while Kelly did the same to the Rockies in the bottom half of those innings. After six innings, Kelly was at 94 pitches, so that was the end of his night, but Freeland was only at 86, so Colorado skipper Bud Black sent him out to start the seventh. That turned out to be a mistake, as Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. drew a walk to lead things off, and then scored on a nice bit of baserunning when Christian Walker sent a double to the wall in left for a go-ahead double:
That ended Freeland’s night, and some wacky sidearmer came out of the Rockies’ bullpen—Lawrence somebody, or somebody Lawrence. Geraldo Perdomo pinch-hit for Evan Longoria and promptly bunted Walker to third, after which Corbin Carroll walked and Josh Rojas pinch-hit for Nick Ahmed. Rojas grounded to Ryan McMahon at third, who fell down making a great stop but made a clean throw to try to force Carroll at second. Rockies’ second baseman Alan Trejo couldn’t handle the throw though, and Carroll advanced to third as the ball rolled away. Gaby Moreno got him home with a sacrifice fly to right. As it turned out, that first run would have been enough, and the three were plenty. But nah. Give it time. 4-1 D-BACKS
Scott McGough pitched a scoreless seventh for us, and Miguel Castro pitched a scoreless eighth. That was nice, seeing the bullpen put up zeroes. Yay bullpen.
Dinelson Lamet took the mound for the Rockies in the top of the ninth, after Daniel Bard pitched a scoreless eighth, and well, he was terrible. Perdomo, now playing shortstop, led off the inning with a single up the middle. Carroll singled right after to put runners on first and second. Josh Rojas, now playing third in place of Longoria, then doubled to the wall in left-center in one of the weirder hits I’ve seen, as it looked in real time like a ground rule double but instead bounced off the top of the wall and back into play. It also led to a deeply goofy footrace between Perdomo and Carroll on the basepaths. Both of them scored, and it was pretty hilarious all around:
"Wanna race to home plate?" pic.twitter.com/tYDouApJuf— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 29, 2023
Moreno then hit a grounder to short that should have been the first out of the inning, but some clown show fielding by Colorado got in the way, putting runners at first and second. Alek Thomas drew a walk, loading the bases. Note that no outs had yet been recorded at this point. Ketel Marte hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Rojas. Lumet was finally pulled for someone else out of the Rockies’ ‘pen, struck out Pavin Smith (who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter back in the eighth) for the second out, and then surrendered a Gurriel single to right that scored both Moreno and Thomas. Geraldo Perdomo came up to bat for the second time in the inning—yes, we had batted around at this point, per the headline—and perhaps because he wanted everyone to be able to go home (or to the hotel) at a reasonable hour, he lined out to the new pitcher in a generous act of decency. 9-1 D-BACKS
Joe Mantiply threw ten pitches to retire the Rockies in order to close things out. Done and done.
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Harry Belafonte: Merrill Kelly (6 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 94 pitches, 69 strikes, +29.1% WPA)
The Honorable Jerry Springer, Mayor or Cincinnati, OH, 1977-78: Josh Rojas (2 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 3 RBI, +12.7 WPA)
Gameday Thread was a bit more sparsely populated for a Friday than has been our wont in 2023, with 167 comments at time of writing. It also took us about 7 innings to break the 100 comment mark, so extra props to all those who were participating earlier, when the outcome was still looking dicey. One comment finally turned Sedona Red (thank you, Snakepitters!), and so CotG goes to MrRbi17 for this late-breaking and glorious “Blues Brothers” reference (full disclosure, I might have had something to do with encouraging the redness, but I’m perfectly okay with that, because any encouraging I might have done was absolutely justified).
Tune in tomorrow as we try to secure a quick series win behind lefty Tommy Henry, who faces off against Colorado righty and small-sample-size phenom Noah Davis (2 G, 9.2 IP, 0.93 ERA, yikes?) First pitch is 5:10pm AZ time. Hope you can join us!
As always, thanks for reading. And as always, go Diamondbacks! In the meantime, everyone, as Jerry always said (or so TheRealRamona has led me to understand), “Take care of yourselves, and each other.”