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Diamondbacks 6, Los Angeles 3: D-Backs Garner a Quality Win

Subtracting the Bum was all it took....

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

What a fun game of baseball to watch on a Friday night. For the second week in a row, the Diamondbacks worked around a questionable performance by a starting pitcher, and fought their way back for a victory thanks to a persistent offense and another clutch long-relief outing by Drew Jameson.

As of yesterday afternoon, the MLB Gameday still was listing tonight’s starter for the Diamondbacks as TBD, but given that Madison Bumgarner was cleared medically after his complaints about “arm fatigue” in Los Angeles last weekend, I figured I was drawing my first Rodeo Clown appearance of this young season. And while he didn’t give up a grand slam in the first inning like he did last Saturday, he still wasn’t any fun to watch.

It took him a cool 30 pitches to get through the top of the first—he surrendered a leadoff double to Mookie Betts, who hit a line drive just past Alek Thomas to nearly straightaway center. A passed ball allowed Betts to advance to third, and after a Freddy Freeman lineout to Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. in left, JD Martinez lofted a high sacrifice fly to shallow right that drove Betts in. Bumgarner then issued back-to-back two-out walks to Max Muncy and Miguel Vargas before finally managing to end things by getting Trayce Thompson looking at a called third strike. 1-0 Los Angeles

Our offense, however, showed up to play today, against a not entirely sharp Clayton Kershaw in a repeat of last Saturday’s pitching matchup. Ketel Marte, batting in the leadoff position because we don’t care about speed at the top of our lineup right now (Torey said so the other week....I promise I’m not just making that up), doubled to left-center to get things started, and advanced to third on a Kyle Lewis infield hit. Gurriel, batting third with his sporty .161 batting average (because, um, reasons?) grounded out to first, but Marte was able to score and Lewis took second. Nothing more of note occurred, though, aside from an Evan Longoria two-out walk. But we’d pulled the Bum out of his early hole. 1-1 TIE

Of course, Bumgarner perhaps enjoys being in a hole, as he immediately climbed into a new one, as Los Angeles right fielder James Outman hit the first pitch he saw to lead off the top of the second over the wall in right center. Bumgarner also walked Mookie Betts and racked up another 19 pitches, but no further damage was done. 2-1 Los Angeles

We went quietly in the bottom of the second, aside for Alek Thomas reaching on a jersey-grazing hit-by-pitch with two outs. Bumgarner answered by putting up his only zero in the top of the third, despite walking Max Muncy on four pitches to start the inning off. That was his fourth walk in three innings, in case you’re keeping count. He was up to 66 pitches by the end of three, with 33 strikes thrown and 33 balls. Yeah.

The offense managed to pull Bum out of a hole again in the top of the fourth, though, as Gurriel walked with one out, and then was driven in by back-to-back singles courtesy of Evan Longoria and Corbin Carroll. So it was a whole new ballgame. Again. 2-2 TIE

And once more, it didn’t stay that way for long, as Chris Taylor, LA’s shortstop and eight-hole batter, led off the top of the fourth with a solo homer over the fence in left. Bum settled down then, safely back in his hole, and retired the next three batters. Only fourteen pitches this inning, too, woo hoo, which put Bumgarner at 80 for the night, still evenly split between balls and strikes. 3-2 Los Angeles

And there things stayed for awhile. Gabriel Moreno singled to center to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but was erased as Alek Thomas grounded into a double play. Bumgarner came out to pitch the top of the fifth, gave up a leadoff single to JD Martinez, recorded a couple of outs, then walked two more batters to load the bases. That, finally, earned him the hook, ending his evening with 103 pitches thrown (52 strikes), 3 earned runs, 5 hits, 2 home runs, 6 walks and 5 strikeouts in 423 innings. In a word, yuck. There’s a happy ending to the frame, though, as Drey Jameson came out of the bullpen and retired Taylor on a grounder to short to put it to rest. Our offense, sadly, seemed to be taking a mid-game nap, though, and sat down in order in the bottom of the fifth.

Jameson was stellar in the top of the sixth, retiring Austin Barnes, Mookie Betts,and Freddy Freeman on 7 pitches total. After all the painfully long and arduous at bats that the Doyers had hung on Bum, I found this truly refreshing. The offense seemed refreshed as well, greeting Clayton Kershaw abruptly and rudely when he came back out for the bottom of the sixth. First it was the Veteran Presence:

Once he’d finished rounding the bases, it was the youth movement’s turn:

As Bob Brenly aptly put it in the broadcast, age before beauty. 4-3 D-BACKS

That would have been enough, as it turned out, but the Veteran Presence and the bottom of the lineup gifted us all two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth against some person or other out of the LA bullpen. Longoria doubled into the left field corner with one out, Carroll advanced him to third with a groundout to the right side of the infield, and Nick Ahmed drove him in with a single to third. Ahmed then stole second with Moreno at the plate, getting himself into scoring position before Moreno did our last bit of damage of the night with a double down the right-field line:


Meanwhile, it was smooth sailing for our defense and our bullpen, as they continued to put up zeros. Jameson pitched a scoreless seventh, giving up only a two-out walk to Miguel Vargas, but Moreno erased him with a pickoff throw for the final out of the inning. Miguel Castro pitched a clean eighth and recorded the first out in the ninth, and Andrew Chafin assumed what increasingly seems like it will be his usual position and took the final two batters to send this one into the books.

Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs

Veteran Presence: Evan Longoria (3 AB, 3 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HR, +25% WPA)
Youthful Exuberance: Corbin Carroll (4 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR, +22% WPA), Drey Jameson (213 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K, +22.7%% WPA)
Future Musk Oxen Fodder: Madison Bumgarner (pitching line above, -16.1% WPA)

It was a respectably lively and well-attended Gameday Thread tonight, with 216 comments at time of writing. We even had a handful of comments turn Sedona Red, but I’m happy to award tonight’s CotG to our very own Makakilo, for this apt deployment of optimism and prophecy:

Join us tomorrow for the third game of this four-game series, as we try to nail down at least a second consecutive series split vs. FTD. Zach Davies takes the mound for us, facing off against Noah Syndergaard in yet another carbon copy of the opening weekend matchups. Davies prevailed last time, so let’s see if he can do it again. First pitch is 5:10 AZ time. Hope you can join us!

And of course, as always, thank you for reading. And as always, go Diamondbacks!