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Diamondbacks 7, San Francisco 5: FLETCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was really all about Dominic Fletcher. Though the bullpen also held up tonight, which was nice.

So, yeah. The Diamondbacks bullpen has lost a bunch of games for us of late, and Ryne Nelson....well, he hasn’t been exactly stellar so far, and he hasn’t tended to be able to go deep into games as a starter. I was nervous. I figured this would be a relatively rare long and exhausting game to watch and then recap on a Friday night, which to this point hasn’t generally been my experience. As kilnborn noted late in the comments in the GDT, we are 6-1 on Friday nights, which we now are, but it certainly didn’t feel like a sure thing this evening that we would get there.

Things started out not exactly badly, but with bad results, for Nelson, as he surrendered a leadoff single to SF first baseman LaMonte Wade, Jr., and then, after recording two outs, allowed DH, former Doyer, and all-around baseball player that Diamondbacks fans should not love Joc Pederson to launch one over the wall in right-center to put us in an early hole. 2-0 San Francisco

John Brebbia, a righty, was starting for San Francisco, but for whatever reason we had our righty-heavy lineup in there, like you do. I guess it was because Brebbia generally starts a game, as he did tonight, serving in an “opener” role, and presumably we were hoping to forestall SF rolling out an army of left-handed pitchers to mow us down after Brebbia’s first inning of work. I dunno. Anyway. We did nothing in our half, beyond Emmanuel Rivera singling off the first-base bag with one out and then Christian Walker drawing a two-out walk. Didn’t matter. Brebbia put up a zero.

In the top of the second, Ryne Nelson sadly did not put up a zero, again. Vastly underperforming SF right fielder Michael Conforto led off the inning by hanging a twelve-pitch at-bat on Nelson, with the twelfth pitch being the one that he sent over the wall just to the right field side of center. Nelson then gave up a one-out double down the left field line, but managed to strand the guy on third. Still, less than ideal. 3-0 San Francisco

One Ross Stripling came out to pitch the bottom of the second for SF. Stripling is another Doyers castoff, who came up with them in 2016 and hung on for a few years before taking an extended vacation in Toronto and then signing with these guys during the offseason for a fair amount of money, So far, the Giants have not been getting what they paid for, and that continued tonight. Lourdes Guerril, Jr. led off the bottom of the second with a line-drive single to right. Nick Ahmed walked. Gabriel Moreno then struck out on three pitches looking in what has to be the worst AB I’ve ever seen from him, but, well, no worries. Dominic Fletcher, tonight’s center fielder for the good guys, was batting in the nine hole, and he sent a ball over the pool in right-center for his first career home run:

Whole new ballgame. 3-3 TIE

One might have hoped that having it back to a tie would settle Ryne Nelson down, and it did, kinda—he didn’t allow a run in the top of the third—but he still gave up a single and a walk that could well have been damaging if not for a Moreno’s absolute cannon of an arm and the Diamondbacks’ savvy judgment on challenging calls, as Moreno threw out JD Davis, San Francisco’s third baseman tonight, as he tried to take second on something or other (the MLB Gameday doesn’t specify, and I honestly don’t remember...that happened early, and this game was action-packed, with a lot of ups and downs throughout).

Even better, we took the lead in the bottom of the third. Stripling was still in, and with two outs, Evan Longoria, tonight’s designated hitter, launched one out to left that was well above the foul pole, and which was ruled a foul, though it was hard to judge. We asked for a review, and upon review that call stood. It didn’t matter to Longo, though, as he just waited five or six more pitches and then launched another one to left that was clearly inside the foul pole:

Boom. First lead of the game. 4-3 D-BACKS

Now pitching with a lead, Ryne Nelson then recorded his first (and only, alas) clean inning in the top of the fourth, retiring San Francisco in order. We caused more trouble for Stripling, meanwhile, in the bottom half, with a couple of singles and a walk, but didn’t actually manage to get any more runs across.

Sadly, Ryne Nelson’s night ended before he got through the top of the fifth, as he recorded a long AB strikeout and then surrendered the tying run by giving up a one-out double to Wade, a fly ball to right that allowed Wade to tag and advance to third, and then a single to shallow left that brought Wade home and earned Nelson the hook. He gave way to Anthony Misiewicz, recently recalled from Reno, who ended the bleeding and then recorded an absolutely clean sixth. 4-4 TIE

Stripling was pulled for the bottom of the fifth, and Jakob Junis took the mound for San Francisco, pitching a clean bottom of the fifth before making a bit of a mess in the bottom of the sixth. After getting Gurriel to fly out of center to begin the inning, he walked Nick Ahmed (Nick’s second walk of three on the night, as it turned out—someone’s clearly been listening to our ongoing complaints on the lack of walks we’ve been drawing), and then gave up a Gabriel Moreno single to shallow right. After that, it was Dominic Fletcher time again, and again, he did not disappoint, doubling into the left-center field gap to bring home both Ahmed and Moreno:

Happy times. 6-4 D-BACKS

Six runs turned out to be enough for us tonight, though we did tack on another one in the bottom of the seventh on a Josh Rojas dinger to left, and San Fran also tacked on another in the top of the eighth thanks to a bit of bullpen dumbassery from Scott McGough and Andrew Chafin, both of whom participated in this game and both of whom did their jobs well enough at least that we didn’t lose the game this evening.

You may also be wondering what Josh Rojas was doing in the lineup at this point in the game, and frankly, so am I. Christian Walker managed, while sitting in the dugout and not saying or shouting anything, managed to get himself ejected for apparently gesticulating, which necessitated Rojas coming in and taking over third base, while Rivera moved over to first, after a deeply bogus bit of business among the umpires in the bottom of the sixth:

Yes, there’s a clip of it. And no, I don’t really get it either. But there you are. Go figure. That was really the only drama in the last bit of the game. And we won, which is always nice. 7-5 D-BACKS FINAL

Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs

CEO: Dominic Fletcher (4 AB, 3 H, 1 R, 4 RBI, 1 HR, +43% WPA)
VP of Walks: Nick Ahmed (1 AB, 1 H, 2 R, 3 BB, +13% WPA)
That One Guy Who Should Maybe Be Back in the Reno Office for Awhile: Ryne Nelson (423 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 HR, 4 K, 1 BB, -19% WPA)

Good Gameday Thread tonight, a little bit sparse, but what can one expect with Ryne Nelson starting and San Francisco in town and the bullpen doing what it’s been doing in the past week? 183 comments at time of writing, and we have four that I can see. One of them is a GIF, which sadly disqualifies it. One of them is one of mine, which sadly disqualifies it. One of them is from Snake_Bitten, which by no means disqualifies it, but the one that is not a GIF that got the most rec’s was that of our Fearless Leader, expressing an admirable sentiment toward the young Mr. Fletcher, so Jim gets tonight’s CotG:

After the unfortunate Thursday business, we’ve evened up this four-game set now, and we have a chance to secure at least a series split and also move toward another series win tomorrow, as Zac Gallen climbs up onto the hill for us and faces off against SF righthander Anthony DeSclafani, who seems to be a pretty good pitcher himself right now. Might be a pitchers’ duel in the offing. Come and check it out....first pitch is 5:10pm AZ time. Hope you can join us!

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