The story coming into the game, of course, was Zac Gallen’s scoreless inning streak. It was sitting at 28 straight, and he just set the team record for shutouts in March/April at four. Tonight was going to be a challenge for him, however, going up against the first place Texas Rangers and their potent offense.
Before he could even finish his warm ups in the bullpen, the offense was already making their mark on the game. Jon Grey, who long time friends of the program might remember from the glorious, yet ultimately harmful, 2017 wild card game, was on the mound for the Rangers. While the Diamondbacks didn’t great him quite as warmly as Paul Goldschmidt did back then, they wasted no time in getting on the board. Josh Rojas didn’t help things by striking out on three straight pitches, but that just allowed Ketel Marte to get his swings in faster. His got a curveball that didn’t curve and launched it for a solo home run
Casual 405-foot blast from Ketel Marte pic.twitter.com/bB4INfvnbc— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) May 3, 2023
Pavin Smith let the momentum back down a little bit, but Walker picked things back up with a two-out single. Grey walked Lordes Gurriel Jr. to put runners on first and second, and the first RBI of Dominic Fletcher’s career pushed the score to 2-0 Diamondbacks.
While the streak was the main topic of conversation coming into this game, the discussion quickly came to an end in the bottom of the inning. First up was Marcus Semien, who hit a ball to right field that had an xBA of just .100. Probability will only get you so far, though, and Fletcher wasn’t able to flag it down before it went for a double. Travis Jankowski grounded out to move Semien to third, and Nathaniel Lowe singled to bring home a run. Gallen didn’t let it get to him, getting a fly out and a ground out for the final two outs of the inning. 2-1 Diamondbacks
On offense, the Diamondbacks responded by keeping the pressure on Grey. The second inning saw them push across a smallball run. Perdomo singled, Rojas singled him to third, and Marte picked up his second RBI of the night on a sac fly. They picked up another in the third, when Walker got in on the fun and hit a lead off home run of his own.
After the slight bump in the road to start the game, Gallen went back to his normally scheduled programing, not allowing any runs. A one out double was stranded at third thanks to Gallen’s first strike out of the night to end the second. Then he started rolling. Eight went to the plate, eight went back to the dugout, four of them via the strike out. At the end of the fourth, things were going well, and it was 4-1 Diamondbacks
Fifth inning did not continue that script, unfortunately. By far the hardest inning Gallen has had for a while, and the Rangers took full advantage. Duran and Robbie Grossman ended up on the corners with no outs after back-to-back singles. Gallen got Bubba Thompson to strike out. Now with one out, Semien singled, then Jankowski did as well, bringing home two runs and still with runners on first and second. It was starting to look like the Rangers might be about to put together a really big inning. Just when he needed it most, though, Gallen dialed up a double play, putting the threat to bed and finishing his night with the lead intact. 4-3 Diamondbacks
The hits kept coming from there. Scott McGough replaced Gallen in the bottom of the sixth. He got two outs before the Rangers offense got to him. Jonah Heim singled. McGough gave Duran an (almost) middle cut fastball, which he hit for the third home run of the game. Just like that, the Rangers had taken the lead. 4-5 Rangers
Kyle Nelson took over the seventh and was ineffectively wild. Thompson and Semien walked and singled, respectively, to start the inning. Nelson got an out then, but it was a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up to second and third. While Aldolis Garcia was batting, Nelson completely lost control of a slider, sending it to the backstop and allowing Thompson to score. Nelson would go on to walk Garcia, but would limit the damage when Josh Jung lined out to Thomas for the third out. 4-6 Rangers
If it seems like I’ve neglected to talk about the offense, it’s because they neglected to show up. After the Walker home run, Marte singled in the fifth, and Fletcher singled in the top of the sixth. Sprinkle in a couple walks and you’ve got the gist of innings four through eight. They weren’t completely kept off the basepaths, but they weren’t able to put anything of consequence together.
In the ninth, they threatened against the Rangers’ closer, Will Smith. Geraldo Perdomo lead off and got a single. Coming to the plate as the tying run, Evan Longoria juuuuuuuuuuuust missed hitting one out. Instead, it was a fly out to left field. Marte walked. Emmanuel Rivera was then the potential go ahead run. He flew out, but Perdomo was able to tag to third. That left it up to Walker, now with two outs. Despite the radio booth being sure that Bochy would go to the bullpen, Will Smith stayed in the game to face him. It paid off, Walker flew out, and the Diamondbacks went home empty handed.
Ketel Marte and Dominic Fletcher had big nights respectively at 18.2% and 16.5% WPA each. On the other side, and no surprise whatsoever, was Scott McGough at a whopping -31.4%
COTN goes to Hacks. Maybe Gallen’s start didn’t go the way we all had hoped, but the sentiment still rings true
The Diamondbacks wrap up this two game series in Arlington tomorrow. As you possibly heard, it will be the long-awaited debut of Brandon Pfaadt. Bright and early at 11am Arizona time. We hope to see you there.