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Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 0: A change(‐up) is gonna come

It was only Colorado, but Tommy Henry looked really good tonight.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Record: 33-23. Pace: 96-76. Change on 2022: +7.

There were some who thought the Colorado Rockies might present a bit of a challenge to the D-backs. Historically, I can see why. While Arizona’s struggles against the likes of Los Angeles have been well-documented, they have not won the season series against Colorado in any of the last five seasons. But there’s a reason the Rockies have the worst road record in the National League. They’ve played roughly 112 innings of competitive baseball in the series so far, and been outscored 18-6 as the D-backs find themselves securing a win in the four-game series, and with a chance tomorrow of the sweep. More importantly, they now sit just a half-game back of the Dodgers in the NL West.

Tonight was a breakout game for Tommy Henry. After his first five games, his spot in the rotation seemed to be in jeopardy. He had an ERA of five, bit perhaps more of concern, Henry had almost as many walks (12) as strikeouts (13). That led to a 5.69 FIP, and perhaps only the fact that Tommy is the only left-handed starter after the departure of Madison Bumgarner, worked in his favor. But over his last three outings (including the impromptu relief one), Henry has allowed two earned runs over 14 innings. The difference? If tonight is any guide, Tommy's change-up, which has suddenly blossomed into an excellent offering, and one in which he can be confident.

Now, the Rockies came in with an OPS+ if 89, tied for last in the NL. But it's still something to build on, and the team has a vacancy for an effective #3 pitcher, with Zach Davies apparently uninterested in the position. Henry tossed seven shutout innings and had a season-high seven strikeouts (above) this evening, with two walks and two hits. That should help get the FIP trending in the right direction. Also of note: a lot more groundball outs than we've seen from Tommy. He came in getting about four flyball outs for every three on the ground. The ratio this evening was three to nine, and I think that was a factor in his effectiveness. Also helping: only three balls in play off him were harder than 91 mph.

But it wasn't all about the pitching, as the offense delivered free tacos* for the third game in the series. Arizona hitters could be forgiven for drooling somewhat, when they heard they'd be facing Dinelson Lamet, making his first start, and with an ERA out of the bullpen of 12.66. They were right to do so, for Lamet leaves Arizona with an even higher ERA, of 13.17. You would be correct in concluding this is a good sign. Arizona began the night with three straight hits, including an RBI single for Corbin Carroll. A slightly wild pitch moved an alert Carroll into scoring position, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made it 3-0 with a well-placed single (below).

Tacos were delivered in the second inning, on a hustle RBI double by Pavin Smith, who then scored himself on a Carroll single. It was an excellent night for Smith out of the leadoff spot. He reached base all five times he was up, on two hits and all three walks Arizona drew. At 27:20, Pavin now has the best K:BB ratio on the team, with his twenty BB on the season trailing just Carroll (23). His on-base percentage is now up to .341, which is better than Ketel Marte, Gabriel Moreno or Christian Walker. Carroll and Jake McCarthy each had two hits, and the recent surge in speed continued, with stolen bases for Marte and McCarthy. Over their last 11 games, the D-backs have 19 SB in 20 attempts.

But it wasn’t all good news on the hitting front. Josh Rojas’s struggles continue, as he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts (and a slow throw across to first gave the Rockies their first hit). He looks increasingly lost at the plate. His OPS for the season is down to .616, and in the second half of May he has gone 4-for-32 with a dozen strikeouts. You wonder if a spell in Reno - he does have minor-league options - might be for the best for Jake. It seems to have worked for McCarthy, who is 7-for-18 since being recalled from Triple-A. The problem would be, that leaves Emmanuel Rivera and Evan Longoria to play third, and they are both right-handers. We all know how Torey Lovullo loves him some platoon match-ups.

After the second inning, the offense went quiet, as has been not uncommon, though despite the concerns of some SnakePitters, the Rockies never looked like they were going to mount a comeback. After the second inning, the only additional tally came courtesy of Christian Walker’s 100th career home-run (above). That led off the fifth inning, and was his 12th of the season. After Henry’s night ended, Austin Adams and Jose Ruiz took things the rest of the way, each putting up a zero, and completed the three-hit shutout, Arizona’s fifth of the season. A shame there weren’t more at Chase Field to see it, with a crowd of just 11,644 in attendance.

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Hello Kitty: Tommy Henry, +19.0%
Puss in Boots: Corbin Carroll, +11.9%
Sylvester: Geraldo Perdomo, -3.4%

A slew of Sedona Red comments this evening to choose from. I discovered a sure-fire way to get one is to post an adorable kitten picture. It’s basically rec farming. But in a tough decision, with multiple credible contenders, I’m going with Dano_in_Tucson, for his explanation of the (un)dead horse GIF:

Arizona finish May with a record on the month of 17-10, two games better than the 16-13 they posted in March/April, and having outscored the opposition by 18 runs (137-119). As mentioned, they’re just a half-game back of the Dodgers, and now are five games clear of the Giants. The D-backs are 7-3 over their last ten, which is tied for the best mark in the majors. Here’s to them dropping the hammer again tomorrow afternoon, in the series finale. Zach Davies will get the start for the D-backs, with a 12:40 pm first pitch.