Record: 41-25. Pace: 101-61. Change on 2022: +10.
I'm fairly sure I've not had a three-digit pace after a significant number of games since I've started doing that. But, boy: that 41st win might have been the hardest-fought victory of the season. Arizona fell behind 5-1, saw Torey Lovullo and Josh Rojas get ejected, scored eight unanswered runs, then survived an overturned home-run call with two outs in the ninth which would have given the Phillies the lead. Amazing to think that at one point, I was wondering how to write something of recap length!
After a 1-2-3 first inning from Tommy Henry, Arizona were able to get on the board first. Ketel Marte led off with a single, then advanced one out later as Corbin Carroll was hit by a pitch and Christian Walker walked. Even Longoria brought Marte home with a sacrifice fly, and it was 1-0 Arizona. I then had husbandly duties to perform, it being garbage day tomorrow, but it appears J.T. Realmuto homered off Henry to level the score in the second. I missed it because I was flattening an excessive number of cardboard boxes (Mrs. SnakePit has been acquiring things for Razzie. Our living-room now resembles a theme-park for felines).
In the home half of the second, Jake McCarthy was stranded on third, taking advantage of some lackadaisical defense by the Phillies, who seemed to expect him to stop on second. Any positive vibes were extinguished as the Phillies battered Henry around for a four-run third. All the damage came with two outs, Realmuto's two-run triple being the big blow. An RBI double and RBI single followed, and in the space of eight pitches, it had gone from a tied game to Philadelphia in a 5-1 lead. I began to speculate whether assembling Razzie's newly arrived cat wheel might be a more productive use of my time, since this recap didn't seem promising. I had, however, forgotten that these are not the 2021 Diamondbacks.
For things got rather more interesting in the bottom of the third. Carroll was hit on the arm by Matt Strohm for the second time. It was his team-leading sixth of the season, and Torey Lovullo took exception. His conversation was initially with home-plate ump Vic Carapazza. But the conversation continued with Phillies' catcher Realmuto, before Lovullo was ejected, his third of the season. I imagine his words for the catcher were something along the lines of "You've homered and tripled, so if anyone is going to get drilled, it'll be you." I'll have to wait for the JomBoy breakdown though. The benches cleared, and it took some time for order to be restored. Strahm continued to chirp from the mound, but Josh Rojas did something Carapazza didn't like, and one out later, he was also tossed.
The two runners had advanced on Longoria's deep fly-ball for the second out. Pavin Smith then came through with a big two-out knock, singling to right and driving in two, making the score 5-3. Henry worked round a two-out single (which might have been an out on a nice play by Marte, if Tommy had covered first) to put up a zero, and the Diamondbacks got some two-out magic of their own. Three consecutive hits plated a pair, tying the game. Marte doubled off the wall, then scored on a single by Rivera. He then came home as Carroll got revenge in a very satisfactory way with an RBI triple. That made it 5-5 and we had ourselves a brand-new ballgame, as the Answerbacks did what the Answerbacks do.
Neither side could score in the fifth, though that did mark the end of Tommy Henry's night. He was lifted after 4.2 innings, Drey Jameson taking over and throwing one pitch to end the fifth. Henry was charged with five runs on nine hits and a walk with six strikeouts. That's quite a high BABIP, but there were also quite a lot of hard-hit balls off Tommy. But the no-decision was in the book, and Arizona then jumped on the Philadelphia bullpen for four runs in the sixth. Jake McCarthy legged out an infield hit, took third on a lovely hit-and-run with Ketel Marte, and scored on an Emmanuel Rivera sac. fly. Carroll got another infield hit, then Longoria did what he was brought in to do, swatting a left-handed pitcher for a three-run homer, his ninth of the year (below). That made it 9-5 to the D-backs.
Jameson got through the sixth with no trouble, but ran out of gas in the seventh. The Phillies scored and put two on before he was replaced by Austin Adams. It all got messy thereafter, with Philadelphia adding another run and loading the bases before the final out, the score now 9-7 to Arizona, as we stood, stretched and played with the kitteh. The D-backs had a chance for insurance in the eighth, putting two on with one put, but a Marte double-play ended things. Adams then hit the first batter he faced in the eighth. Warnings had been issued to both dugout, but it was deemed unintentional. Which makes sense: you do not hit the #9 hitter as the leadoff hitter and bring the tying run to the plate.
Sheriff Fatman - I'm unilaterally declaring this Andrew Chafin's SnakePit name - took over, and negotiated traffic successfully. Bryce Harper had looked REALLY bad against Henry, striking out twice, and the trend continued as he waved over the top of strike three, with the tying run on base. Arizona did nothing in their half, and Miguel Castro came in for the ninth. It did not start well. Realmuto doubled off the wall to complete the first Phillies cycle since David Bell in 2004. Castro was then the beneficiary of a lovely play by Gerardo Perdomo for the first out, and a pop-up led to the second. But it's never EASY. An RBI single made it 9-8, and the runner stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position.
There was one final bit of drama, which feels possibly unique in my time watching the Diamondbacks. A Castro sinker was cranked down the first-base line and 1B umpire Jerry Layne initially signaled a two-run homer. That would have given the Phillies a 10-9 lead. But turns out, it was actually foul by three feet or so. Fortunately, the initial decision was reversed, being just a long, loud strike. Castro got a swinging strike three and a potential Game of the Year candidate was in the books.
After the game, Torey stressed he did not think the hitting of Carroll was deliberate, and has the highest respect for J.T. Realmuto. But he felt there is a certain zone for pitches that he needs to protect his players, and that's what he was doing. He said Carapazza said as soon as he went out that if he stayed, he was going to get tossed, but refused to say what the exchange with Realmuto was about. I'm inclined to think it should all be over, but there are still three games to go in this series, and both bullpens are going to be quite taxed. And if you took the over on Lovullo ejections in Pit Your Wits, you are already a winner, with 97 games left!
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Bengal kitteh: Corbin Carroll, +26.9%
Bengal cats: Chafin, +14.3%; Smith, +11.8%; Longoria, +11.3%; Marte, +11.1%
Not a Bengal: Tommy Henry, -26.6%
Yeah, that was quite the game. Both teams came in with momentum, but it’s the D-backs who prevail, with their sixth win in a row. The Tigers walked off the Braves, and that means that Arizona now have the best record in the National League. They extend their lead in the division to four games, which as discussed in the GDT, is the highest it has been since May 3, 2018. This one will definitely stick in the memory. A whole bunch of potential comments of the game, but jeffern51 is a deserving winner, capturing the spirit of this one perfectly.
Same two teams tomorrow. Zach Davies starts for the D-backs, first pitch at 6:40 pm. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off for a lie-down in a dark room, probably beneath a purring Bengal kitten.