Record: 44-29. Pace: 98-64. Change on 2022: +12.
Last Monday, you may recall I had the privilege of recapping one of the most dramatic games of the season so far, the 9-8 squeaker over the Phillies. I'm not sure my blood pressure has yet returned to the normal range, so I'm quite glad tonight's contest was an easy, low-stress Diamondbacks victory. Put it this way: Arizona had a win probability of over ninety percent (90.7%, to be precise) in the middle of the first inning. Considering who they were facing, this was definitely a case of #YCPB.
For Corbin Burnes came into this game with a sparkling 1.90 ERA over four starts against the Diamondbacks, That included eight scoreless innings in an outing earlier this season at Chase Field. All told, he had allowed five runs over 23.2 innings versus Arizona, with a K:BB ratio of 31:3. But tonight was just a little different to put it mildly. 28 pitches into this outing, he had given up six runs while retiring only two batters. A mere seven pitches in, the bases were loaded, and that included a walk to Corbin Carroll. Geraldo Perdomo and Ketel Marte both got hits on the first pitch they saw, setting the table for Christian Walker. I'll admit to wondering, "Now, how will we squander this opportunity?"
To be honest, CW got a little lucky, getting a pitch just on the end of the bat for a bloop RBI single, and a swarm of bees in the fingers. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made it 3-0 with a two-run single, and new regular third baseman Emmanuel Rivera legged his way out of a double-play to plate Walker. Alek Thomas, recalled from Reno just today, appears to have brought the PCL environment with him. For after having two home-runs in his first 123 PA, he wasted no time in adding #3, to make the score 6-0. The D-backs had scored no more than three in the first inning over their first 72 games. Doubling that tally here, against the man who led the NL in strikeouts last year, and won the Cy Young award in 2021, was a rather pleasant surprise. All six runs are above.
It was probably a very good thing the Diamondbacks were able to put such an ultra-crooked number on the board against Burnes. Because he then settled down considerably, retiring eight batters in a row until Thomas got his second hit with one out in the fourth, his bat dying the death of a thousand matchsticks. Jake McCarthy followed with another single, and Perdomo walked, to load up the bases again. Marte rolled one to second for an RBI ground-out, improving Arizona’s stat of getting the runner in from third with less than two outs. Carroll was unable to add on, but the score was now 7-1, the Answerbacks having done what the Answerbacks do.
Yeah, the Brewers had got on the board in the bottom of the previous inning. Merrill Kelly had been a bit up and down. He had gone to a full count on more batters than normal, and although he had been quite successful at winning the battle, his streak ended in a lead-off walk in the third. With two outs, Christian Yelich lined one into the right-field corner, and the lead-off walk came around to score. But Kelly stranded the runner on third and had an easy 1-2-3 fourth to keep the D-backs comfortably ahead after four. Walker doubled to lead things off in the fifth but made a poor decision to advance on a ball hit in front of him to the shortstop. He made the first out at third, and the D-backs came up empty. So did the Brewers, Marte making a nice spin throw to start a double-play, after Kelly allowed his second hit, a one-out single.
Arizona continued to add to their tally, tacking an eighth run on in the sixth. McCarthy notched his second hit and advanced to second as Perdomo drew a nice nine-pitch walk. Marte grounded out, but an ill-advised attempt to turn a double-play escaped the event horizon of Rowdy Tellez, and McCarthy rolled on home. Kelly continued to roll, getting another double-play in the seventh, after which is where his evening came to an end. He needed only 88 pitches to get thrown seven innings, and faced two batters over the minimum. Kelly allowed one run on three hits and a walk, dropping his season ERA to 2.90. That's six ticks better than Zac Gallen. With All-Star pitchers being announced on July 2nd, and Kelly also leading the league in wins after tonight... Just sayin'.
The highlight of the last couple of innings was Corbin Carroll delivering his sixteenth homer of the season (above). The opposite field shot went an estimated 380 feet, and ensured Carroll's OPS for the season would tick up a further seven points, ending the night at .982. Miguel Castro and Joe Mantiply each tossed a scoreless inning, and the D-backs got their road-trip off to an emphatically victorious start. Arizona outhit Milwaukee by an 11-3 margin. Perdomo reached base four times on two hits and two walks, while Walker, Thomas and McCarthy each enjoyed two hit nights. Here’s the WP graph, which I imagine has to be the flattest win of the year so far.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Korben Dallas: Alek Thomas, +9.4%
Corbin Bernsen: Gabriel Moreno, -2.3%
Despite the emphatic nature of the win, no single D-back reached +10% today, with the Win Probability love being spread around. Even Kelly’s seven innings of one-run ball didn’t qualify: as noted, by the time he took the mound, the game was nine-tenths in the bag. For obvious reasons, a pretty chill Gameday Thread, and a considerably happier one than Sunday! Even the Arizona dugout was clearly relaxed, with sandcastles being built on the warning track. Comments of the night to samath, after the D-backs delivered on Michael’s request.
The win moves the D-backs to four games clear at the top of the NL West again, their margin now four games, pending the result of the match-up between San Diego and San Francisco. Interesting question in the GDT: who do we want to win that four-game set? The Giants are definitely our closest rivals... but do the Padres potentially pose a bigger threat over the remaining 89 games? There’s a poll below: feel free to explain your choice in the comments. Meanwhile, the same two teams here will be in action again tomorrow night, with Ryne Nelson on the mound fore the D-backs.
Who do you want to win the Padres-Giants series?
This poll is closed