So I’ve been having trouble getting started on writing this one up, so my apologies in advance that it’s going to be going live a little bit late. Partly because it was a disappointing game with a disappointing result, though like those of you who have been following our boyz in Sedona Red for a few years, it’s nothing new. Partly it’s that I’m kind of scatterbrained tonight—TheRealRamona and I have been in the process of moving over the last week and a half, and while the vast majority of our stuff, and all the furniture and whatnot, are now in the new place, there is still work to be done on the morrow as well as some early....issues....with the new domicile that are nibbling at the back of my brain, as they have been doing for days now. Mainly, though, I’m having difficulty identifying or choosing a clear narrative for this one, beyond noting that it was going pretty well until it wasn’t. There wasn’t any straightforward goat or villain of the piece, and it never really felt to me like we were entirely out of it, and in fact we were leading for much of the game, and yet, in the end, we let it slip away.
Anyway. We started off the first against Milwaukee righthander Colin Rea, and put up a run to take an early, narrow lead. Geraldo Perdomo, who now seems to have taken over the leadoff spot for the foreseeable future, flied out to center. Ketel Marte, who really has redeemed himself in my eyes this year, followed with a liner that tailed down the left field line, dropped in fair territory and then promptly bounced into the seats for a ground rule double. Corbin Carroll followed with a grounder up the middle that bounced into center field for a single that drove in Marte:
Corbin Carroll, you're the man. pic.twitter.com/g9bpIkCiAn— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 21, 2023
Christian Walker then went the other way to flip a single into shallow right, but shallow enough that Carroll couldn’t score, but only advance to third. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., who still doesn’t look quite right to me after his recent groin strain and whatnot, fouled out to first and Evan Longoria grounded to short, leaving Walker and Carroll stranded. I really felt like we should have gotten more from that inning, but hey, at least we were on the board. 1-0 D-BACKS
Ryne Nelson was on the mound for us tonight, which tends to be a bit of a sphincter-clenching experience these days, but he looked really good in the bottom of the first, retiring the top three batters in the Milwaukee lineup in order, needing only eight pitches to do so.
Alek Thomas led off the second with a hard-hit grounder to second base, so there was your first out. Carson Kelly, who has been much reviled in the comments threads of late (and yes, I have helped lead that charge, for good or ill), then kinda did what Marte did in the first, doubling down the left field line for his first hit of 2023. It only took him thirteen ABs to get it done this year, too—last year it took him twenty. So yay. Jake McCarthy then walked to give us runners on first and second. Sadly, Perdomo then struck out looking, but that turned out to be nothing to worry about as Ketel Marte did some business on the third pitch he saw:
KETEL MARTE!!— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 21, 2023
Carroll flied out to right to end the inning, but, yay, crooked numbers are infinitely more satisfying. 4-0 D-BACKS
Sadly, Nelson ran into some trouble in his second inning of work, but to his credit, he managed it and didn’t let it get out of hand. He was still throwing strikes, mostly, still locating well, but Milwaukee started making some contact. Brewers’ shortstop Willy Adames reached out of the zone to flip a single into left to lead off the frame, and after recording his first strikeout of the night, Ryne surrendered back-to-back doubles to Brian Anderson and Luis Urias. The Anderson double was a shot down the left-field line; the Urias double was over Carroll’s head in left that he chased to the warning track. It sort of seemed like Carroll could have caught it if he’d had an extra step, but I suspect he pulled up a bit so as not to plow into the wall like he did in Colorado. Only Adames scored, though, and Nelson settled down to retire the last two batters in the Brewers’ lineup. He threw 21 pitches here, but worked out of what could well have been a much worse jam, and after two innings he was only at 29 pitches overall, which is not bad, given how things have gone for him recently. 4-1 D-BACKS
Rea was up at 43 pitches through two, but our hitters stopped being patient, and sat down in order in the third, fourth, and fifth, only requiring Rea to throw 25 more pitches over those three frames. Marte singled to right in the fifth, but that was the only additional traffic we managed on the bases. Ryne Nelson, meanwhile, cruised through his second time encountering the top of the Brewers’ lineup, sitting them down in order again with only twelve more pitches thrown. He had a lot more trouble in the bottom of the fourth, though, giving up a leadoff single and then a Jesse Winker homer high off the wall in center field on the seventh pitch Winker saw. Nelson managed to escape further damage, thanks to a popout to Walker and two strikeouts, with a single sandwiched in there was well. But Milwaukee had narrowed the gap and hung 32 more pitches on Nelson, bringing his count to 72 pitches through four. 4-3 D-BACKS
Nelson settled down again in the top of the fifth, retiring the top of the Milwaukee lineup in order for the third time, needing twelve pitches to do it and putting his pitch count for the night at 84.
Colin Rea came out to start the sixth for Milwaukee, and after inducing a first-pitch popout to first from Gurriel—his third infield popup in as many at bats, did I mention he’s still not looking right?—Evan Longoria singled to right, ending Rea’s night. Some lefty came out of the Brewers’ bullpen, got Thomas to ground to second for what they hoped would be a double play, but Thomas beat the throw to first. Carson Kelly then singled to short, with Thomas advancing to third on Adames’ botched throw to first. Jake McCarthy singled to second, plating Thomas and giving us a needed insurance run before Perdome hit a grounder on the infield that forced out McCarthy at second to end the inning. 5-3 D-BACKS
I kinda figured that Torey Lovullo would send Ryne Nelson out to at least start the sixth, as it seems he is wont to do of late with starters who are below 90 or so pitches. But no, Nelson’s night was done. Austin Adams got the ball for the bottom of the sixth, and mowed down the middle of the Milwaukee order, which was nice, because they had caused Nelson so much grief. Unfortunately, however, Adams came out for the seventh, and thanks to a combination of bad umpiring, some imperfect fielding by Ketel Marte, and likely also just some weariness—Adams, like many of our relievers who have been pressed into service in this manner, is really not a two-inning guy—wound up loading the bases with nobody out thanks to a leadoff walk and two infield hits on grounders to second. He got yanked for Kyle Nelson, who thankfully recorded the first out of the inning on a Christian Yelich grounder to the mound that was slow enough that Kyle’s only play was to take the sure out at first, scoring a run. Brewers’ catcher WIlliam Contreras then doubled into the gap in right, clearing the bases. Pinch hitter Owen Wilson singled to left, advancing Contreras to third. Willy Adames hit a slowish grounder to Longoria at third that, had it been hit a little bit harder, might have been an inning-ending double play, but no such luck. Wilson was forced at second, Adames beat the throw to first, and Contreras scored. That got Kyle Nelson the hook, with Jose Ruiz taking the mound and striking out some random dude—Andruw Monastario, if my scoresheet isn’t lying—to finally end things. It is no bueno, though, when we have three relievers pitch in the same inning. 7-5 Milwaukee
And there’s your final score, basically. Alek Thomas hit a solid single to center with two outs in the top of the eight, which was nice to see, but he wound up stranded. Ruiz pitched a clean bottom of the eighth. Geraldo Perdomo finally reached base without making an out by drawing a walk in the top of the ninth, but was retired on a Ketel Marte double-play grounder to end the game. And that, alas, was that.
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Buffy: Ketel Marte (5 AB, 3 H, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, +19.6% WPA)
Riley: Kyle Nelson (2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, -35.2% WPA)
Austin Adams also wound up with a pretty bad WPA, but I’m not going to include it because KNel was far worse, and Adams was in his second inning of work, got boned by some bad calls from the home plate umpire, and let down by Marte not making plays on a couple of fairly routine infield plays.
The Gameday Thread was somewhat sparse tonight, with 132 comments at time of writing. Three comments went Sedona Red, but one was a meme with a broken image link, one was a comment referencing a remark in the broadcast that I don’t quite recall well enough to contextualize at this moment, so CotG goes to this perhaps overly optimistic but nevertheless relevant statement from GuruB on the occasion of Carson Kelly’s first hit of the 2023 season:
Anyway, we’re still in line for the series win tomorrow, with Zac Gallen taking the mound for us and facing off against longtime Atlanta stalwart and 2023 comeback player candidate Julio Teheran. It’s a weird sort of getaway day and it’s the Central timezone, so first pitch will be 11:10am, AZ time. Please stop by, if you are able and your schedule permits.
As always, thank you for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!