Full disclosure: I was totally dreading this one as we were coming up on first pitch. I read ISH’s series preview earlier in the afternoon, and his assessment of the challenges our offense would face against a terrifying Braves starting rotation seemed bleak but perfectly apt. Bryce Elder, Atlanta’s starter today, was rocking a 7-1 record and a sub-3.00 ERA going into this game, and facing off against him was, well, Zach Davies. Given that we only managed to score nine runs in three games in Toronto this weekend, and given that the wretched performance there seemed to be a continuation of a disturbing trend that we’d been seeing for the last couple of series before the All-Star Break, and given that our bullpen has been increasingly disappointing of late on a game-by-game basis, I imagine that I wasn’t alone in not going into this one with high hopes.
Geraldo Perdomo led off the game with a single to right, which was nice to see—Perdomo is one who’s production at the plate has fallen off precipitiously over the last couple of months. Ketel Marte sent a ball on a ride out to center, but it easily stayed in the yard for the first out. Corbin Carroll then hit possibly the dinkiest triple you’re ever going to see, grounded just inside the foul line in right, driving home Perdomo:
We will use this Corbin Carroll RBI triple to let everyone know we're working to remove the closed captioning. pic.twitter.com/pzcpS3JsBg— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 18, 2023
Christian Walker, another Diamondback mainstay whose offense has tanked of late, then struck out on four pitches, which was no bueno. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. managed to reach, though, on a grounder to short that Atlanta shortstop (and All-Star) Orlando Arcia clanged for an error. That brought Carroll home, so we had a staked Davies a crooked number before he’d even thrown a pitch. 2-0 D-BACKS
Not that it mattered much, sadly, because Davies took the mound and allowed the first five batters he faced to reach. To be fair, the top of Atlanta’s lineup is a murderers’ row, but a single to Acuna, a double to Albies, another double to Austin Riley, a five-pitch walk to Matt Olson and then a double to Sean Murphy had four runs in for the Braves and Davies at 21 pitches before he’d even recorded an out. He finally retired Marcell Ozuna on a grounder to second, but then gave up another single by Michael Harris II, last year’s ROY, that scored Murphy. Corbin Carroll made a great throw to Perdomo to gun down Harris when he tried to stretch the single, and Arcia grounded out to end things. But. We had scored our requisite two runs, which has been starting to feel like it’s all we can manage on a given night, and we were already in a deep-seeming hole. 5-2 Atlanta
No worries, though, because the bats were actually back and with us and ready to be used. Emmanuel Rivera led off the second with a long dinger to pretty much straightaway center, which was nice:
We weren’t done yet, though. Carson Kelly singled to center, Alek Thomas hit an infield single in Albies at second that Thomas beat out because Atlanta wasn’t quick enough on covering the bag. Perdomo then bunted the runners along, before Ketel Marte doubled to the wall in right, plating both Kelly and Thomas. Corbin Carroll then struck out swinging, and in one of the most remarkable turns of events I’ve seen in many years of watching baseball, wound up standing at third base because the ball rolled away from the catcher, the catcher threw it up the right field line trying to get Carroll at first, Marte scored from second, and Corbin, well, he just didn’t stop running:
Corbin Carroll just reached third base safely...on a strikeout. pic.twitter.com/PHcxONNKv6— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 18, 2023
Christian Walker then finally broke through, singling to right to drive in Marte. That was all she wrote for this inning, as Gurriel and Canzone sat down quietly, but we were back to a two-run lead. 7-5 D-BACKS
Then things actually quieted down then, for a couple of innings. Spotted his second lead of the young ballgame, Zach Davies settled down for awhile, putting up zeroes in both the second and the third, with the only blemish being a second walk to Matt Olson. On our side, Rivera walked to lead off the third, but was left stranded there as Elder recorded the next two outs and then was pulled for Michael Tonkin, the first of many Atlanta relievers we’d see tonight as the lineup turned over, who retired Perdomo on a flyout to right.
Not so in the top of the fourth. After Tonkin retired Marte and Carroll to start the fourth, Christian Walker, who is clearly feeling better now, went opposite-field and sent one over the right-field wall:
C-Walk delivers an oppo taco! pic.twitter.com/n6qxrwc9ZC— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 19, 2023
Every little bit helps. 8-5 D-BACKS
And sure enough, we needed it in the bottom of the fourth, as the brief hiatus of Davies being effective gave way to the regularly scheduled program. Davies got the first out before surrendering a single to Arcia, followed by a Kevin Pillar double off the right field wall that brought him home. One out later, he went full on Albies, who wound up drawing a walk on a pitch that really, really looked like it should have been strike three and the end of the inning. But it wasn’t, and six pitches later, Riley struck again, this time launching a ball into the seats in left center. That brought Davies’ day to a close, with Jose Ruiz coming out of the pen to get the final out. 9-8 Atlanta
Tonkin continued to pitch effectively for Atlanta, setting the Diamondbacks down in order for the first and only time in the game in the top of the fifth. Ruiz, meanwhile, came out for a second inning of work, and could not match the zero. Instead, a leadoff walk and a two-out Arcia homer happened. 11-8 Atlanta
But well, sometimes when life gives you lemons, the only thing to do with them is to continue to pound the crap of them with baseball bats, which is what the Diamondbacks did in the top of the sixth. Thomas led off the frame with a single to left. Perdomo popped up to short, Marte then lined another double to right, this one hard-hit enough that Thomas had to stop at third. That was okay, though, as Corbin Carroll hit a soft grounder to first that, for the second time in the game, wound up going as an infield hit because there was nobody to cover first. Thomas, of course, scored on the play. Then it was time for Christian Walker to come to the plate again, and well, he wanted his lead back:
WALKER FOR THE LEAD.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 19, 2023
THIS GAME IS UNHINGED!!! pic.twitter.com/Vbptcx23Tc
Our bullpen, though, didn’t apparently want to keep the lead yet, because Austin Adams came out for the bottom of the sixth, surrendered a leadoff single to Acuna, and one out later allowed Austin Riley’s second dinger of the game, this one to pretty much straightaway center.
I gotta say. This game was nuts.
Someone else was pitching for Atlanta now, one Joe Jiminez, and he put up a zero in the top of the seventh. For us, Tyler Gilbert (!) took the ball for the bottom half, and recorded the first 1-2-3 inning we’d managed against Atlanta in the ballgame to this point. So that was cool. Kirby Yates, whose name I know from somewhere, pitched the eighth for Atlanta, and after retiring Marte grazed Carroll with a pitch before walking Walker to put runners on first and second with one out. As we have seen before, Torey put on a double steal, so they were now on second and third. Gurriel grounded to third, but wound up on first as Atlanta chose to those home and get Carroll at the plate. So then it was up to rookie Dominic Canzone, our DH tonight but not yet having a hit in the majors. And bless his heart, the rookie did this:
Not too shabby, kid. Not too shabby. 13-13 TIE
Miguel Castro pitched a clean bottom of the eighth, so it was now up to the bottom of the Diamondbacks order to see if we couldn’t keep this one from going to extras. Jake McCarthy came off the bench to pinch-hit for Carson Kelly, and promptly blooped a single into shallow left. Thomas then reached on yet another one of those bizarre plays that was a grounder to the left side of the infield that somehow wound up with everybody safe. To be fair, this one wasn’t any big mystery—Matt Olson tried to backhand a grounder, and he missed for an E3. That turned over the lineup for Perdomo, who doubled to the gap in right center to bring them both home:
We had been joking in the Gameday Thread about the score being in football territory now, and apparently Ketel Marte felt the same way, and wanted the margin of victory to be a field goal, because he singled to center, bringing Perdomo in. We went down in order after that, but no worries, because Kevin Ginkel of all people came out to pitch the bottom of the ninth and struck out the heart of Atlanta’s order to put a cherry on top of this one. 16-13 D-BACKS
Win Probability Added, courtesy of Fangraphs
This one really broke the Win Probability thing in exciting ways that I hadn’t seen before.
Diamond Sports Group:
Zach Davies (32⁄3 IP 9 ER, -74.1% ERA)
Austin Adams (1 IP, 2 ER, -29.1% ERA)
Jose Ruiz (11⁄3 IP, 2 ER, -14.3% WPA)
MLB Running the Broadcasts Henceforth:
Christian Walker (5 AB, 3 H, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, +45.5% WPA)
Corbin Carroll (5 AB, 2 H, 3 R, 2 RBI, +43.8% WPA)
Alek Thomas (5 AB, 2 H, 3 R, +25.8% WPA)
Ketel Marte (6 AB, 3 H, 2 R, 3 RBI, +23.9% WPA)
Yeah, this one was completely nuts, pretty much from start to finish.
We had a truly banner Gameday Thread for a Tuesday night, quite possibly because suddenly, now that Bally Sports AZ is out of the picture, a lot more of us can actually watch the games. Whatever the reason, we had a rollicking 359 comments tonight at time of writing (h/t to TheOlser4 and Justin for having the same thoughts regarding the increasing footballiness of the score, and inspiring me to go with the headline above). CotG, though, must go to our fearless leader tonight. I feel like he should have used the sarcasm font for this one, but, well, the comment itself is the sarcasm font, in a way.
If you’re not too exhausted by the 3+ hour roller coaster that was this game, please drop by tomorrow as Ryne Nelson takes the mound and faces off against Charlie Morton. Just like tonight, first pitch is scheduled for 4:20pm AZ time, and you’ll be able to watch it for free on MLB or take your chances with your cable provider’s new channel. It was kinda terrible down here in Tucson, and also in Phoenix as I understand it, but it got better as the game went on and they figured out what they were doing. Anyway, I hope you can join us.
This one was daunting to write up, honestly, but also a lot of fun. We traded body blows with the best team in the Major Leagues today, and we came out on top. Thanks as always for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!