Record: 50-35. Pace: 95-67. Change on 2022: +12.
On All-Star Selection Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a chance to make a statement by completing a sweep on the road of the Los Angeles Angels. However, it ended up being a bit of a disappointment on both fronts. The National League’s best second baseman was overlooked for the NL roster, and though Zac Gallen was selected, he took his third loss of the season, due to a pair of long-balls in the early innings.
I've written previously about Zac Gallen's remarkable split between his appearances at Chase Field and elsewhere. This afternoon's start in Los Angeles against the Angels will not have helped matters, though it was a weirdly extreme outing. Case in point: all of the first seven outs Gallen recorded were by the strikeout. That is good. Unfortunately, he had also allowed a solo homer in the first inning a three-run homer in the second. He had been doing a good job of suppressing them, with only seven long-balls over 104.1 innings coming in. Weirdly, neither of them were hit by Shohei Ohtani, whom I have been reliably informed by social media is the only Angels' player above Little League quality.
The first was by someone called Mike Trout. I believe he used to be somebody, but is now old and can longer catch up to fastballs. For some reason, Gallen threw him a 91 mph cutter, just above the knees. The Answerbacks answered back immediately in the top of the second. Evan Longoria walked, and Carson Kelly got his first home-run of 2023, launching a pitch 397 feet to left (above) for a 2-1 Arizona lead. But the Los Angeles Answers... uh... well, you get the idea. After Gallen struck out the first two, former D-back Eduardo Escobar and brother of current D-back Dominic, David Fletcher both singled, before the three-run damage was done.
Outside of the home-runs, both starting pitchers were very dominant. Through five, Gallen and Reid Detmers had combined for 18 strikeouts to the 40 batters they had faced. Add in three walks and three home-runs, and there was certainly a deficit of balls in play. Much as he did against the Rays, Gallen settled down after a bumpy second inning. He retired 14 batters in a row after the three-run homer, before a one-out single in the seventh. That runner was stranded, Gallen matching his season high by notching his 12th and final strikeout on his 100th and last pitch. He allowed four runs on five hits and a walk. That kept Zac's road ERA unchanged at 5.08, a far cry from the 1.50 back at Chase Field.
However, Detmers was being just as tough against the Arizona hitters. A two-out double by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the third and a one-out single from Alek Thomas in the fifth were the only base-runners until Detmers left the game after six innings. They did get two on against the Angels bullpen in the seventh with one out, on a Fletcher single and Gerardo Perdomo pinch-walk. But Thomas grounded out and Ketel "Not an All-Star" Marte took strike three for his third K of the afternoon. His on-base streak ended at 24 games as a result. Remarkably, until today, Marte had failed to reach base just once this season, on June 2 against the Braves. That inexcusable failure must be why Ozzie Albies is an All-Star and Marte is not. I'll just leave this here:
- Ketel Marte: .877 OPS, 3.7 bWAR, 2.3 fWAR
- Ozzie Albies: .811 OPS, 2.3 bWAR, 1.8 fWAR
Kyle Nelson took over in the eighth for Arizona. Something happened there, but I'm sure that the national media will rush breathlessly to enlighten you if you're bothered. Arizona came into their last chance needing three to tie. Jake McCarthy had a nice at-bat before banging a single into center field. Corbin Carroll pinch-hit and grounded into a force-out - it was just nice to see him back in a game, after the concerns about his shoulder. Fletcher battled before flying out on the tenth pitch he saw, and Gerardo Perdomo was possessed by the spirit of Pavin Smith, striking out without taking the bat off his shoulder, to end the game, and avert the sweep.
Arizona were held to five hits and three walks, with Gurriell the only player to be in possession of both. Each side ended with 13 strikeouts. The Dodgers lost in Kansas City, so the D-backs lead in the division remains three games, pending the result of the Giants-Mets game later in New York. The D-backs now have a day off to make the short trip back to Phoenix, where they will welcome the Mets for a three-game set beginning on Independence Day (albeit without the fireworks).
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
MLB All-Star Game: Carson Kelly +11.8%
NFL Pro Bowl: Zac Gallen, -17.7%
NHL All-Star Game: Ketel Marte, -15.5%
A lightly trafficked Gameday Thread, with the news of the Dodgers being hammered by the Royals the only comment to turn red. So, nah. Still, I said before this week that I would be happy enough for the D-backs to come through it and go 3-3, against the Rays and on the road versus the Angels. That’s exactly what happened, and even if the Giants win, no ground will have been lost in the division, with another week crossed off the schedule. As we head into the second half of the season, that’s all we need to do. Take the series at home against the Mets and Pirates, and the D-backs can go into the All-Star break in a very enviable and entirely unexpected position.