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Diamondbacks 6, Cardinals 10: Half-Nelsoned, Full Bullpenned

This save was blown so dramatically, it should have been in Oppenheimer

Mushroom Cloud Photo by Lambert/Getty Images

Record: 54-47. Pace: 87-75. Change on 2022: +9.

The hope was that a return home and an opponent with a record well below .500 would allow the Diamondbacks to mount a course correction. Unfortunately, the Cardinals did not appear to have got the memo. Mind you, they had been playing better than the D-backs of late. Over the past month, St. Louis were 13-12 coming into tonight, while Arizona were 8-15 in that time. As Jack noted in the Gameday Thread, their offense in particular getting work done. Combine that with Ryne Nelson's struggles at home, where he had an 8.08 ERA over nine starts, and this has the potential be tougher than you might expect, based on the season standings.

This was also my first experience of watching a Diamondbacks baseball game broadcast since MLB clawed the rights back from Bally Sports Arizona, and began producing the broadcast themselves. To be completely honest, I didn't notice much difference. It's still Bob and Bert on the call, and Todd remains as burbling an annoyance as ever. The main change was probably the lack of adverts on between the innings, a placid silence instead descending on SnakePit Towers. I believe there have been changes on the pre- and post-game shows, which are now abbreviated. However, I tend not to be about for those, so no big. How is everyone else feeling about the new television experience?

To the game, which did not begin auspiciously. Nelson gave up a first-pitch single, then a two-run homer to someone called a "Paul Goldschmidt". I dunno, St. Louis are selling, maybe we should look at trading for him, give us a bit more thump from the right-hand side. Anyone know anything about him? The D-backs did what the D-backs do, and cut the deficit in the bottom of the first. Geraldo Perdomo walked, was singled to third by Ketel Marte, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Corbin Carroll. After a quick 1-2-3 bounce-back frame from Nelson, Arizona then tied things up, as an Alek Thomas single drove in Emmanuel Rivera.

Neither side scored in a terse third inning, but the Cardinals put up another crooked number on Nelson. A lead-off walk came around to score, as did the double which followed it, though a double-play prevented further damage beyond 4-2. A Nolan Arenado homer in the fifth then gave St. Louis a three-run lead, clearly pleasing the large contingent of visiting fans at Chase. Nelson got through six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks, with just one strikeout. I guess he did get his home ERA down to [laconic calculator noises] 8.01. So I guess there's that.

Arizona were able to narrow the gap in their half of the 6th. Christian Walker had been made to look very pedestrian by Adam Wainwright in his first two at-bats. However, caught up with a hanging curve to lead things off, and got his 21st homerun of the season (above), a much-needed blast which cut the lead to 5-3. A rare Arenado gaffe let Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reach (though scored, charitably, as a hit), and Rivera walked. After getting 2-0 ahead, Jake McCarthy took three straight called strikes, and Carson Kelly struck out on three pitches with zero contact. Bit Alek Thomas drew a walk and Perdomo wore a pitch off his elbow guard for a painful RBI, and a 5-4 score. While a big hit eluded Marte, we had a game again.

Early pronouncements of "ballgame" turned out to be thoroughly unwarranted. For Arizona took the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Singles by Walker and Rivera set the table for Evan Longoria to come off the bench and deliver a two-run double to the wall in left-center (below). Off a fresh right-handed reliever, no less, giving the Diamondbacks their first lead of the game at 6-5. Austin Adams and Scott McGough did their jobs, putting up zeroes in the seventh and eighth, turning the ball over to Andrew Chafin for the ninth inning, to protect the one-run advantage. Presuming you noticed the headline with the score on your way into this recap, you will not be surprised to learn that it did not go well.

After it seemed Kevin Ginkel had become the closer, notching saves in both the wins on the road trip, I was a bit surprised to see Chafin out there. His last save was in May, and his last save opportunity was the 1-0 blown lead against the Mets. The first man reached, but that’s hardly unexpected. The problems came after the first out, as a walk and a single loaded the bases for that Goldschmidt guy. He is a right-handed hitter. I feel I should mention this, since it seems Torey Lovullo might have forgotten, leaving Chafin - a left-hander - in there to allow a game-tying RBI single. A go-ahead walk followed, then Ginkel took over, and emptied the bases with a three-run double, completing a five-run ninth.

Unfortunately, Baseball Reference appear to have removed the ability to see easily how many games the D-backs have lost while leading after eight innings. But I feel sure the answer is “a lot”. It’s certainly “far too many”, and is utterly disheartening to watch. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the players. But after conceding five runs in three innings tonight, the bullpen ERA for July is up to 6.86. As we discussed a few days ago, that would now be the highest figure in Arizona for more than thirteen years. My May statement, “Mike Hazen has a bullpen problem,” appears increasingly prophetic.

Click here for details, at
Enola Gay: Take a wild guess, -68.0%
Bockscar: Nelson, -26.6%; Carroll, -17.7%; Ginkel, -13.5%; Kelly, -13.3%; McCarthy, -12.0%
Oppenheimer: Evan Longoria, +41.0%
Miracle Mile: Rivera, +19.3%; Perdomo, +15.3%; Thomas, +14.9%; Walker, +13.2%; McGough, +12.2%

No comment of the thread tonight. I’m too annoyed. Despite the loss, the D-backs are still in an effective tie with Miami and San Francisco for the second and third wild-card. The Marlins are, like the D-backs, 2-8 in their last ten, while the Giants have lost six in a row. So everyone has problems, it appears. At least the team will have Merrill Kelly back from the injured list tomorrow. The last time he pitched, on June 24th, Arizona were 46-32. They are 8-15 since, with the fewest wins of any team in the National League over that time. Yeah, I think we’ll all be glad to have him back. It’ll be a 6:40 pm first pitch for that.