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Diamondbacks 5, San Diego 10: What Is That Sucking Sound?

It’s us, continuing to suck.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

I apparently have tacit permission from our Fearless Leader to make my recap just a screen capture of one of my mid-game GDT comments:

I’m sorely tempted—it’s been a very long week at work—but I don’t think I can just leave it at that. I don’t think I’m going to talk a lot about the actual game, though. We shall see.

So it was Ryne Nelson, our still developing rookie starter, versus Blake Snell, San Diego’s lefty ace. Snell gives up a lot of walks. Ryne’s had some good starts and some bad ones. This was a bad one. After getting through the top of the first on 11 pitches, he left the game after only three innings, having surrendered six runs. Bad Ryne tonight.

Marte and Carroll both walked to lead off the bottom of the first, before Tommy Pham hit a funny little bloop fielder’s choice behind short that looked playable by Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts. It wound up dropping, but both Marte and Carroll had to hold in case Bogaerts caught it, and so Bogaerts managed to force Marte at third. Walker then dribbled a double down the first base line that scored Carroll and got Pham to third. Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. grounded to third and reached on the second fielder’s choice of the inning, as Pham was running on the pitch and tried to score and was thrown out pretty easily. Walker advanced to third to take his place. Somewhat hilariously, Gurriel then stole second, and then Snell uncorked a wild pitch that Walker tried to score on, and failed. Not quite TOOTBLANs, but it really felt like we should have gotten more. 1-0 D-BACKS

Wheels began to come off for Ryne in the top of the second—walk, homer, 2-1 San Diego—and then came off entirely in the third—single, triple, single, homer, 6-1 San Diego, and while Ryne finished out the inning, his night was over.

And it was basically garbage time after that. The Padres tacked on another run in the top of the sixth that got charged to Joe Mantiply for a two-out walk, though the run scored when Luis Frias came on to relieve him and immediately surrendered a single. 7-1 San Diego

We got that run back as Ketel Marte led off the sixth with a solo dinger, which was kind of nice, I guess. No video highlight of it, which is odd, but whatever. 7-2 Diamondbacks.

In the bottom of the eighth, against some garbage time San Diego reliever, we seemed to put the game back within reach thanks to back-to-back one-out singles by Carson Kelly and Ketel Marte, followed one out later by Tommy Pham, who’d been getting kinda trashed in the GDT all evening, doing what Diamondbacks hitters getting trashed in the GDT frequently seem to do:

So that was also kind of nice, I guess. 7-5 San Diego

Thing was, Scott McGough immediately gave all those runs back in the top of the ninth. and we did nothing more in the bottom. Blah and yuck. 10-5 San Diego

As a recapper who has been doing this regularly for a fair number of years now, most of them being down years, I feel like I need to go big-picture here for a bit. As a realist, thinking back on our remarkable first half of the 2023 season, I gotta say honestly that, well, it was fun while it lasted. We are not making the playoffs this year, though. I have no doubt of that. If I wind up being wrong, I will be overjoyed to admit it, but playoff-bound teams don’t generally experience nine-game losing streaks in early August. And that’s fine. My mindset is slowly and somewhat painfully transitioning back to viewing the Diamondbacks as a team in a transitional state. Wins and losses and playoff hopes can’t be what matters going forward, because if I stick to that it will continue to break my heart, and all of my recaps going forward will be inflected with bitterness and rage.

Increasingly tonight, I found my attention drawn to little good things. There weren’t all that many, but there were some. Despite Ketel Marte’s apparent injury the other night, he genuinely seems to be fine, and his homer to lead off the bottom of the sixth puts him at 19 for the season....after several years of disappointing suckage, it seems just about certain that he’s going to surpass 20 homers in a season for the first time since 2019, and only the second time in his career. Meanwhile, genuine rookie and MLB newbie Slade Cecconi came out of the bullpen tonight for his second major league appearance after Nelson was pulled, and pitched quite well once again, recording five outs on 20 pitches, despite hitting a Padres batter with the first pitch he threw and giving up a single to the seventh and final batter he faced. Luis Frias recorded five outs of his own with no runs surrendered in his 123 innings of work, increasing the sample size for my growing suspicion that maybe the dude isn’t actually a waste of space on the 40-man roster.

Maybe it’s not much, but it’s a little bit of progress, maybe, at the margins at least.

Feel free to rail against me in the comments for the above, if you should feel the need. I don’t feel particularly good having just typed the above, but that is my thinking right now, so if you must, let ‘er rip, no worries. I have a thick skin. I still think the future, and the near future, is bright for this crop of Diamondbacks. But that future isn’t gonna be 2023.

Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs

Not Good: Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. (0-3, 1 BB, 1 K, -11.3% WPA)
Really Not Good: Ryne Nelson (3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, -38.9% WPA)

I’ve remarked from time to time this season on how weird the WPA equation seems to be at modelling certain sorts of games, and I think I’m beginning to understand some of the sense behind it. Gurriel, for instance, doesn’t have anything close to the worst batting line in the Diamondbacks’ lineup tonight—that would go to Nick Ahmed, who went 0-4 with two swinging strikeouts, and his WPA is only -4.9%. What kicks Gurriel up into double digits is that his strikeout came with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, when the deficit had been narrowed to 7-5 and Christian Walker had drawn a base on balls to put Gurriel at the plate as the tying run. All the other contributions, good and bad, happened after Nelson shat the bed early, making it a blowout in the making where individual runs and hits didn’t really matter. So that was interesting.

Weird business, WPA. Anyway.

I was frankly surprised that we racked up 152 comments in the Gameday Thread at time of writing. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and hung around and shared tonight’s ordeal with me. This was another one of those games where the Thread was the only thing that made it bearable. So seriously, everyone, thank you.

As I noted above, the gallows humor is strong with us right now, and for such a crap game, there was a truly remarkable number of comments that went Sedona Red, most of them of the gallows humor variety. I just did a quick count, and if I didn’t miss any, we’ve got 17 of ‘em just now. A bunch of them are mine, but I think I’m gonna award the CotGs of the night to our Fearless Leader and kilnborn, for this one-two punch down the subthread that ensued as a result of my suggestion that I might just paste in a comment screencap and call it a night:

Our best chance in this series of getting a win probably is tomorrow, as Zac Gallen goes up against San Diego trade deadline acquisition Dick Mountain Rich Hill, so if you have the psychological fortitude to see for yourself if we can avoid getting to a double-digit losing streak, you are probably made of stronger stuff than I and you should definitely stop in. ITo sweeten the deal, allow me to point out that, while Gallen’s been less than stellar in recent starts, he’s still sporting a sub-2.00 ERA when starting at Chase Field this year, while he’s tended to have more trouble on the road. Also, if it goes south, the gallows humor is strong.

Anyway. As is common for Saturday home games, first pitch looks to be 5:10pm AZ time.

Thanks for reading, as always. And always, go Diamondbacks!