I gotta say, I’m pretty cranky right now.
So Brandon Pfaadt, who many of us thought was being pressed into service way too soon as a regular in the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation in 2023, has been benefiting from being up at the MLB level, and while he’s definitely been hit-or-miss in his starts, he’s been finding his footing as time goes by. Thing is, the bats haven’t been showing up to support him at all on his good nights, and once more, on his best night so far, they still failed to show up. If anything, they failed even more abjectly tonight that they have in the past.
So. So, so, so. Pfaadt was going up tonight against long-time Mets’ reliever Seth Lugo, who this season has been converted into a starter for San Diego, and credit where credit is due, he’s been very good. By the numbers, as laid out in ISH’s series preview yesterday, Brandon was gonna be toast tonight. Except he wasn’t.
Lugo pitched well, to be fair—he wound up throwing six innings of shutout ball, pitching around five Diamondbacks hits and three walks, while recording nine strikeouts. But Pfaadt was better. Brandon went seven innings, surrendered not only no home runs (a problem for him in his early days), but no runs at all. He had a no-hitter going through six, and despite surrendering a one-out double to Juan Soto with one out in the bottom of the seventh, closed out his last inning of work with the donut on the scoreboard intact. Lovullo and Strom might have left him in if the possibility of a no-no had persisted, but once that seal was broken, they pulled him after seven full innings. Pfaadt finished up with a pitching line of 7 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 107 pitches. It was a helluva a job by the young man against an expensive and potentially terrifying lineup full of power bats, and the kiddo shut them down.
Thing was that, despite threatening Lugo and the bullpen arms that followed him on multiple occasions, we couldn’t get Pfaadt even a single run to give him a shot at adding his first W to his MLB resume. And we did have our chances. Tommy Pham and Christian Walker reached to lead off the fourth, but were left standing in place thanks to three straight outs by Gurriel, Peterson, and Thomas. We had four different batters on base in the top of the fifth, but a whole host of TOOTBLAN’s and other deeply embarrassing foolishness at the plate and on the basepaths left us with nothing to show for it. Gurriel doubled into the gap in right center with one out in the top of the sixth and was left standing, a purple-topped topiary installment, on second base. Moreno beat out an infield single to lead off the bottom of the seventh, was forced on a Geraldo Perdomo grounder to third, and then Perdomo TOOTBLANned the inning to an end as Corbin Carroll flied out to left and Perdomo, for whatever demented reason, tried to tag and advance to second and was cut down as one might expect.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the eighth, with Pfaadt out, Miguel Castro came out of the bullpen, and took the ball. And yeah, that didn’t go well, as has so often been the case of late. He drilled Gary Sanchez, the Padres’ catcher, with the first pitch that left his hand. Sanchez was replaced by a pinch-runner, and the next guy up for San Diego was replaced by a pinch hitter, who laid down a pretty brilliant bunt up the first base line, which Christian Walker failed to make a play on. A second consecutive bunt attempt recorded the first out, but it was a successful bunt that put runners on second and third with one out. Castro then coughed up a single to center that scored two, and then a dinger to center off the bat of Fernando Tatis, Jr. that put us in a four-run hole. Joe Maniply relieved him and got the last two outs with a walk in between them, but there was the hole. 4-0 San Diego
And that was that. We sat down in order in the top of the eighth, and then again in the top of the ninth. That’s pretty much all that happened, and that’s pretty much all I got, except to say this: Brandon Pfaadt pitched one of the best starts we’ve seen from a Diamondbacks starter this year, and he deserved a damn sight more than he got from the bullpen and the offense.
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Trash: Miguel Castro (1⁄3 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, -38.7% WPA)
Treasure: Brandon Pfaadt (pitching line above, +42.8% WPA)
Utter Waste: The entire lineup (31 AB, 6 H, 3 BB, 13 K, -54.2% WPA)
We did have a very lively, active, and well-populated Gameday Thread tonight, with 292 comments at time of writing. A bunch of stuff went Sedona Red, which is always nice, and a number of them were actually game- and baseball-related, which is even nicer. I’m going to award a joint CotG tonight to SafeTwire389 and SnakePit alum Jack Sommers, for capturing two sides of the coin of tonight’s game. SafeTwire got the most rec’s, which is fair, but I think Jack’s point is spot-on as well. So. Here they are:
Agreed, wholeheartedly. And:
Also agreed, also wholeheartedly. We have all been nervous at times about having so many rookie pitchers in our rotation, but regardless of the ultimate outcome for us this season, giving these kids some work at a level where it matters has real benefits over time.
And lastly, there was one other comment that received as many rec’s as Jack’s, and while the author dismissed it as drug snark and requested that it be disregarded in favor of SafeTwire’s, I’m going to include it as an honorable mention anyway, because drug snark is funny and there was a quiet period in the middle of the game when we were amusing ourselves mocking the uniforms San Diego was wearing tonight, and that was fun and deserves to be memorialized:
Heavy weather coming to southern California this weekend, so the Sunday games for all teams playing in those parts have been pushed back into being doubleheaders tomorrow, which means you have two games to choose from (or to double-fist) if you want to join us again for more Diamondbacks baseball. First pitch of the first game is currently scheduled for 12:10pm AZ time, as Merrill Kelly takes the mound against that perennial wild-card, TBD. Then, at 5:40pm, we bring our own TBD to the hill against Yu Darvish. We’ll see if those match-ups stick through the morning, but that’s what it’s looking like right now. If we win one of ‘em, we get the series split; if we win both, that’s our third series victory in a row after an extended dearth of them. So I hope you can join us for one or both.
Anyway. As always, thank you for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!