Brandon Pfaadt got his first win tonight, in his 13th MLB start. He pitched great, and he deserved it. Of course, he deserved it last time, too, and we know how that turned out. But good lord, it wasn’t exactly easy.
Let’s be clear, though, Brandon did his job just fine. He took the mound against Cincinnati righthander Hunter Greene, who is a mildly terrifying fireballer who throws 100+ fastballs like it’s nothing. Greene got shelled on Sunday by Toronto, though, in his first start off the IL, and this was his second start, so it seemed not unreasonable to expect that Greene would be better. Which he was, until he wasn’t.
Pfaadt mowed down the top of the Reds’ lineup in order to start the game, recording three outs on only seven pitches. Greene sat us down in order in the bottom of the first, but he needed 14 pitches. So advantage us, right?
Not so fast. Pfaadt struck out the first batter he faced to start the second, then gave up a solo dinger to Cincinnati DH and questionable cocktail variant Nick Martini, who launched a no-doubter over the wall in right center. That was followed by a double down the right field line by the man with the longest name (including the hyphen) who has ever played major league baseball, Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
[NOTE: That is the only time I am going to type that man’s name in its entirety. You’ve got it now, and that’s all you get. If you’re upset about that, please talk to my manager. He will be happy to dock my pay.]
Anyway, no more harm was done, despite a two-out walk, and while Pfaadt wound up throwing 32 pitches in the top of the second, the Martini dinger was the only blemish on his outing. 1-0 Cincinnati
Meanwhile, we were doing nothing against Greene through the first three innings, aside from a squib infield single by Christian Walker that pulled that guy with the long name a long way off the bag before Greene fielded it himself, leaving nobody covering first, and then a couple of walks in the third to Geraldo Perdomo and Ketel Marte. Nothing came of any of that, though, though the walks would become a theme that cropped up again from time to time.
Take the bottom of the fourth, for instance, after Pfaadt had settled back down and put up two more reasonably efficient zeroes on the board in the top of the third and the top of the fourth (15 pitches apiece): Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. led off the inning with a bloop single into the gap in shallow center that, thanks to a lazy throw back into the infield and his own attentive baserunning, he stretched easily to a double. Alek Thomas then dropped a single into the gap in right that scored Gurriel, tying the ballgame. Here’s both hits in one clip:
Heads-up baserunning helps tie up this ballgame! pic.twitter.com/UNUaF9fQ1x— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 26, 2023
We weren’t done yet, though. Gabriel Moreno drew a walk, and then Jace Peterson hit his first (!) RBI triple of the night to get Thomas and Gurriel home:
A trip-trip-triple from Jace puts us in front! pic.twitter.com/EjXJ8dyEnw— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 26, 2023
But wait, there’s more! After Perdomo lined out on a rocket to third base, Hunter Greene walked Corbin Carroll, and you know how that turned out—Carroll pretty much instantly stole second. Another walk, this one to Ketel Marte, loaded the bases, and Tommy Pham extended his MLB-leading hit strike to fifteen games with a single to shallow right that brought home both Peterson and Carroll:
A 5-run frame thanks to Pham! pic.twitter.com/4RjtvD5X4V— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 26, 2023
With that hit, we had officially batted around, and Greene’s night was summarily over. Christian Walker, who had led off the inning with a flyout to right, came to the plate again and worked a 9-pitch walk off Derek Law, the new Reds’ pitcher. No more fun was had in this inning, though, as Gurriel struck out to end it. Still, a five-spot and sending 11 batters to the plate in one inning is nice. 5-0 D-BACKS
After his long rest while the offense was doing its extended bit of business, there was some concern expressed in the broadcast booth about the effect that might have on Pfaadt, but no worries, it was fine. Pfaadt came out for the top of the fifth and sat the bottom of Cincinnati’s lineup down in order, only needing eight pitches to get it done. The bottom of the fifth was nothing to report, and Pfaadt came out for the top of the sixth and recorded his fifth strikeout of the game before surrendering a single to center off the bat of longshot Rookie of the Year contender and parallel-universe Diamondback Matt McClain (we drafted him in the first round out of high school in 2018, but he decided to go to college instead), which, somewhat to my surprise, earned him the hook from Torey Lovullo. He was only at 86 pitches at that point, and had laid down five-plus innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, with only one walk allowed. But Torey came out and took the ball from him, giving it instead to Bryce Jarvis.
Jarvis has been pretty good for us since he was called up to be long relief, but it didn’t go well tonight. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced, recorded one out, and then gave Nick Martini his second dinger of the night, once again over the wall in right center, but this time with two runners on, which made it an unpleasantly close ballgame again all of a sudden. 5-4 D-BACKS
We got one back in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a bizarre confluence of events that involved back-to-back walks to Perdomo and Carroll to lead off the inning, a one-out hit-by-pitch that put Pham on first and loaded the bases, and then a Christian Walker pop-up out behind short that brought the infield fly rule into play, resulted in a collision between the Reds’ left fielder and their shortstop who had just made the catch, and allowed Perdomo to alertly tag and score from third:
You don't see this every day...but we'll take it. pic.twitter.com/ZTIGl8rfhh— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 26, 2023
Um, okay. 6-4 D-BACKS
Having apparently settled down, Bryce Jarvis pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, in part thanks to a Perdomo-Marte-Walker double play that erased the leadoff single he’d surrendered, and in the bottom of the frame, we struck back again. Sorta.
Alek Thomas singled to center to start the bottom half, and then Moreno singled him to second. Jace Peterson laid down a successful sacrifice bunt on his second attempt, advancing the runners a base. Perdomo singled on the infield, thanks to a deflection off the glove of the guy with the long name, driving in Thomas advancing Moreno to third. Corbin Carroll drew his second walk in as many innings, loading the bases with only one out, and Marte hit a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Moreno to tag and score. Then Tommy Pham launched a ball that initially seemed to have cleared the fence in right, but upon review it was determined that a frankly kind adorable young kid with a baseball glove and his parents and little sister in tow had interfered with it, so that was the third out.
11-4 8-4 D-BACKS
Joe Mantiply came out of the pen and sat down the top of the Cincinnati lineup in order, putting up another zero and only needing eight pitches to get it down, which was nice to see. We picked up a couple more in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a scary pitch that hit CHristian Walker in the head, a fielder’s choice grounder one out later by Alek Thomas, and then back-to-back RBI doubles to right by Moreno and Peterson. 10-4 D-BACKS
And it was a good thing, too, as Justin Martinez took the ball for the ninth, allowed the first three batters he faced to reach on a single, a walk, and a hit by pitch, before recording a strikeout for the first out of the inning. Sadly, though, he then gave up a grand slam—happily not to Nick Martini this time—and got pulled for Kevin Ginkel. Ginkel, thankfully, struck out two and ended this long, crazy, deeply weird game. And Brandon Pfaadt finally got his first win! 10-8 D-BACKS
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Lobster Etoufee: Jace Peterson (4 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 3B, +19.0% WPA)
Good Gumbo: Brandon Pfaadt (51⁄3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 5 K, +12.6% WPA)
What with the crazy rollercoaster that this game turned into after Pfaadt was taken out, it is unsurprising (and nevertheless incredibly pleasing) that we wound up with 290 comments in the Gameday Thread. A bunch of them went Sedona Red, too, but I’m going to take the one at the top of the list because it entirely captures the top-line point of what was most important about how this one turned out:
So hooray for that, and hooray for our Diamondbacks getting back to playing baseball again that is actually fun to watch. I hope you will consider stopping by tomorrow to see if we can secure the series win tomorrow, with one game to go after that. Be warned, though—Cincinnati sends Fenando Cruz to the mound to face off against....um...Zach Davies. Yeah, he’s back from the IL and is making his first start back tomorrow. I hope for the best, but well, you know. Take it under advisement. First pitch is 5:10 AZ time.
And now I’m off to sit on the porch and appreciate the odd, warm, relatively gentle rain that seems to have settled in over Tucson as I’ve been winding this recap down. Thanks to everyone who hung out tonight in the Gameday Thread.
As always, thank you for reading. And as always, go Diamondbacks!