Record: 69-63. Pace: 85-77. Change on 2022: +6.
The success of Slade Cecconi yesterday made Torey Lovullo look like a genius for holding Zac Gallen back to the Dodgers series. But tonight’s outing by Gallen kinda reversed that. Right from the start, it was clear Zac didn’t have it, and a pair of innings which he allowed two home-runs, proved too much of a burden for the D-backs to overcome.
Four batters into the bottom of the first, Zac Gallen and the Diamondbacks were already 3-0 down. After getting MVP front-runner Mookie Betts for his first strikeout, Gallen then went homer, single, two-run homer. Arizona found themselves with a quick uphill climb if they were to get back into the game. They did achieve more in the second inning, getting three hits including an RBI double by Gabriel Moreno. It's a shame there was a GIDP by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the middle. It was his team-leading 18th of the year, putting him into a tie for 10th on the franchise single season list. The last Arizona hitter with more was A.J. Pollock (19) in 2015.
The score remained 3-1 through the third, as Zac Gallen settled down. He was not getting many swinging strikes - only three to that point, of 43 pitches thrown. But he was getting outs, retiring eight in a row after the second home-run, four batters in. In the top of the fourth, the D-backs offense showed up. Alek Thomas drew a walk, and made it a one-run game on a double by Gurriel down the left-field line. Arizona then took the lead, as Moreno went the other way, for his sixth home-run of the season (below). The Diamondbacks put a further two men on base, with a lovely bunt single by Jace Peterson, and a single from Gerardo Perdomo. However, Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte couldn't do any more.
Gallen's streak of batters retired came to an end with a lead-off single in the bottom of the fourth. David "Dead to me" Peralta gave back an easy double-play ball, but Zac struggled to deliver the shutdown inning, walking the next two batters. He finally got a force-out to keep the score 4-3 to the visitors, with four innings in the books. After the D-backs went down in order, Gallen's struggles continued as he is his third walk to LA's first batter in the fifth. Not exactly what you want ahead of Betts + Freddie Freeman. Gallen survived, before a two-out single put men on the corners. He got Max Muncy for his second K, to strand the runners. After an 11:1 K:BB last start, 2:3 through five was not expected from Zac.
The only start this year where Gallen walked more than he struck out, was easily his worst of the year. That was May 19 in Pittsburgh when he allowed eight ER in 3.2 innings. Let the record show, I was looking this up, BEFORE the bottom of the sixth. There, the Dodgers again ambushed Gallen for a pair of home-runs, needing only seven pitches to go single, home-run, home-run. The Dodgers took a 6-4 lead, and it seemed to catch Torey Lovullo by surprise. Despite the obvious struggles, and Gallen approaching a hundred pitches, he had to face more batters before being lifted. His final line was nine hits, three walks and three strikeouts over 5.1 innings, with six runs allowed and a career-high four homers.
Enter Bryce Jarvis, with a man on first and one out. He walked Betts on four non-competitive pitches, but then successfully closed the book on Gallen. I think it was the Necronomicon tonight. Two down going into the seventh, we needed offense. I guess we did get it, as Marte had easily the hardest-hit ball of the season for Arizona, a double with an exit velocity of 117.1 mph. The previous high had been by Christian Walker at 114.3 mph. It was an empty achievement, however, Ketel being left stranded on second. Jarvis's control issues then allowed the Dodgers to tack on, a lead-off walk coming around to score. 7-4 to LA after seven.
There’s not much more to add. Marte’s screamer was the last base-runner the D-backs managed, as the final seven Arizona hitters went down in order. Jarvis did at least give the rest of the bullpen a night off, allowing a run over 2.2 innings on two hits and two walks. Just the one K there, and overall, Arizona gave up more walks than strikeouts for the first time since July 24. Moreno had two of the team’s eight hits, while Thomas and Merte each had a hit and a walk. But this was one of the nights where the L definitely deserved to go beside the name of the starting pitcher. Allowing four home-runs to the Dodgers is not exactly a tactic I would recommend.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Jaws: Gabriel Moreno, +25.3%
The Meg 2 - The Trench: Zac Gallen, -50.2%
The early deficit pretty much sucked the life out of the Gameday Thread, before it had barely got under way. But I did laugh at the only Sedona Red comment of the night, this one from kilnborn, after Peralta’s double-play.
He’s STILL dead to me... :) At least the Reds and Cubs lost too. We’ll hope for better things tomorrow night, when our staff ace takes the mound. Hey, even before tonight, Merrill Kelly’s ERA was better than Gallen’s, so that must mean something, am I right? I think it’s probably another 7:10 pm first pitch, but I’m not recapping, and have frankly lost the will to look it up. Check local press for details.