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D-Backs 2, Giants 4: Series Win Fades Away

TL;DR: Slade Cecconi made an impactful, abbreviated debut that was spoiled by his bullpen and a lack of run support.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants
Slade Cecconi’s MLB debut was surprisingly shortened and surprisingly effective.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One day after failing to have a single runner in scoring position (and the consequential lack of run-scoring that produced), the Diamondbacks managed to double that number - to similar effect. It was another disappointing performance for a unit that has slashed just .232/.307/.390 (.697 OPS) since the beginning of July. The offense certainly is not the only reason for this serious slump during that period, but it also hasn’t held up to its previous standard either. In that same period, the pitching staff as a whole has only managed a 5.42 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. That is perhaps the most frustrating part in this slide: there is no single part of the roster that has failed the rest. Instead, just as the current situation has come about by a series of poor performances, it will take the opposite to arrest this nightmarish skid.

At a different time, tonight’s main story would be Slade Cecconi’s MLB debut. I can imagine that while you’d certainly prefer to have your debut either in your hometown or at your home stadium, it will still be a seminal moment. It started in perhaps the most bizarre way: an overturned hit-by-pitch transformed into a strikeout. Lamonte Wade Jr leadoff the home half of the first inning by trying to avoid an up-and-in pitch that ricocheted off the knob of his bat, but was originally ruled as a hit-by-pitch. Instead, upon challenge, New York overturned the call and ruled that the ball was caught for strike three. The play acted as an excellent primer for Cecconi’s debut as a whole: flashes of potential mixed in with some wildness. At one point, he retired nine Giants in a row and mostly cruised until the fifth inning when he allowed the first three batters to reach.

Even worse, those three batters produced a pair of singles from J.D. Davis and Isan Diaz sandwiched around a Brandon Crawford triple that scored Davis. Diaz would return the favor for Crawford to tie the score at 2-2. Cecconi induced a double play immediately afterward from Luis Matos, but Torey Lovullo carried a short hook in the righty’s debut after just 59 pitches. It was a promising performance from a player that posted an ugly 6.38 ERA down in Reno this year and could go a long way towards stabilizing the rotation. Tyler Gilbert entered in relief and cleaned up his own mess from a Wade Jr double. Surprisingly, Gilbert came out again for the next inning and loaded the bases on three singles in a row, which prompted a mound visit from Brent Strom. Shockingly, Lovullo trusted the youngster to find a way to navigate through the trouble, but the very next pitch was rocketed down the left field line for a double that scored two runs for a 4-2 Giants lead.

For the offense, it was almost entirely limited to a wonky first inning. Geraldo Perdomo leadoff the game with a solid single up the middle and then stole second during Ketel Marte’s subsequent strikeout. Last night, Patrick Bailey’s laser arm ended the game when he picked off Perdomo when he snuck a little too far from first base. Tonight, he skipped his throw down to second and Crawford advanced to third on Bailey’s error. Corbin Carroll would collect on the RBI opportunity as he laced a pitch up the middle that was snagged by Crawford but still scored Perdomo. Lourdes Gurriel Jr continued his hot streak by doubling ahead of Jace Peterson’s RBI-single. Unfortunately, Peterson got a little greedy and was easily thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. It was the last time the D-Backs would have a runner in scoring position throughout the rest of the game.

The slow, inexorable decline started early.