Carroll’s big day, which included four hits, two stolen bases, and a home run, carried the D-backs through a game that started off as a pitcher’s duel between Logan Webb and Merrill Kelly. Kelly ended up outdueling Webb, holding the Giants to one run on three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. On a day he didn’t have his best stuff or command, he made three early runs stand to record his 17th quality start and 12th win of the season.
Corbin Carroll becomes the first rookie in AL/NL history to hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bases. pic.twitter.com/M8CEGYcMRq— MLB (@MLB) September 20, 2023
Among front office members, the importance of these games had set in even before then. As the Diamondbacks plummeted in the standings in early August, they began eyeing nine games against the Cubs and Giants not as a minefield, but as an opportunity. Shortly after that, even manager Torey Lovullo, whose job title mandates that he focus on the here and now, began glimpsing ahead.
“I started to look at this as being a very pivotal part of our season,” Lovullo said.
“I’m doing things with our starting pitchers that I haven’t done ever,” Lovullo said. “I’m clipping guys at 65-75 pitches, and I just feel like there’s a script in my head that I’m comfortable with. And I want their best effort, but I think it’s just a little bit different. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe in people, it just means that I’ve got a script that’s going in a different direction sometimes.”
Around the league, the Diamondbacks weren’t in anyone playoff pictures. People were calling it one of the worst second half to a season, ever. The Diamondbacks were never down and out from the playoffs though, there has always been a fighting chance. Arizona has recently taken control after winning five straight against Wildcard competitors. The Diamondbacks were 1.5 games back heading into a series about two weeks ago against the Cubs. Since that time the Diamondbacks have earned the second Wildcard spot.
With just one more home run, Acuña will join that exclusive club.
And start a new club of his own.
The 40/60 Club.
Mejia tested positive for Stanozolol and became the first player suspended under the major league drug agreement since San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for 80 games on Aug. 12 last year.
Mejía was suspended 80 games on May 17, 2022, after his first positive test for Stanozolol, a synthetic steroid derived from testosterone.
This means that a team’s head-to-head record against its rivals is more important than ever, as it can very well determine who plays deep into October and who goes home after Game 162. Consider what happened in 2022, when the Braves and Mets finished with identical 101-61 records, but Atlanta won the NL East title by virtue of going 10-9 against New York, which then fell to San Diego in the best-of-three Wild Card Series.