Jordan Lawlar won’t be the last D-back prospect making his debut for the D-backs, but the DFA of Nick Ahmed marks a stark contrast in team building going forward. For a while, Hazen had no choice but to go for the playoffs with a competitive team backed by solid veterans and very little in the prospect cupboard to work with. But with the disaster that was the shortened 2020 and 2021 seasons, led to high draft picks - namely Lawlar - who worked around a shoulder injury to make his debut just 2 years after being drafted.
Ryne Nelson got the call-up and start against a hot Cubs team. Much like the D-backs early on in the season, the offense has been on fire since July, leading the MLB in runs scored. The pitching has been just average, but it really didn’t need to be anything special while the offense went off. Ryne has shown mixed results in Reno. Although a caveat to that, the broadcast mentioned multiple times he went down to work on his slider, hoping to give it more vertical depth.
Nelson wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t need to be with the offense pushing the pace from the get-go and the weather playing a large factor. Multiple balls were hit deep into the outfield, but they died just short of the ivy-lined wall into the glove of D-backs defenders. At one point, Nelson retired 11 batters in a row before allowing his first hit to Seiya Suzuka, a triple off the wall in center. Candelario followed that up with a sac fly to score the runner from 3rd for the only run he’d allow on the night. In the 6th inning, he allowed a two-out double to Nico Hoerner, which gave way to the bullpen who were excellent once again.
Saalfrank, Thompson, and Ginkel combined to shut out the Cubs until the 9th, when Joe Mantiply continued his struggles, allowing 3 singles and a run before giving way to Paul Sewald to secure his 10th save as Diamondback.
The offense paced the pitchers throughout the game, starting with Tommy Pham’s first-inning home run to right-center field for a 1-0 lead.
The homers didn’t stop coming and they don’t stop coming, as Ketel Marte hit a two-run homer in the 3rd. It could’ve been more, with a Carroll single following a Perdomo single, but he was thrown out at 2nd in a strange play where Hoerner eventually tripped Corbin as he made his way into second base. Marte made up for the mistake for a 3-0 lead.
The team added runs in the 8th and 9th in multiple ways. A Marte walk preceded Pham’s 2nd homer of the night, another opposite-field shot into the basket for a 5-1 lead.
In the 9th, they scored their sixth and final run of the game thanks to the speed of Corbin Carroll. A one-out single and steal put him in scoring position, and a simple Marte single to right scored him from 2nd for our sixth run.
Despite the lack of Jordan Lawlar news - he had one hit - his impact was noticeable out in the field. He was all over the place defensively, moving to his left or right, adjusting on a poor throw to start a double play. For how good Perdomo has been this season, Lawlar’s performance is right there with him. And while the only thing he did have a problem with was keeping his batting helmet on, he looked poised and ready for the big moment.
For a team fighting for its postseason life, tonight’s game was a huge breath of fresh air. The pitching was great. The offense showed power that we haven’t seen in a while. If they can continue to play like this, they’ll all but secure a place in the postseason.