Record: 63-47. Pace: 93-69. Change on 2016: +19.
And it was going so well, too. Even before we’d settled in on the couch - we had to finish watching Trailer Park Sharks first, before switching over to Fox Sports - the Diamondbacks were two runs up. David Peralta led off by dropping the ball over the head of the Giants’ third-baseman, A.J. Pollock walked, and Jake Lamb was hit by a pitch (After last night, I do have to wonder: coincidence? Or something more meaningful?), loading the bases with no outs. Paul Goldschmidt got the D-backs on the board with a sacrifice fly, and J.D. Martinez had a non-homer, doubling off the wall in the left-field corner, to score Pollock.
But then, the first in a series of questionable decisions occurred. Third-baseman Tony Perezchica sent Lamb around to score from first. Though the Giants certainly played the relay well, Jake was out by such a massive margin that I was left to suspect San Francisco could have gone a round of hackie-sack with the ball, and still been able to nail the Arizona runner at the plate. Rather than second and third with one out, we had Martinez on second with two outs, and he was left stranded there. But, hey, Taijuan Walker came out firing, striking out the Giants in order for the bottom of the first, and also had a 1-2-3 inning in the second.
In the third, Walker allowed his first hit, followed rapidly by his second, a double, which set San Francisco up with their own scoring opportunity: second and third, nobody out. However, Taijuan delivered some real fancy pitching, getting his opposite number to ground out to Goldschmidt, then a shallow fly-ball to left and a ground-out, leaving the Giants ruing their lost opportunity. In the fifth, Arizona took advantage of a throwing error by the obese racoon, Pablo Sandoval, who was making his 2017 debut for SF. But we could perhaps have had more here too, Peralta TOOTBLANing at second-base, and the D-backs eventually left the bases loaded.
That included Paul Goldschmidt being rung up on the latest horrendous call by a home-plate umpire (above). As shoe mentioned, we perhaps don’t mention the calls that go in our favor as much - but I’m still pretty tired of horse-shit like the above, especially since they almost inevitably seem to occur in games we lose by one run. In the sixth, another Giants error = another run for the Diamondbacks, and another missed opportunity to blow the doors off this, or at least put up a crooked number. Peralta singled home Jeff Mathis, and a passed ball put runners on second and third with one out. Neither Pollock nor Lamb could get the ball out of the infield.
Still, we were 4-0 up heading to the bottom of the seventh, and Walker was still cruising. He’d allowed only three hits through the first six innings, and though his pitch count was getting up there, I can see why Torey Lovullo wanted to try and stretch him for seven. With the A-bullpen thin on the ground tonight, and Walker doing well, three additional outs would have been very good. Unfortunately, it backfired in spectacular fashion: Taijuan couldn’t even get one out, San Francisco going double, RBI double, two-run homer, and what had seemed a relatively comfortable four-run lead had become one run in only nine pitches.
Jake Barrett and Andrew Chafin got through the rest of the inning, but Chafin wasn’t able to retire either of the two batters he faced in the eighth. David Hernandez came into an almost untenable situation, with runners on the corner and no outs, but did about as well as could be expected. He got Buster Posey to hit into a double-play, although that did allow the tying run to cross home-plate. After a strikeout wild pitch gave San Francisco a free base-runner, Mathis redeemed himself as the base-runner tried to steal second as well.
After two quick outs in the top of the ninth, Arizona mounted a late-rally. Goldschmidt singled back up the middle, Martinez went to right, and Chris Herrmann came off the bench for a pinch-hit walk. It would have been unutterably epic had Ketel Marte, in his first game back off the bereavement list, got a go-ahead hit in the ninth, but the baseball gods were not so considerate, and three more base-runners were stranded. That made 12 in regulation, and we added an unlucky thirteenth in the tenth, on a Jeff Mathis walk. He was replaced by pinch-runner Gregor Blanco, but he also ended up standing on third-base at the inning’s end.
T.J. McFarland appears to have become our designated long-reliever in the absence of Randall Delgado, throwing 50+ pitches in each of his last two outings. He got through the ninth, and almost the tenth. After putting the first two on, he then coaxed a big double-play ball off the bat of Brandon Crawford. But he was unable to get the third out, an infield hit to second letting the Giants steal this one. The loss allowed Colorado to climb back into the first wild-card spot, and the Cubs and Brewers both also won. But, perspective: this road-trip about which many were concerned can be no WORSE than 5-5, and a win tomorrow would still make it 6-4, which I’d call very successful.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Jaws: David Hernandez, +13.2%
Orca - Killer Whale: Andrew Chafin, -30.0%
Sharknado 3: McFarland, -24.7%; Marte, -12.6%; Pollock, -12.1%
Present in the GDT were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Basebal144, BenSharp, BobDolio, Cumulus Choir, DORRITO, DbacKid, DbacksMojo, DesertWeagle, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Juvi Juice, LamparT, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Oscar Goldman, SongBird, Sprankton, TylerO, aldma, asteroid, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, noblevillain, onedotfive, smartplays and soco. Comment of the thread went early, Jackwriter for this bon mot about everyone’s favorite overweight rabies vector.
Rubber game of the series tomorrow - which, personally, is what I was expecting, though in typically baseball-ish fashion, we won the game I thought we’d lose, and lost the game I thought we’d win! Patrick Corbin starts for the Diamondbacks, with a 1:05pm first pitch.