I have to be up really early tomorrow, for something kind of important (a job interview, as it happens, for a job I actually want), so I was really, really, *really* hoping that this game wouldn’t turn into the same sort of thing that happened last Monday, when my Monday recap partner got to write his first recap on the longest game by duration in Chase Field history. Don’t get me wrong, that was a hell of a game, and the good guys won, but I was thinking, “please, baseball gods, do not make me stay up until 1am before I can even begin writing this recap. Please, don’t do this to me.”
My prayers, happily, were answered, and even more happily, the good guys won again on the foundation of another brilliant start (7IP, 4H, 9K, 0* BB) from Zack Godley. Also, we got on the board early, and never lost the lead, so while there was occasional nervousness and anxiety, it never devolved into feat and/or despair. It’s nice to get the lead early, and hold the lead, and finish out the game with the lead. Yay for winning.
So. The game itself. Derek Holland started for the Giants, and I’m honestly not sure who he is, other than that he pitched for the Rangers during the period when they were actually good, and he was quite good too, and got derailed by injuries (according to Bob and Steve, he tore something in an ankle at some point by tripping over his dog while navigating the stairs in his home...poor guy, that anecdote made me feel for him), and is trying for a comeback this year with San Francisco. I expect we’ll encounter him again a few more times on down the line.
Holland struck Peralta out looking in the first on the sixth pitch (I’m still obsessed with starting pitcher pitch counts, I know, I know, I began doing guest recaps at the end of 2016, when that was an issue in almost every game) on a pitch that was actually in the strike zone, which will come up a bit later. Marte followed up by stinging the second pitch he saw past Gold-Glover Evan Longoria for a single to left. The ball was absolutely smoked...the StatBatMacDaddyCast or whatever logged the speed off Marte’s bat at something like 400 mph. It caused the fans at AT&T Park to make noises of awe. Then up came Goldy, with a bit of a grin on his face, rather than the pinched, slightly uncomfortable look it’s seemed to me like he’s had in a lot of his at bats so far. That felt like a good sign to me, and it was a good sign as it turned out. Holland left the fourth pitch of the at bat up and in the middle of the plate, and Goldy connected, hitting a long fly out to right center that didn’t clear the fence but dropped between Giants OFs Blanco and McCutchen and rolled to the wall in what is, apparently, termed “Triples Alley”. Marte scored easily, Goldy motored into third, and boom. 1-0 DBACKS.
[Apologies, it’s getting late and I can’t find a video of this that I can figure out how to embed...]
AJ Pollock came up next, had a nice five-pitch AB before getting a bit under a Holland pitch for a lazy, not-terribly deep fly ball to McCutchen in right. It was deep enough to score Goldy, though: sacrifice fly for Pollock and another RBI as well. 2-0 DBACKS. Then out came Godley, who seemed to not have the same stellar control that he’d had in his first two starts, which was mildly worrisome. Panik lined out to right on the second pitch, though, and Belt struck out swinging four pitches later. Cutch wound up lasting seven more pitches before adding his own K to the pile, in an at bat that was the first indication that home plate umpire Kerwin Danley’s strike zone was going to be kinda questionable. There were two strikes at the top of the zone that Danley called as balls--Zack should have been out of the inning in ten pitches, really--but he finally threw a filthy swing-and-miss curve to strike McCutchen out on the thirteenth pitch of the inning. Right on.
What followed after that, for mostly the rest of the game, was a whole lot of pitcher’s duel--Holland settled down to retire twelve of the next thirteen batters he faced, working around a walk to Marte in the 3rd while getting through six innings. Godley a bit of a rockier time in some respects (going to three-ball counts with every batter he faced in the 2nd) and giving up a leadoff single to Posey in the second. That was erased, though, when Godley induced Brandon Crawford to hit into a slick little Goldy-to-Marte-to-Goldy double play to end the inning. Having faced the minimum to that point, Godley then proceeded to strike out the bottom of the Giants’ order in the bottom of the third, and retire the top of the order in the fourth on a weak groundout and two more swinging Ks. Things got a bit dicey in the 5th, with Posey leading off again and stroking a single again, before being retired on an Evan Longoria groundout to third that was hit just a bit too slowly for the good guys to turn the double play. Crawford followed that with a single to center that allowed Longoria to advance to third. Happily, though, Hunter Pence popped out to Goldschmidt in foul territory to end the frame.
Zach then settled down again and retired the side in order, including leadoff pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez, who came in to bat for Holland. So the starter was out, always a good sign what with the state of the Giants bullpen. One Roberto Gomez came in to pitch for the
Dodgers Giants in the seventh, and allowed a one-out single to Chris Owings that allowed him to extend his hitting streak one more game. Sadly, he was caught out starting a steal while Gomez was still in his windup to Nick Ahmed, and was easily thrown out by Gomez at second base. TOOTBLAN! Perhaps somewhat deflated by this turn of events, Ahmed ended his at bat by looking at a called third strike.
By this point, Godley had thrown something like 84 pitches, so he came out for the seventh, even though the Giants’ batters ABs had been getting longer and more protracted over the last several innings. I’ll be honest..., with the heart of the order coming up, I was nervous. Especially when McCutchen began the inning with a hard-hit leadoff single that deflected off Marrero’s glove and dribbled into shallow left field. Posey followed with a popup to shallow right that Marte, Goldy and Owings all converged on, but which Marte failed to catch. I was horrified for a moment, but it kinda wound up being my favorite play of the game, because Owings had the presence of mind to scoop up the ball and fire it to Ahmed to short for the oh-so-rare-on-the-scoresheet 9-6 (RF to SS) forceout. It was pretty funny.
[Again, apologies, it’s even later now and I can’t find a video of this that I can figure out how to embed...]
And then, on a 2-2 count, on the 100 th pitch of the night, Zach induced Longoria to ground into the second Giants DP of the night. Boom. Gomez pitched the 8th, keeping the Dbacks scoreless around singles by Jeff Mathis and David Peralta. Hirano came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th, and promptly gave up a double to Crawford that hit the wall in more-or-less straightaway center. Pence sacrificed him over to third on a fly ball to Owings in right, and Gregor effin’ Blanco scored him with a groundout to the right side of the infield. Like Godley (who finished with 62 strikes in 100 pitches, and miraculously no walks, thanks to the capriciousness of umpiring RNG Kerwin Danley), Hirano’s control was iffy, but he managed to end the eighth by striking out the artist formerly known as the Kung Fu Panda. 2-1 DBacks
Sam Dyson came out to pitch the 9th for the Giants, and retired the side in order. And then...
Then, Archie came out to close. I honestly don’t think he threw anything but fastballs, one after the other, taking on the top of the order. It was a beautiful thing. Panik struck out on six pitches, Belt struck out on seven (giving him 4 Ks for the evening and thus earning him a shiny new golden sombrero), and then retiring McCutchen on a flyout to Owings in right to end the night. It was tense at times, sloppy with the umpiring, and Godley definitely got the benefit of some questionable strike calls, but it was all over in an astonishingly brisk 2h33min. We win!
☆☆☆: Zack Godley, of course.
☆☆: Goldy, for that legit triple, which was great to see.
☆: Kerwin Danley, for I think p*ssing off the Giants and their fans slightly more than he did our players and fans.
Nice, robust game thread, especially for a Monday game and one that ran so short. 523 comments from 40 different folks. Michael McD led the way with 73. Also present and accounted for were AZDovs11, Anachronistic1, BenSharp, CumulusChoir, DBacksEurope, DORRITO, Dano_in_Tucson, DeadManG, DesertWeagle, Desert_Devil, Diamondhacks, Dragan Nkemdiche, FormerlyChelsea75, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Keegan Thompson, Michael McDermott, MikeDavisAZ, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, PaulGoldsmith, Renin, Sean Testerman, Sprankton, Vaintiquity, Wesley Baier, aldma, asteroid, hobgobnob, hotclaws, kilnborn, megnetic, onedotfive, pcmonk, rustynails77, shoewizard, since_98, smartplays, and suroeste. CotN goes to suroeste by popular acclaim, with shoewizard’s comment included to provide context (HINT: on the broadcast, Steve and Bob were going on about the seagulls again).
Sorry this took so long to go up...it’s a lot harder and more time consuming when Jim doesn’t handle all the bells and whistles!