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Diamondbacks 3, Padres 1: Zack Godley comes up big

The D’Backs get a much needed boost from a key rotation member.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Record: 49-40, Pace: 88-74. Change on 2017: -4.

Coming into tonight’s game the D’Backs had been struggling on the current home stand with a 1-6 record. Much in need of a “stopper” like performance, it was Zack Godley’s turn to take the ball. During the pregame show on Fox Sports Mark Grace was recalling how Greg Maddux used to have the words “First Strike” written under the brim of his cap. Clearly this was going to be the key to the game for Zack, who had been struggling with his command , especially during his last start against the Giants.

Zack would get off to a great start, retiring the side in order in the first. After stranding a runner at 3rd in the 2nd inning, he would run into a little trouble and a little bad luck in the 3rd. After retiring Austin Hedges, he allowed a single to left by pitcher Joey Lucchesi, and Travis Jankowski would follow with a long single into the right field corner. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Zack induced a tailor made double play ground ball from Carlos Asuaje. The only problem is the D’Backs were in the shift with Nick Ahmed the only one on the left side of the infield and shifted close to 2nd base. He made a great play ranging far to his right, and got off a quick throw to get the force at 2nd. However, I’m sure much to the consternation of Brute Squad Patriarch “Angry Dad”, not being able to turn the double play allowed what would be the lone Padres run of the night to scored.

From there Godley would throw 3 scoreless innings, allowing just an Austin Hedges double and his lone walk of the night. Through 6 innings Zack had thrown just 81 pitches, 57 for strikes, (15 of 23 1st Pitch Strikes) and had a game score of 70, his best since his second start of the season. He was getting called strikes with the curve ball early on, and swings and misses later on balls in the dirt the Padres couldn’t lay off. It was a clinic.

Meanwhile Joey Lucchesi was throwing an excellent game of his own. David Peralta lead off the first with a with HBP, and after a sharp lineout to CF by Nick Ahmed, Goldy hit what off the bat looked and sounded like a sure HR. Fooling me, Bert, and everyone else, alas it bounced off the warning track and into the bullpen for a ground rule Double. That would be the last D’Backs hit for a while. AJ Pollock followed with a weak ground out and Steven Souza, after going up in the count 3-0, ended up getting caught looking on an inside FB.

Lucchesi would go on to retire the D’Backs in order through the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. In all he retired 14 men in a row and had held the D backs scoreless through 5. With Godley pitching his gem, Torey Lovullo allowed him to hit for himself to lead off the bottom of the 6, and he responded by working a 7 pitch walk. After a David Peralta strikout Nick Ahmed and Paul Goldschmidt would follow with singles to load the bases bringing up AJ Pollock. Who promptly swung and missed at a hanging curveball. You could almost hear the groans as fans anticipated more RISP failure. But Lucchesi would barely graze AJ for his second HBP of the night. That was it for Lucchesi, as submariner Adam Cimber entered the game. Souza would hit a weak tapper just to the right of the mound which Cimber misplayed, only able to get the out at first. allowing Ahmed to score. That would be all the scoring that inning as the D Backs took a 2-1 lead.

Raising some eyebrows, Torey pulled Godley from the game, bringing in Yoshihisa Hirano who was coming off his big meltdown on July 4th. Maybe Godley was fatigued after being out on the bases for so long the previous inning. Still a curious decision to pull Godley after letting him hit and with only 81 pitches

After getting the leadoff man, Yoshi would give up a base hit to Freddy Galvis, and then graze the top of the helmut of Austin Hedges on the 5th pitch of the at bat . Clearly laboring one got the sense that things were falling apart for Yoshi again as Wil Myers came up to pinch hit. But after a long 7 pitch at bat and many foul balls, Yoshi induced a groundball back to the mound, and turned the double play to end the inning. ( I think Yoshi needs a good 3-4 day break.)

From there, the D’Backs would tack on an insurance run, as Steven Souza would pick up his 2nd RBI of the game, this one on a sharp single to left, scoring Nick Ahmed who had lead off the inning with a double, his second hit of the game.

Archie Bradley came in and did his thing in the 8th, and Brad Boxberger did HIS thing in the 9th. Neither allowed a base runner, nailing down the win.

Not a great night for the offense, but they did just enough to back up fantastic pitching by Zack Godley and the bullpen.

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Baseball God: Zack Godley, +22.7% pitching; +3.2% hitting
Good at Baseball: Goldschmidt, +11.3%; Bradley, +12.9%
Scrub: John Ryan Murphy, -10.5%
Bad at Baseball: Peralta, -5.7%; Owings -7.3%

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Onedotfive brings home CoTN with some next level analysis. It took a HBP and a almost certain double play being botched by the Padres for the D’backs to come through with runners in scoring position tonight. Still looking for the lineup to link hits together, but we’ll take the win.

Edit: Arizona is now back in sole possession of the division lead as the Doodger blow their lead against the Angels in the bottom of the 9th.