Record: 71-57. Pace: 90-72. Change on 2017: +1.
A certain someone on the SnakePit has been quite vocal about suggesting that Zack Godley should be the D-backs #3 starter in the playoffs, with Zack Greinke consigned to a long relief role. It’s notable that the same SnakePitter was notable by their absence after the second inning this evening, because the third inning was Exhibit A for why Godley should be Arizona’s Playoff Pitcher of Last Resort. Okay, maybe ahead of Robbie Ray. But after the third tonight, and seeing the way Godley fell apart, I’m not convinced even that is necessarily the case.
Of course, you could simply look at the stats and wonder why any sane person would advocate for a pitcher with a 4.59 ERA to be a playoff starter. To play the counsel of behalf of Mr. Lou Cipher for a bit, Godley has been better than that of late. But he’s just not a consistent pitcher, and that’s what you want in the post-season. Let me explain that like this. Pitcher A gives you six innings of three-run ball every time. With Pitcher Z, you have a 50/50 shot. Half the time he’ll give you six shutout innings; but the other half, he’ll allow six runs over six. Both men have exactly the same ERA, at 4.50. But I know which one I want starting in the post-season. And it’s not Player Z.
It has truly been a case of spinning the Wheel O’ Godley with regard to his starts this season. He has had six starts with a Game Score of 32 or lower: no-one else has more than three (and the two starters there are Shelby Miller and Matt Koch, who will not be troubling any playoff rotation in 2018). That’s six appearances for Godley which are worse than ANY thrown by Zack Greinke (season low Game Score: 34) or Patrick Corbin (36) this year. Over a 162-game season, you can take the good with the bad, to some extent, In a playoff series, a team just can’t take the risk of such a stinker, when they cannot afford to lose more than two or three times.
The third inning made up my mind. After a lead-off double, he recovered to strike out the opposing pitcher, who couldn’t get the bunt down. But as Alex Avila threw the ball back to the pitcher, after a pitch to the next batter, the runner on second took off for third. A stunned Godley airmailed the throw well past Edwin Escobar at third, allowing Seattle to take the lead. Fair enough. He was caught napping, and better it happens now than in the playoffs. Don’t let it happen again. But even with the bases now empty, Godley couldn’t regroup. He allowed four consecutive hits, allowing Seattle to score three more times, and the Mariners had all the offense they’d need on the night.
Again, this indicates why I doubt Godley is playoff-caliber. The postseason is a real pressure cooker, and you need to have a “closer’s mentality”. Allow a run? Put it behind you, and stop the scoring there. What we saw tonight from Godley was very much the opposite. He made a mistake, and things apparently snowballed from there out of control, leading to an Arizona loss. Godley ended another streak, on Mitch Haniger’s home-run in the fifth. He had not allowed a HR for nine consecutive starts, his last allowed back in June. It was the fourth-longest such run in franchise history. The longest? That would be 11 games, by Miguel Batista in 2002-03 and Patrick Corbin’s currently active streak.
Godley’s night ended after the fifth inning, allowing five runs on seven hits: he struck out seven and walked none, which is about the only bright spot tonight. His last start was also only five innings, with six runs allowed, and after a spell of three consecutive good outings, it seems the unreliable Godley has returned. Matt Andriese also allowed a home-run over his two innings, and T.J. McFarland worked two scoreless frames, so at least the bulk of the bullpen got the night off. But as Jack noted, the D-backs’ tendency to underperform in front of big crowds continued. A post-game concert tonight helped pull in 43,867, but Arizona are now 1-4 in front of home crowds of over forty thousand.
This likely wasn’t even as close as the score might seem. In the fifth inning, singles by Nick Ahmed and Jon Jay put runners on the corners with one out; A.J. Pollock brought a run home with a sacrifice fly. The Mariners got that run back in the sixth, but two errors by the Seattle middle-infield let Arizona score two unearned runs in the bottom half of the inning. The D-backs didn’t get a hit over the final three innings, and ended the night having gone 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Nick Ahmed had two of the team’s six hits, with Ketel Marte and Steven Souza each having a hit an a walk. Paul Goldschmidt went 0-for-4, ending his his streak at... whatever it was. I’m too apathetic after this one to look it up.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Vesuvius: Nicx Ahmed, +10.7%
Pompeii: Zack Godley, -21.7%
Herculaneum: Alex Avila, -12.9%
That third inning pretty much sucked the life out of this Gameday Thread, which fell short of 200 comments. Quality, though, before Azdbacksfan complains. :) Present were: BigSmarty, DORRITO, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jack Sommers, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, SedonaRed24, SongBird, Sprankton, Ubersnake, asteroid, coldblueAZ, david.munter, kilnborn, onedotfive, pyroman168, rustynails77 and smartplays. Comment of the night to coldblueAZ:
Elsewhere, at least the Rockies lost too, going down at home to the red-hot Cardinals, so our division lead remains at one game. The Dodgers pounded the Padres 11-1. Still only counts for one in the standings. :) They now sit 31⁄2 games back. Time for the D-backs to regroup, think about what they’ve done, and do better tomorrow. It’s a 5:10 pm first pitch pm Saturday at Chase Field, with Robbie Ray starting that one for the Diamondbacks.