The 2019 Phoenix, AZ version of the Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees has come to a conclusion with a two game sweep for Arizona. The two teams will face off again this season in a two game series at Yankee Stadium to end the month of July.
Today’s pitching matchup did not feature the premier name recognition of Tuesday evening’s contest. Merrill Kelly took the start for Arizona against Masahiro Tanaka, and Kelly had a slightly better go of it than his counterpart. Brett Gardner began the contest with a lead off single for the Yankees in the bottom of the first, but was quickly dispatched when Luke Voit promptly grounded into a double play. Voit’s double play began a stretch of Merrill retiring eleven out of twelve Bronx “Bloopers” in a row. I say “bloopers” because have you seen all the guys they have on the injured list? Yikes.
Kelly was on cruise control until he reached two outs in the fifth inning, and had to squeeze himself out of a bases loaded jam in that frame. Mike Tauchman had a full count leadoff walk to begin the top of the fifth. Kelly recorded outs one and two quickly on a Gio Urshela line out to center field and Tyler Wade fielder’s choice. Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed attempted to convert Wade’s ground ball into a double play, but the placement of the grounder took Marte away from second base. That combined with Wade’s speed prevented the successful conversion. Yankees manager Aaron Boone challenged the force out at second base as the replay appeared to demonstrate that Ahmed’s foot broke contact with second base before he had the ball. The replay umpires in New York upheld the call on the field. Cameron Maybin singled to center field on a full count and Mike Ford, pinch hitting for Tanaka, drew a full count walk to load the bases with two outs. A quick mound visit gave Kelly the confidence he needed to induce a Brett Gardner groundout to keep the Yankees scoreless.
It was not as smooth of a ride for Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. The D’backs got to him as soon as the second inning. The first three batters for Arizona in the second, Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, and Nick Ahmed went single, double, single, respectively, giving Arizona a 1-0 lead. Marte was on third and Ahmed on second with only one out when Tanaka spiked a breaking pitch in the dirt which got away from catcher Gary Sanchez. That allowed Marte to score pushing Arizona’s lead 2-0. Tanaka was dealing with an elevated pitch count by that point and, as mentioned above, was pinch hit for in the fifth. That wasn’t before Marte added an insurance run for Arizona when he led off the fourth inning with a solo shot to deep right center extending the lead 3-0. That home run would prove to be the deciding factor in the game.
Kelly’s day on the mound came to a conclusion with one out in the sixth inning. It was as if that stressful fifth had taken everything out of the tank for him. Luke Voit turned around a first pitch change up to lead off the sixth for a solo home run to left field. Kelly was able to retire the equally as dangerous Gary Sanchez on a groundout, but gave up a loud double to Gleyber Torres off the center field wall. Lovullo had seen enough by that point and wisely went to Yoshihisa Hirano in relief. Yoshi quickly notched a strikeout and pop out to strand the one out double at second keeping the score 3-1.
That score held until the top of the eighth. Aaron Boone was ejected from the game in the seventh inning. Boone was arguing that Wade’s back foot was hit by a pitch after pulling back on a bunt attempt. He had the right to challenge the play, but decided to argue the call instead having already lost a challenge earlier. Home plate umpire Paul Emmel had enough and ran him to the clubhouse early.
Yoan Lopez and Andrew Chafin followed Hirano to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to setup Archie Bradley for the eighth and Greg Holland for the ninth. Bradley hardly did much to gain confidence in his inning as he allowed New York to cut the lead to one run. His command was off allowing a lead off four pitch walk to Luke Voit. Sanchez singled to right field putting runners on first and second with no outs for New York. Torres grounded into a double play, but was able to advance Voit to third base. Mike Tauchman drove him in on a single to left field. The damage stopped there when Bradley induced Gio Urshela force out to end the eighth.
Enter Greg Holland for his seventh save in as many opportunities this season. His now eleven inning scoreless streak to begin this season continued today with a relatively low stress ninth inning. Wade grounded out on four pitches and was followed by another full count walk from Cameron Maybin. Austin Romine and Brett Gardner both produced fly outs to the outfield thus completing a two game sweep for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have now won twelve of their last sixteen games and three of their last five series per the Fox Sports Arizona broadcast. Another off day tomorrow as the team travels to Colorado for a three game series against the Rockies. It will be the two teams first meeting this season, and Arizona currently holds a four and a half game lead over Colorado in the National League West standings, so make sure to tune in.
Randy Johnson & Curt Schilling: Greg Holland +16.2 WPA, Merrill Kelly +14.7 WPA
Luis Gonzalez: Ketel Marte +24% WPA
Total comments: 275
Total commenters: 19
Commenter list: AzCutter, AzDbackfanInDc, DBacksEurope, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, PaulGoldsmith, Rockkstarr12, Smurf1000, Xerostomia, asteroid, kilnborn
DC led the charge today with 62 comments, followed by GuruB at 45, and Michael McDermott at 40.
None of which were turned red, but I won’t throw a temper tantrum considering it was a matinee game. For now just remember: