Record: 26-25. Pace: 83-79. Change on 2017: +1.
The last time I saw such slaughter on the edge of a cove, it was a documentary about dolphins in Japan. The D-backs offense, which mustered a total of five runs across three games in being swept by San Diego, surpassed that tally by the end of the third. Or in the fourth and fifth innings, your choice. The D-backs reached 17 hits while making 17 outs, scoring in each of the first six innings. I’m still checking the record books, but it might have been the most dominating early performance by Arizona since, as Michael mentioned, Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, where we had 19 hits through five.
And yet, the Giants led at the end of the first, which is what prompted the maudlin observation by Justin which forms this recap’s title. Arizona had taken the lead on a solo home-run by Ildemaro Vargas, who tomahawked a high pitch from Drew Pomeranz into the left-field bleachers. But Robbie Ray had a typically Robbie Ray-esque first inning, needing 27 pitches to get through it. He gave up a laser to the wall in left that was lucky to stay in the park, then hung a slider to Tyler Austin which did not end up so fortunately. The disappointment at the briefness of our lead was palpable. We’ll draw a veil over the identity of the SnakePitter who wrote “goodnight” at that point.
The second inning, however, changed the tone of the entire evening, as Arizona clawed their own way back into the lead. Nick Ahmed and Carson Kelly reached to start things off, but Tim Locastro and Robbie Ray both struck out, so it looked like the team were going to waste the opportunity. Ketel Marte and Vargas were made of sterner stuff, delivering the kind of hits - ones with runners in scoring position, and two outs to boot - which seemed like the stuff of myth in San Diego. Arizona retook the lead, and in the third inning, Ray would come up with the bases loaded and two outs, only to bang the first pitch he saw back up for the middle, driving in two more and chasing Pomeranz.
Having lost in 13 innings last night against Atlanta, seeing their starting pitcher leaving after 2.2 innings was... not exactly ideal for San Francisco. It worked out very nicely for the D-backs, however. They added three more in the fourth, on a bases-loaded walk by Nick Ahmed, followed by a two-run single from Locastro. Adam Jones had a three-run homer in the fifth, and Eduardo Escobar followed suit with the same in the sixth. An error extended the seventh inning to score the D-backs’ 15th run, then Marte went down and delivered Arizona’s third three-run homer of the game. The sense of disappointment was palpable, when we finally proved unable to score for the eighth consecutive inning.
Meanwhile, Robbie Ray set a new franchise record, having now gone 16 consecutive starts without recording an our beyond the sixth. Though after the first inning, where it looked doubtful he’d be able to get through four, having him get through 5.1 innings (albeit needing 105 pitches for it) wasn’t a bad result, and given the run support, easily enough to get him his fourth win. He hasn’t lost since April 3, a period of nine starts, Tonight, it was just that pair of first inning runs, on five hits and two walks, with nine strikeouts. Matt Andriese tidied up the sixth, and Zack Godley picks up his second save with three shut-out innings, allowing only two hits - both to the Overweight Ursidae.
Though you will not be surprised to hear, this recap is singing the praises of the offense. Jerry Narron = Manager of the Year. That’s the only conclusion which can safely be drawn from tonight’s game, with Torey Lovullo being absent at his son’s graduation. For Arizona set a new record for runs on the road: curiously, the three previous times they had scored 17 (most recently on April 17, 2001), were all in St. Louis. While I could have sworn they had done it in Colorado, they have never managed more than sixteen there. The 21 hits wasn’t quite a road high; they managed 22 against the Phillies in August 2013 - but that game did infamously go 18 innings.
Ildemaro Vargas had five hits, raising his batting average for the season by sixty points; Ahmed and Jones got four each, and Marte three. It wasn’t ALL good news, as Christian Walker’s recent troubles continued, going 0-for-4 with four K’s (and a walk). We did get to see the major-league debut of Kevin Cron, but he also struck out. My hero for the night, however, has to be Tim Locastro, who was hit by a pitch three times... for the second time in little more than a week, having done so for the Aces on May 16. There have only been eight 3x HBP games in the majors over the past decade, and he’s the first D-back ever to accomplish the feat. He now has seven HBP in just 29 PA... and just five hits.
Fun fact though: he’s not the only Diamondback to have more HBPs in a season than hits. That dubious “honor” belongs to Shelby Miller in 2017, who recorded zero hits but was hit once. Otherwise, the nearest in terms of ratio across all of baseball is the Cubs’ Chad Meyers, who in 2001 went 2-for-23 with four HBP. Do not try and tell me that what Locastro does is not a skill. It may not be a conventional one, and there are probably less painful ways to make a baseball living. However, if it leads to a .483 on-base percentage, like the one he currently sports, then I’m a believer.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Concorde: Ildemaro Vargas, +21.4%
The Spirit of St. Louis: Ahmed, +11.9%; Ray (batting), 10.9%
Spruce Goose: Christian Walker, -2.1%
590 comments - mostly happy, after the first inning! Present were: AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, Dano_in_Tucson, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Justin27, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Schilling2001, Sean Testerman, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Sprankton, Theolser4, Wesley Baier, asteroid, kilnborn, onedotfive and ponus. Some good comments from which to choose here, but NikT77 gets it. Rockstarr will be popping round for a nice chat and your liver in the morning. :)
We’ll certainly be hoping for more of the same tomorrow, when we face the Giants again - remember, folks, it’s a daytime game, with first pitch just after 1pm. Taylor Clarke will be starting for Arizona, though there’s still no word as to who will be making way for him on the roster...