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Diamondbacks 4, Phillies 7: Where did the home-runs go?

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Tallies were considerably harder to come by for Arizona tonight, but the defense and pitching weren’t up to much either.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Record: 35-33. Pace: 83-79, Change on 2018: -3.

It seemed just a bit of a pitching mismatch this evening in Philadelphia, at least in terms of major-league experience. Going for the home team: Jake Arrieta, with 235 regular-season starts under his belt, plus nine more in the post-season, including a 2-0 record in his pair of World Series starts. Going for the visitors: Jon Duplantier, making MLB start #3. Even if Arrieta is a long way from the Cy Young winner who went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA for the Cubs in 2015 [his ERA has increased every season since, and was actually a run higher than Duplantier’s coming in], that reputation is still a fearsome one. Maybe that’s why Jon seemed more than a bit tentative tonight.

The D-backs also seemed defensively indifferent early on. David Peralta looked shocked when Jean Segura didn’t stop at first on a single, though if the throw back in had been handled properly by Ildemaro Vargas, Segura could still have been out. At least that runner was stranded. In the second, the Phillies catcher legged out an infield single as Kevin Cron couldn’t dig out a short-hop throw. This runner: not so much. He was immediately followed by another single, and a three-run homer off Duplantier. Hey, at least it took 13 more batters before a home-run than yesterday’s game. But with another run following in the second, Philadelphia has been a rough stop for our rookies, both him and Taylor Clarke.

Meanwhile, the D-backs had apparently used up, not just all their quota of home-runs, but all their quota of early hits. Through three innings, they had just one, Ketel Marte’s single with one out in the first. They did have a chance in the third, after a pair of walks from Arrieta; Marte slapped the ball hard to left, but Jay Bruce made a good diving catch to extinguish the threat. Arizona finally got on the board in the fourth, after a lead-off double by David Peralta and a walk to Nick Ahmed. Carson Kelly had a two-out knock, doubling to right center, and bringing both men home. Christian Walker pinch-hit for the pitcher, representing the tying run, but grounded out.

Duplantier’s night thuse ended after just three innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk, with one strikeout, in 76 pitches. He was replaced by our other long reliever, T.J. McFarland, who worked a scoreless fourth, and Arizona were then able to pull to within one in the fifth. After a Jarrod Dyson walk and a Marte single, Eduardo Escobar brought Dyson home from third with a sacrifice fly, to make the score 4-3. But McFarland was unable to repeat the success of yesterday’s long reliever, by posting multiple zeroes. Not helped by a Peralta error, T.J. allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in the bottom half of the inning, and the Phillies extended their lead back to 6-3.

The Diamondbacks again had a pinch-hitter at the plate as the tying run in the sixth, after singles by Nick Ahmed and Kelly gave Arizona two on with one out. It was Tim Locastro who came off the bench, and he gave the ball a decent ride, before it died at the warning-track. Dyson flew out, and the chance was gone. Andrew Chafin took over for McFarland, and put two men on base before striking out Bryce Harper. I enjoyed Andrew Chafin striking out Bryce Harper, enormously. The RBI single which followed: not so much. Ketel Marte got that run back, with his 17th home-run of the season - he’s now on pace for a forty homer campaign - to make the score 7-4 in favor of the home side.

That was how things finished, though Arizona got the tying run to the plate again with one out in the seventh after Marte’s home-run. Escobar walked and Kevin Cron singled, but Vargas and Ahmed couldn’t do anything. That was the key problem all night for Arizona: they had plenty of opportunities to put together a big inning, like the Phillies did in the second, but went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The biggest positive down the stretch was probably a really good outing from Archie Bradley, who retired all six batters he faced, two of them by strikeouts. The last eight D-backs to come to the plate went down in order, and the series was leveled at a game apiece.

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
FM: Carson Kelly, +19.0%
AM: Ketel Marte, +14.9%
Two cans and a bit of string: Jon Duplantier, -25.6%
Crystal wireless: McFarland, -12.6%; Vargas, -11.4%

Present in the Gameday Thread were: AZDovs11, AZPerson, AzDbackfanInDc, BobDolio, Craig’s City Counsell, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, edbigghead, kilnborn, onedotfive and suroeste. Comment of the thread to NikT77:

The winning streak ends at five games, and we go into the rubber game tomorrow evening. Merrill Kelly will start that one for the Diamondbacks, with a 4:05 pm first pitch.