There is both beauty and frustration in pitcher’s duels. They typically make for an abbreviated game on time due to a lack of balls in play. It’s exciting to see a pair of opposing starters and the bullpens shut down the hitters, but my biggest complaint is that it can make for a difficult recap. Good thing there was free baseball to give me content at the end!
Jon Duplantier made his second career start and was far more successful than his first last week against the New York Mets. However, just as he did on May 31st Duplantier was only able to complete the fifth inning, albeit for different reasons this time. His command was far more consistent today, and even when he was on the border of the strike zone he was aided by generous calls from home plate umpire Adrian Johnson. Johnson gave room down in the zone and on the edges at times, but was consistent in giving the calls to both Duplantier and today’s starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenta Maeda.
Duplantier struck out Joc Pederson and Max Muncy back to back to begin the game, and also punched out Cody Bellinger to begin the top of the second. He was cruising early on with three of his first four outs coming by way of the K. Jon did not allow his first baserunner of the game until he issued a walk to Alex Verdugo to open the third. Rookie catcher Will Smith immediately followed with a two run home run to left field resulting in a two run lead for Los Angeles. Duplantier did not let the shot rattle him and retired the next three batters on seven pitches including striking out Max Muncy for the second time. Muncy would later go on to strike out for a third time in the sixth inning resulting in a stretch of seven straight at bats with a strikeout. Yikes.
Unfortunately, Kenta Maeda was equally as dominant today as noted above. Because of this, the first five innings of the game flew by needing roughly an hour to complete. Maeda struck out five of the first six batters he faced. On a called strike three at the bottom of the zone to end the bottom of the second, Torey Lovullo entered in a shouting match/staring contest with Adrian Johnson that was equally as intense as the pitching duel between Duplantier and Maeda. Nothing further came of it and the game progressed forward without further incident.
Arizona did not tally its first baserunner until the bottom of the fourth. Jarrod Dyson hit a lead off single to center field and advanced to second on a fly out from Eduardo Escobar. David Peralta doubled Dyson home with two outs making it a one run game. Duplantier handled business with relative ease in the fifth outside of a Kenta Maeda infield single. With the score within a single run, Nick Ahmed in scoring position, and Duplantier’s spot in the order up, Lovullo opted to pinch hit Kevin Cron for his starter. Duplantier’s pitch count was only at 71 through five innings pitched, so it wasn’t the easiest of decisions. It did not end up paying off as Cron lined out to Corey Seager at shortstop to end the bottom of the fifth.
The 2-1 score in favor of Los Angeles held until the bottom of the eighth. Andrew Chafin, Yoan Lopez, Yoshihisa Hirano, and Greg Holland handled innings six through nine, respectively, preventing further runs from Los Angeles. Chafin, Lopez, and Hirano each allowed a hit, Lopez and Hirano each also allowed a walk, but kept the game within reach.
Tim Locastro was responsible for the tying run in the bottom of the eighth. Who else? Hold tight while I copy and paste from my Tim Locastro recapping clipboard. He was (here comes the shocker)... hit by a pitch! It was the tenth time he has taken one for the team in only his 66th plate appearance this season. Locastro then put his elite foot speed to use and got a great jump in an attempt to steal second base. The only problem was that pinch hitter Carson Kelly hit a tapper to the mound, so although Locastro was safe there were now two outs in the inning. No matter as Jarrod Dyson doubled down the right field line, scoring Locastro, and tying the game at two.
Arizona and Los Angeles could not break that score in the ninth taking us to extra innings on getaway day again. I’m not going to go back and count how many times that has happened this season already, so just take Jody Jackson’s word for it.
Extras on getaway day! Book it!— Jody Jackson (@Jody_Jackson) June 5, 2019
Arizona had a prime opportunity to put this game away in the bottom of the tenth but failed to come through. Alex Avila and Nick Ahmed drew walks against Ross Stripling to begin the inning placing runners at first and second with no outs. Two well placed fly outs to the outfield probably would have resulted in victory for the Diamondbacks. For whatever reason, Locastro executed poorly on a bunt, so Avila was thrown out by a healthy margin at third base. Both Ildemaro Vargas and Jarrod Dyson failed to drive in the winning run, so it was on to the eleventh.
Zack Godley took over in relief in the eleventh for Matt Andriese who pitched a stress free tenth, and Godley was highly effective in his inning of work. Godley notched two weak ground outs in a return to normalcy, and struck out Chris Taylor ending the eleventh. Eduardo Escaobar was 0-for-4 on the day leading off the bottom half of the inning when he blasted a triple off the center field wall. If Arizona was unable to bring him in from third with no outs, we might have been staring at another loss. Dave Roberts elected to intentionally walk Ketel Marte to get to David Peralta. A lose-lose situation if you ask me. Peralta laced the first pitch he saw to right field for a walk off salvage victory of the last game in this series. Arizona has an off day tomorrow as they travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays.
A handful of D’backs with double digit positive WPA in this contest. That tends to happen in extra inning affairs. Truly a team effort victory and difficult to single out any one player from Jon Duplantier starting to a handful of men out of the bullpen.
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What’s up with the lack of red comments this season? Did you all fall asleep during this pitching duel?