Record: 32-32. Pace: 81-81. Change on 2018: -3.
Off early from work and ready for the weekend, especially ready for some baseball. No beer once again, so the entertainment value of this piece may be a bit suspect, but I’ll do my damnedest to fix that.
Yet another long road trip after yet another tough home stand. We’re still not awful enough to count ourselves out of the wild card, but even Brutes like me wonder when the auction hammer will fall on our more moveable/desirable players. Who knows, maybe we come back home firmly in command of the wild card....maybe I’m a Chinese jet pilot.
Nothing really going in the first two innings, except a pitiful pick-off of Walker and a sensational, double-saving catch by Locastro. Besides that both offenses haven’t shown much against either Kelly or Stroman. On that note, despite our struggles we’re still ranked in the Top 10 in the majors for team OPS, SLG and runs. Sure hasn’t seemed that way and maybe there’s still is some silver lining on this team after all. Maybe this road trip will help define that more, or maybe the next series will confound us further.
No Jones this series due to some hammy tightness, but we get lots of Cron at DH, which also means the Brute Squad will make ludicrous amounts of Conan reference both in the gameday posts and social media. I say that because though the broadcast is trying to brainwash you in to thinking it’s pronounced Crone, it’s definitely pronounced Crom.
Crom laughs from his baseball mountain, he laughs at your three strikes.
Not much action to report on as we go in to the 4th, still tied at zero, and both Kelly and Stroman are fairly efficient through three innings and both have only allowed one hit. Sure would like to write about some fireworks from our Sneks, but a W is all I really need.
A Marte 1 out single, followed by a Escobar walk leads to our first real opportunity of the evening with Peralta stepping in to the box. The freight train comes through again and we’re up 1-0!
Walker then extends the lead by 1 more with a ground rule double followed by......CROM!!!! The 3 run blast by our resident Conan reference really blows this game wide open and we’re now in the catbird seat at 5-0. We seldom pray to you Cron, but you answered us this time.
Jays get a run back in the 5th off a Hernandez solo shot, but that’s all Kelly allows and we’re off to the 6th. 5-1 Dbacks
Cron can’t repeat what he did in the 5th (he seldom listens), but Peralta keeps that HR train rollings with a smash to right. 6-1 going in to the bottom of the 6th and I am loving this game and loving the Freight Train. He, Escobar and Marte have been an absolute godsend this season.
One hell of a double play turned by Ahmed! A poor underhand toss by Marte just ain’t enough to stifle the defensive excellence that is Ahmed. That aforementioned circus play followed by a Kelly strikeout of Vlad Jr. keeps the lead intact at 6-1 going in the the 7th.
Looking at the standings it’s bizarre to note our run differential is substantially better than the next two team in front of us: -36 for the Padres and +12 for the Rockies, compared to our +38. Is that a sign of our team’s overall inconsistency or thinning pitching staff? I’ll let you commenters discuss, but that tells me we’re likely better than what our record suggests.
Escobar builds up that differential just a bit more in the 7th as he singles home Dyson bringing our lead up to comfortable 7-1.
Merrill’s been great through 7, even with some minor excitement at the end of the inning, really can’t ask for much better of a game from him. Kelly’s been one of several bright spots in a season most of us felt would be a loss, still could end that way, but at least the 2019 Dbacks are sure interesting to say the least.
Speaking of interesting, good ole Archie is back on the mound in place of Kelly in the 8th. Fastball, fastball, fastball, fastball, 2-seam, 2-seam, fastball, fastball and fastball for the strikeout. Archie is nothing if not predictable, but at least he gets out of the 8th without the drama we’ve come to expect these last couple months. 7-1 D-backs heading in to the 9th.
Dbacks bats won’t go home just yet as Carson Kelly golfs one out of here to cushion our already cushy lead to 8-1. Loving opening a series in this fashion, that’s for sure, we should really think about doing it a bit more often.
McFarland is brought in to to finish this game up, and though some silly throwing errors give the Jays a pity run we get through the inning and game mostly unscathed at 8-2.
Kelly gets the much deserved W and Cron gets his first homer. Can’t ask for much more and let’s hope Greinke locks up the series win tomorrow.
Bells and whistles, by Jim
[Click to enlarge, at Fangraphs.com]
Keanu Reeves: David Peralta, +21.6%
Justin Bieber: Jarrod Dyson, -4.9%
Present in the Gameday Thread were: AZPerson, AzDbackfanInDc, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Johnneu, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeDavisAZ, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, Samburt, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, asteroid, edbigghead, ford.williams.10, kilnborn, onedotfive and suroeste. Let’s see, who got comment of the thread?
Zack Greinke gets the start for the D-backs tomorrow - it’s an early game, especially in Phoenix, with a 12:07 pm first pitch, Arizona time, as we look to lock down the series win, and also get the team’s record back above .500.