The Arizona Diamondbacks came into today’s game 3.5 games back of the NL Wild Card standings and news from Ken Rosenthal about the teams willingness to sell. The Diamondbacks needed a good win and a refresh after the 1-5 loss to the Miami Marlins yesterday.
Caleb Smith got the start for the Miami Marlins and immediately had to work through some high pitch counts per at bat. While Tim Locastro and Ketel Marte both struck out, they were able to draw out 7 pitch at bats that tested Smith’s resolve. Locastro did his job and was able to get 7 straight fastballs. Ketel Marte got the All Star treatment and got more offspeed pitches than four seamers (4-3). Marte’s ability to foul off Smith’s pitches was key in the development of the top half of the first. Eduardo Escobar was not so lucky as a two pitch at bat led to a lineout to center. Merril Kelly’s first inning was a little different as two three pitch at bats led to a line out and a ground out. Garret Cooper was able to draw a lengthy at bat that led to a fly out to center. The heart of the Diamondbacks order went down 1-2-3.
The top of the second is where the wheels fell off for Merrill Kelly and the Diamondbacks. The biggest issue was the inability to locate. Granted two of the three pitches barely missed and it was a 90.9mph fastball that was right in Curis Granderson’s wheelhouse. The single brought in Neil Walker. Two inside sinkers to Harold Ramirez seemed like a good plan however Ramirez was able to recognize the pitch and single to left field. A Miguel Rojas homer from a change up was left a little too high and tailed in towards the barrel of the bat.
However, Smith’s struggles would continue somewhat as a Carson Kelly single, Tim Locastro double and a Ketel Marte homer brought the Diamondbacks three runs and cut the lead to 6-3. A 25 pitch inning continued the struggles for Caleb Smith. The four seamer continued to be his go-to and the change up was being utilized a lot more as well. Kelly was able to shake off the rust in the third, albeit not without two long at bats from Neil Walker and Starlin Castro.
The fourth and fifth would be a trade off of runs for the Diamondbacks and Marlins as Adam Jones was brought in by a double from Wilmer Flores. Caleb Smith continued to work the offspeed and nailed Jones with a slider before giving up the double to Flores off a 82.2 mph slider. Kelly was a lot better as he was able to get more contact and get through the inning with only a single from Caleb Smith.
Smith hit his stride in the top of the fifth as a nine-pitch inning retired the Diamondbacks in order. Kelly would not pitch terribly in the bottom of the fifth, but a Brian Anderson homer to left came from a 89.7 mph fastball and put the Marlins three up again. Both pitchers would pitch well in the sixth, posting 1-2-3 innings for each teams. Smith followed up with another in the seventh, using the fastball/changeup combo well and he was able to get Yasmany Tomas, pinch-hitting for Kelly, on a curveball.
Greg Holland entered the game, fresh off of the decision from Torey Luvollo to ease Holland back into the closing role. Holland was all over the place and any value that might have been available at the deadline was dropping lower and lower. A shot of Holland as the inning continued to go downhill was telling. The inning started with a walk, two singles, and a double, then a sac fly ended the outing for Holland.
T.J. McFarland replaced Holland and walked Curtis Granderson on a number of inside pitches. Two ground outs, one driving in the Marlins’ 11th run, ended the inning and the nightmare for the Diamondbacks. Adam Conley entered the game for the Marlins after Caleb Smith finished with 7.1 innings. Conley was in a little bit of trouble as a Ketel Marte single and a Eduardo Escobar walk made things interesting. Christian Walker was able to corral a change up fading to the outside part of the plate to load the bases.
Ketel Marte scored on a line out and Wilmer Flores popped out to second to end the inning and the frustration from Flores was very visible. T.J. McFarland worked through his funk and had a quick nine pitch inning that relied on the sinker and change up mix. Tayron Guerrero entered the game for the Marlins. Carson Kelly began with a long-ball to deep center field just to the left of the wall. Guerrero continued his trend of nailing Diamondbacks, the recently off the IL David Peralta being his latest victim. After a conversation with the Diamondbacks trainer at home and first mixed with a little sprint to feel things out, he stayed in. Ketel Marte was the last Diamondback to get on base, walking before a strikeout from Eduardo Escobar ended the game. The Diamondbacks now have a 2-game losing streak thanks to the Miami Marlins.
Negative: Merrill Kelly -35.2%
Positive: Caleb Smith 10.0% Pitching Wise & 10.8 Offensively, Curtis Granderson 12.1%
Now we wait as we are a little less than two days away from the deadline. With the market experiencing a shock with the dealing of Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets, the amount of pitching needy teams has not decreased which bodes well for any Robbie Ray transaction. By the next Monday recap, we could see a drastically different team.
Thank you to the commenters: Augdogs, AzCutter, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, CA_Yankee_Fan, DeadManG, EphBoston, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Justin27, Makakilo, MesaDBacksFan, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Schilling2001, Smurf1000, Snake_Bitten, Tom Babbage, Totally Not Blind Squirrel, but still I apologize, gzimmerm, kilnborn, onedotfive, for today’s game for helping drive and create interesting conversation for our Arizona Diamondbacks!