The NL West is the No Joy Division…
Record: 37-47. Pace: 71-91. Change on 2021: +14.
I’ll confess to being rather distracted for much of this one. I was multi-tasking between watching the game, listening to a Twitch 80’s music stream, and getting through Day 4 of the leftovers from the (frankly, excessive!) grilling carried out on July 4th. We’re now down to the last few head of cattle, and should be through those in time for Thanksgiving, if my arteries don’t resemble the I-10 in rush hour by that point. But, yeah, this very much had the feel of my last recap before the All-Star break. Then again, the broadcast did sometimes feel like a commercial for suites, and/or Zac Gallen T-shirt day, occasionally interrupted by a baseball game.
The team’s traded solo home-runs in the first. Ours wins, however, since Josh Rojas hit his harder (exit velocity 102.0 mph vs. 95.3) and it went further (408 vs. 387 feet) than Kris Bryant. Maybe, if Rob Manfred wants to spice up the game, maybe he could award bonus runs for especially impressive homers. For instance, +1 for opposite field, or if it went over 450 feet. Hey, the game is progressing inexorably towards those three true outcomes anyway, might as well embrace it? Or maybe that’s the Stella Artois Cider speaking. It was supposed to be regular Stella, but there was a mix-up in the ordering process, so this became an unexpected cider-cap instead.
The top of the second was highlighted by a couple of lovely bits of defense. Josh Rojas made a beautiful diving stop and throw, though the runner was (rightfully) called sage after review. However, he ended up making the final out of the inning anyway, on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double-play by Zac Gallen and Jose Herrera. Defense also played a part in the bottom half. After a Geraldo Perdomo single, the Rockies catcher tried to throw down to first, only for it to sail into right field, and Perdomo ended up on third. However, Sergio Alcántara rendered it moot, homering just over the fence in right, in his first at-bat since returning to the Diamondbacks (below).
The teams traded runs in the fourth. Gallen had been kinda nondescript. He’d got his usual K’s, just without a feeling of dominance. Colorado got a run back with one out, on a single, double and RBI groundout. However, the Arizona lead was reset to two immediately, without bothering to get a hit. Perdomo walked, advanced on a wild pitch, took third on a sacrifice fly by Alcantara, and came home on a sac bunt from Rojas, making the score 4-2 to Arizona. I don’t know what happened to Zac Gallen at this point: however, the pitcher who took the mound in the fifth appeared to be channeling a popular Manchester new-wave band of the early eighties. Okay, their song which inspired the title is She’s Lost Control. Close enough.
It happened quickly, when it did. He had men on second and third with one out, and Gallen did strikeout Charlie Blackmon for the second out. However, the next eight pitches were all out of the zone, first loading the bases, then driving in a run. Zac then hit C.J. Cron on the bottom of the hand, forcing in the tying run, and forcing out of the game a clearly hurt Cron. Gallen escaped worse damage, albeit only with some help from the umpire (#5 = strike 3 looking). His night ended after five innings, on six hits, three walks, a hit batter and seven strikeouts, with all four runs being earned. Zac’s season ERA jumped to 3.64, meaning Merrill Kelly (3.42) now has the best ERA among D-backs starting pitchers.
It seemed Colorado weren’t happy with Cron being hit, as Daulton Varsho got a pitch throw behind him in the bottom of the fifth. After Torey came out, the umpires got together and issued warnings to both sides. That infuriated Bud Black, and he came out to argue. Then Torey came out again: not sure why. Be interested to hear the post-game interview. There was more carnage in the sixth, as the Rockies took the lead. With a man on third and one out, a ground-ball was hit to Christian Walker, and he threw home, probably unwisely. For the runner arrived almost simultaneously, catching Herrera’s knee and taking a blow to the head for his pain. Nothing malicious, but both men were down for a concerning period.
That run, giving Colorado their first lead at 5-4, was charged to Sean Poppen, who had taken over from Gallen. Kyle Nelson had no better luck in the seventh, serving up Kris Bryant’s second home-run of the night, expanding the visitor’s edge to 6-4. Meanwhile, the Arizona offense had largely gone the way of Ian Curtis. They went down in order in the fifth and sixth, then after putting two on with one out in the seventh… David Peralta swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending double-play. Walker drew his second walk to lead off the eighth… and Varsho hit into a double-play.
Keynan Middleton and Luke Weaver combined to keep the score where it was in the eighth and ninth. Singles from Perdomo and Carson Kelly put runners on the corners with one out, Kelly is now batting 8-for-25 since June 26. Small sample size, yet perhaps he has turned the corner? A Rojas ground-out made it a one-run game. He then stole second; however, Jordan Luplow lined out, despite a 106.1 mph exit velocity and an .830 expected batting average. An obviously frustrated Luplow smashed his bat at home plate, and the D-backs sank back into a tie with the Rockies for last place in the NL West. Rojas and Perdomo had two hits apiece, and Walker’s two BB give him a K:BB this month of 4:9. No player has more walks in July.
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
Tremors: Geraldo Perdomo, +20.9%
Wild Things: Josh Rojas, +11.5%
RIPD: David Peralta, -23.8%
My Dog Skip: Varsho, -21.2%; Gallen, -16.9%; Luplow, -14.7%; Poppen, -12.7%
After a slow start, the Gameday Thread ramped up quite satisfactorily, ending at 224 comments. A good number of red ones as well, not least snark about the suite life. But the most rec’d belongs to NikT, in a discussion of Baxter, which seems fitting for this Joy Division inspired recap, while also referencing one of the great Fourth of July movies of all time.
We’re back again tomorrow, hopefully with a different outcome. It’s a 1:10 pm first pitch, with Madison Bumgarner on the mound for the D-backs. And remember, folks: Love WILL Tear You Apart…