File: 50-110. Pace: 51-111. Change in 2004: +1.
Tonight’s baseball game was an abject reminder of why I gave up on caring. Heading into 2021, the D-backs had lost ONE game in history where they had a seven-point lead. They did it TWICE this year (an 8-9 loss to San Francisco on June 15), as a 7-0 lead melted tonight as neither our starter nor the back of our field could get out when they needed it. The tragic number of D-backs to land the No. 1 pick in the draft is now reduced to one: Another loss or victory for the Orioles, tomorrow or Sunday, will.
Yes, this is my last recap of 2021, and I echo thoughts from previous recaps this week: “Thank goodness it’s over.” I entered this season with my interest in MLB already at a low ebb, for various reasons. And apart from the pleasant surprise of the first month, the 2021 campaign was a real pain. Rather than rekindling the love of the game, it felt more like a beating backed up with rubber batons. I remember 2004, but that was in the pre-SnakePit era, so I didn’t have to commit unless I wanted to. This year? No leak. Game previews and discussion threads, almost every day. That’s why I don’t want to be a professional beat writer. I appreciate the ability to say “screw it” and come up with something better to do instead. And this year there have been so many numerous things better than the 2021 Diamondbacks.
I want to thank all the writers very much, who have helped shoulder the burden. In other words, they would watch the games, read the reports and preview the series, so I didn’t have to. Special thanks to Jack, for his hard work as the official team ambassador. His daily effort was remarkable. But the writers are only part of the community here, and I also want to thank everyone who read, commented, recapped, or just hid. It might not be the busiest site in the SB nation, but in terms of community it can go with any of them. In a year when baseball has exploded, it’s the people here who have made it worth showing up every day.
“But what about the game? ” you say. “Really, should I do it?” ” I answer. But then muscle memory kicks in and the words start flowing. Although the first two rounds were largely noteworthy for another show in the #RobotUmpsNow campaign. Humberto Castellanos loaded the goals with a two-singles strikeout and a walkout (although one of the first perhaps should have been a strikeout, snapping Josh Rojas’ glove in third place). But the pitcher was up: it helped Castellanos escape with a zero, and he calmed down, with a 1-2-3 leading the third.
In three innings, Colorado starter Jon Gray had six K. However, the D-backs had a 7-0 lead, beating in the bottom of the third and hitting three homers. Things started with the bloops of Jake McCarthy and Geraldo Perdomo. Then Castellanos arrived, entering a throw for a 391-foot, three-run homer to the left (above). It was an Arizona pitcher’s first HR since June 24, 2019, when Zack Greinke pushed Clayton Kershaw deep. Only two pitchers had hit three-run homers in team history: Greinke on April 2, 2019 and Zach Duke on May 28, 2011. Ketel Marte followed with his 14th HR, David Peralta had a triple RBI, then Christian Walker his 10th bomb. Gray was due to have generic flashbacks in 2017.
With the expiration of ABC and possibly Universal DH (another shake up in my interest in the game), this could be the 30th and final home run for a D-back thrower. Indeed, he could be the last by any pitcher. It seemed to animate Castellanos, who dropped out of eleven in a row until the end of the fifth. But things went very wrong, very quickly. The Rockies began to hack and scored him for four singles, a double and a three-run homer in the sixth, going from 7-0 to 7-6 in just 15 shots. He was lifted with two strikeouts, charged with six runs on nine hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. An excellent outing … at five. Things continued to go against the D-backs. It appears the field referee and review team made a call, saying McCarthy was on a base steal attempt in the lower half.
For the D-backs, the bullpen had a good night’s sleep first, Joe Mantiply put in the sixth, Tyler Clippard worked the seventh and Caleb Smith looked great in the eighth, dropping a pair. But the Rocky Mountain relievers proved to be just as effective. Arizona’s best chance to add insurance points came after Varsho made his way to start the eighth – although he was luckier than good, popping the bunt in a space. dead behind the pitcher. Kole Calhoun then reached the defensive player’s pick, as the Rockies failed to get Varsho in second place. But Carson Kelly, Walker and McCarthy struck out: the Diamondbacks had fourteen strikeouts on the night, against a single walk.
Until the end of the eighth, the two sets of relievers had combined for 6.1 white innings on two hits, one walked and twelve strikeouts. Not bad considering that the bullpen were ranked 27th (Colorado) and 29th (Arizona) by ERA in the majors. However, you knew that something would probably give way eventually. And he did, in the top of the ninth. With lefties to come, lefty Smith was left in the game. Understandably, like all of Torey Lovullo’s other moves this year, it backfired as a home run tied the game at 7-7. Smith and JB Wendelken combined to allow two more runs in the ninth, and Arizona fell softly in the bottom half. I was surprised, but now I’m just … numb.
Click for details at Fangraphs.com
MySpace: Humberto Castellanos (hits), + 13.0%
Twitter: JB Wendelken, -46.4%
Facebook: Caleb Smith, -14.8%
It was a happy thread from Gameday, until it wasn’t. Were present: Blind Squirrel Found His Nut, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Keegan Thompson, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Rockkstarr12, Smurf-1000, Snacks & Dbacks, Snake_Bitten, Xerostomia k, gnenseig and mcbornig. Comment from the night in Keegan: It might not have been the most recorded, but note the timestamp. It turned out to be oddly prescient:
Elsewhere, the NL West is still not quite decided, because the Giants’ magic number has dropped to one. Fun fact: The Padres are now exactly as close to the D-backs as they are to the Giants. And in the wild card AL, Toronto and Boston won, but New York and Seattle lost, so still nothing decided there. Tomorrow, Zac Gallen will pick up the D-backs, with the first pitch at 5:10 pm. I’m sure I will have found something else to do.