Thursday, August 14, 2014

Game of the Day (8/13/14)

Diamondbacks 1, Indians 0 (12). Cleveland started Josh Tomlin, who has been one of the best control pitchers in the majors for a while... the best way to sum up Tomlin is probably the fact that he had allowed only 11 walks this year - but 17 homers (the career numbers are 69 homers, 76 walks - if you remove IBBs, the homers are higher). Arizona opposed him with Andrew Chafin, who was making his first major league start after posting a 5.40 ERA in 14 AAA appearances. (It's Reno in the PCL, but 5.40 still isn't great.)

Tomlin was perfect in the first; Chafin saw Mike Aviles reach on a Mark Trumbo error, but retired the other three Indians he faced. Chafin allowed a Tyler Holt single and walked Roberto Perez in the second, but stranded both of them and worked a 1-2-3 third; meanwhile, Tomlin completed his first trip through the Arizona lineup without allowing a baserunner.

Ender Inciarte became the first Diamondback to reach by leading off the fourth with a single, but Tomlin set the next three hitters down. In the bottom of the inning, Zach Walters drew a two-out walk and Holt singled; an errant pickoff throw moved Walters to third, Holt took second on a wild pitch, and Perez then struck out to strand both of them in scoring position. Miguel Montero and Jake Lamb both singled to start the fifth, but Tomlin left them at first and second, and Chafin countered a Jose Ramirez leadoff single with a double play in the bottom of the inning.

Inciarte began the sixth with another single, and Tomlin was pulled one out later, having thrown 51 pitches in 5.1 innings after not pitching in the preceding four days... which seems like an awfully quick hook. Anyway, Nick Hagadone stranded Inciarte at third after he moved there on a pair of productive outs. Eury de la Rosa relieved Chafin in the bottom of the sixth (the debutant had thrown 101 pitches, which is a much better reason to remove him) and allowed a Carlos Santana walk and nothing else. Hagadone combined with Scott Atchison on a flawless seventh, while de la Rosa worked around a Perez single.

Tuffy Gosewich led off the eighth by reaching third on a double-and-error, with the miscue courtesy of Ryan Raburn. Marc Rzepczynski relieved Atchison and struck out two of the next three hitters, with a Cliff Pennington walk sandwiched in between them. Bryan Shaw then took the mound and walked Trumbo to load the bases before inducing a rally-ending Montero forceout. De la Rosa's efforts in the bottom of the inning were comparatively tame, as he yielded a single to Michael Brantley and threw a wild pitch that advanced him to second before Santana lined out to strand him.

Lamb opened the ninth with a single and took second on a bunt before Shaw left him there; Matt Stites retired the Indians in order to send the game to a tenth inning still locked in a scoreless tie. Kyle Crockett retired the Diamondbacks in order in both the tenth and eleventh. Stites allowed a Yan Gomes leadoff hit in the tenth but followed it with a bunt-IBB-double play sequence to keep the scoreboard empty, and Randall Delgado gave up a leadoff double to Brantley in the bottom of the eleventh before leaving him on.

CC Lee (who would seem to be a hybrid of a pair of former Cleveland ace southpaws) walked Alfredo Marte to start the twelfth. Pinch runner Xavier Paul moved to second on a bunt and scored on a Gosewich single; Arizona had a chance to score again after another single, but their failure to convert on that opportunity was rendered irrelevant by Addison Reed successfully circumnavigating a Lonnie Chisenhall double in the bottom of the inning.

The Diamondbacks and Indians have both had below-average pitching so far this season; Arizona in particular has struggled, allowing the second-most runs in the NL. And on this day, their staffs were particularly patchwork, as it was the second game of a doubleheader.

So naturally, a group of generally less-than-overwhelming pitchers combined on 22 scoreless half-innings before the D'Backs finally broke through. And their timing couldn't have been better, because it came after the inning pitched by Randall Delgado - who was the losing pitcher in the first game of the doubleheader, and came out with a win in the second. So that's pretty fun.

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