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Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
You never truly know just what you might encounter while in attendance at a baseball game. Today at Chase Field was the perfect example; everything from bees, to debuts, to home runs, to horrific bullpens, those that made it out to Chase Field for the Diamondbacks first afternoon affair certainly got their monies worth.
The reward for the D-Backs cooperating on the trip to Australia was a four-game set at home against the other class of the National League West. After this afternoon’s contest, Arizona fell to 1-5 overall against both the Dodgers and Giants, losing by a score of 8-5.
Before we could get into the matchup of two of the game’s craftiest starting pitchers, there was an unexpected interruption. Of all things to inhibit a baseball field in Arizona in the month of April, bees took to the area surrounding centerfield delaying the game just after the first batter.
Clearly not fazed by the delay (or any Arizona pitching, for that matter) was Brandon Belt who once again walloped a home run, his third of both the series and the young season. He wasn’t the only first baseman to flex his muscles on this day though, as Paul Goldschmidt crushed a pool shot in the bottom half of the frame to momentarily put the Diamondbacks in front. In addition to the blast, the home run extended Goldschmidt’s “hit streak” to 25 consecutive games, second highest in team history.
With the game notched even at two in the bottom of the sixth, Giants starter Tim Lincecum was just an out away from escaping a jam and heading to the showers. Mark Trumbo had other ideas. A two-run bomb to centerfield later and the D-Backs had pushed ahead by a score of 4-2 on Trumbo’s second home run of the season and already his eighth RBI (which is tied for the lead league, if that means anything).
A plane ride over to Colorado loomed, and there were just nine outs separating the D-Backs from a happy trip, opposed to a somber one. Judging by the final scoreboard, one could imagine things did not go too well for the bullpen…again.
Things began to unravel after Brandon Hicks took Josh Collmenter deep in the top of the seventh to saw the lead in half, and even after the D-Backs got the run back, it wouldn’t be enough for Will Harris. Coming off the bench was Michael Morse, who delivered the game-tying RBI single, signifying an already blown save for Harris. Rather than making a logical move to the pen, skipper Kirk Gibson tried to get away with letting him face only final batter, but Angel Pagan was having none of it. Barely missing putting it into the water, Pagan jumped all over the first pitch he saw to clinch the victory for his Giants.
In an age of such advanced sabermetrics, a team that is lacking in talent to its predecessors atop the division should be exploiting every single advantage they can muster. Where nearly no team employs the forward thinking, is in the use of relievers. For some strange reason, there are still specific roles for pitchers beyond just their handedness. Bringing in Addison Reed to pitch to either Michael Morse or Angel Pagan in a situation of maximum importance may have been the difference between winning and losing this game against a stout divisional opponent. For now, the game can be swept under the rug. But, come the dog days of summer, every game that was given away can be critiqued under the microscope.
If the pitching (or lack thereof) was already making you nauseous, things don’t seem to be improving on the near horizon. Heading to the Mile High city never does any positives to a pitchers’ ERA, no matter the time of year.
Getting underway at 1:10 P.M. tomorrow, Randall Delgado gets his first start of the season in opposition of Juan Nicasio and the Colorado Rockies. while the Diamondback bats have been hot enough to start the year, it’s the arms that now need to catch up in order for wins to begin piling up.