Taijuan Walker was, once again, outstanding last night but, once again, the bullpen didn’t hold up. Walker left the game after throwing 92 pitches through six innings, giving up only two runs on three hits. He was followed by J.J. Hoover and Andrew Chafin, who combined to surrender five hits and six runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Through six innings, the Diamondbacks and Braves were tied at two runs apiece. Down one run in the bottom of the 5th inning, Walker came up to bat and just crushed a 455-foot home run. Click on that little link to check it out, it was impressive.
After Matt Kemp homered for the Braves in the top of the 6th, J.D. Martinez scored when Chris Owings doubled in the bottom of the frame, tying the game 2-2. The wheels fell off in the 7th for the D-backs.
With Hoover in the game to replace Walker, the Braves led off the 7th with a single and a homer by Kurt Suzuki. Just like that, the D-backs were trailing by two runs. Hoover than issued a walk and a single before getting pulled in favor of Chafin.
With runners on the corners and two outs, Chafin walked Freddie Freeman to load the bases. Then, Chris Iannetta proceeded to throw the ball into left field on a pickoff attempt of Sean Rodriguez at third base. Two more runs scored.
Chafin came out again to pitch in the top of the 8th inning and gave up back-to-back home runs to the Braves. That made the score 8-2, with the D-backs trailing and the game out of reach.
Stats that matter
- Walker pitched a great game but was pulled early – 6.0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K, HR
- The bullpen was atrocious – 3.0 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 HR
- A.J. Pollock had another nice game – 2-for-4, 1 R
- Paul Goldschmidt had a decent game after a mini-slump – 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB
If this game felt eerily familiar, that may have been because the last time Taijuan Walker pitched it was against Atlanta. He left the game after a stellar outing, surrendering only two runs, and the bullpen imploded. So far in the second half, the D-backs bullpen has a 4.83 ERA. That has to get better or the front office needs to make a trade to improve the pen. Or both.
The Diamondbacks and Braves finish up the series on Wednesday at 12:40 pm MT at Chase Field. Patrick Corbin (7-9, 4.43 ERA) will take the mound for the D-backs.