There are times when even the greatest teams go through rough patches. A 162-game season is grueling. There’s no question that the Diamondbacks have had a difficult month so far. Yet, a sweep against the Cardinals in this four-game series will yield them a .500 record for July. The prospect of that just a couple weeks ago seemed like a stretch at best.
Last night the Diamondbacks showed us what they really are and, what’s more, how it looks when they play their game. They also showed just how lethal the middle of their lineup is. In a game with only two extra base hits — both by Arizona — the D-backs took advantage when they had the chance. Their new stud, J.D. Martinez, showed his value with one swing of the bat.
There had been four singles by both teams combined heading into the top of the 4th inning. A double by A.J. Pollock and walks to Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt loaded the bases. J.D. Martinez came to the plate and did what J.D. does — just hit dingers. He powered an opposite field grand slam that landed beyond the right field wall and just inside the foul pole. That gave the Diamondbacks a four-run lead they would not relinquish.
For their part, the Cardinals actually pitched a great game. Outside of that 4th inning, they held the D-backs to five hits and no walks. One inning was all it took and it proved one extremely important thing: it’s going to be very difficult for opposing teams to shut down the middle of the D-backs’ order four times a night. And that one time they don’t could make all the difference.
Zack Godley pitched one of his best games of the year. In fact, his 74 game score would suggest that Thursday’s performance was indeed his best outing of the season. And it came at the perfect time. He threw 105 pitches and scattered four hits — all singles — over seven innings.
The bullpen took over and allowed one hit over the remaining two innings.
Stats that matter
- Sparkling performance by Godley – 7.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 K
- The bullpen was incredible too – 2.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 5 K
- J.D. changed the game with one mighty swing – 1-for-4, 1 R, 4 RBI, HR
- A.J. Pollock is in a grove offensively – 2-for-4, 1 R, 2B
- Paul Goldschmidt had another good game – 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB
The D-backs showed on Thursday how one inning, one swing, can change a game. Are there going to be games where the middle of the order gets shut down? Maybe, but it won’t happen often.
What’s most significant here is the message a game like this sends to every other team in the league: make one mistake, have one bad inning in an otherwise great performance, and the Diamondbacks will make you pay dearly.
Game two of the four-game series is on Friday at 5:15 pm MT. Robbie Ray (9-5, 3.15 ERA) takes the hill against Michael Wacha (7-4, 3.93 ERA).