It can be hard to move on sometimes after a big loss. In life, we all know that to be an absolute truth. In baseball, it’s actually quite the opposite. Take last night’s 16-4 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, for instance. There’s not a heck of a lot to reflect on there that can help soothe that open wound. But, I want to show that I at least tried, so here goes.
About Patrick Corbin’s outing. There’s not a lot of good that came from that, this much we know. He threw 70 pitches on the night over three innings. His pitch selection was 50% fastball/sinker and 50% changeup/slider. That’s a little lower than his season totals of around 63% fastball/sinker and 36% changeup/slider.
Corbin threw a higher percent of sliders last night than normal. He normally mixes in the slider around 25% of the time. Last night he threw it 37% of the time. He usually generates swings on his slider around 51% of the time — his highest — and that results in whiffs 24% of the time — again, his highest. Last night he actually got whiffs on his slider 31% of the time. So that’s good, right?
The real issue last night was Corbin’s fastball, which he throws more than any pitch, was not effective. Seven of his 22 fastballs thrown where put in play for hits. That’s a 50% higher number of balls in play than normal and when a pitcher can’t execute the fastball in professional baseball, it’s going to be a long night. And it was.
Another upside to last night’s game was that Arizona managed to get to Jon Lester, the Cubs best pitcher. He threw 104 pitches over four innings, entering in the fifth but getting pulled before recording an out. The way the D-backs got to him was by taking long at-bats, not necessarily by piling on the hits. In fact, he only gave up five hits. The D-backs fouled off 24 pitches last night. In four innings. That’s a lot of fouls and goes to show that the D-backs hitters were fighting hard to stay alive in long at-bats against Lester.
Rosales makes a nice impression, with the bat
For some reason this morning when I was thinking about what to write here, Roseanne Roseannadanna popped in my mind. You may remember to loveably whacky character played by Gilda Radner on SNL way back in the 70’s. Of course, I’m dating myself a little here but if you’re not familiar with the skit you should go to YouTube and check it out. I still think that was far and away the best talent ever on SNL. But I digress.
No sooner than the Diamondbacks traded for Adam Rosales he was in the lineup. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised when I saw the lineup yesterday and noticed A) Jake Lamb was sitting. That’s All-Star third baseman, Jake Lamb, in case you were keeping track. B) Brandon Drury was playing third base for the first time all year. In Chicago. Against the reigning world champs. In a pretty important series for the D-backs. C) Adam Rosales was batting third in the lineup. As protection for Paul Goldschmidt.
In his defense, Adam Rosales actually had a pretty decent night at the plate and almost hit one out for a homer. He finished the night 2-for-5 with 2 RBI and 2 strikeouts, including that double I mentioned. However, both Drury and Rosales booted sure-fire double play balls, one in the 2nd inning and one in the 6th inning. The Cubs scored a total of 11 of their 16 runs in those two innings.
I’m not implying that the D-backs would’ve won the game last night had it not been for those two errors. What I am saying is that it almost always makes sense to stick with your superstar players, regardless of matchups. Jake Lamb, A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez should almost always be in the lineup. Marching Brandon Drury out at third base instead of Jake Lamb was a bit confounding.
Things are never as bad as they seem
Sure, last night’s loss was tough, but it was only one game. The key for the D-backs will be bouncing back tonight with Zack Godley on the mound, which I fully expect them to do.
Of course, we all know that the D-backs are coming off a pretty rough month too. In July, they finished with a 10-14 record, their worst of the year. But considering how bad it felt, 10-14 really wasn’t all that bad. As of today, Arizona still has the fifth best record in all of baseball and a five game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card race.
Let’s also remember that the Diamondbacks just traded for three players, two very good and one great. The addition of those players is going to help this team down the stretch. And while August is going to be a really tough month, playing 16 games against a combination of the Cubs, Dodgers and Astros, they will survive it and they will be better prepared for September because of it.
More news and notes
- Max Scherzer hit his first career home run last night in the 2nd inning and then left the game with a neck spasm. With Stephen Strasburg already on the DL, having Scherzer out for any length of time would be a big blow to the Nationals.
- Evan Longoria became the second player in Tampa Bay Rays team history to hit for the cycle. His last hit, a double, actually was called an out but was overturned upon review.
- In case you didn’t notice, the Dodgers have won nine games in a row. Again.