Shelby Miller was excellent, pitching a complete game shutout* in the win.
Things looked bleak from the get-go with this one, as the threat of rain made it's presence felt, postponing the start of this one by 30 minutes. That didn't stop Jean Segura from doing what he's been doing, as he stayed hot looking for the franchise record for hits in a season.
Segura led things off with a single, setting the table for the D-backs to strike first and maybe end this thing before the rain had a chance. Chris Owings obliged, moving Segura to 2nd with a single of his own. After an excellent double steal, Goldy was in prime position to get the team on the board and he did, lining a hard grounder into deep shortstop. Espinosa had no shot at home plate, and threw onto first for the first out of the inning and a 1-0 D-backs lead. That was it however, as Castillo and Drury flew out and struck out respectively to strand Owings at 2nd. Still not a bad way to start the game.
Shelby Miller's performance today was what we expected from him after the blockbuster trade brought him over in the off-season. His fastball was explosive, touching 97mph and his curveball had depth, getting a couple swings and misses on the night. The Nationals never truly threatened until the bottom of the 5th, when they used two singles to put a runner into scoring position, but Miller was solid, getting pinch hitter Stephen Drew to ground out to first and Trea Turner to fly out to DEEP right-center field. Granted that ball probably reaches the seats in better weather, but at that point the clouds were just about to burst onto the scene and ruin the day.
With predictions of a long rain delay, which could even push this game to Sunday, it will probably end Shelby's 2016 season. He's credited with a complete game shutout, pitching 5 IP, allowing 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. Since his return to the team in late August, he's pitched to a 3.98 ERA over 31.2 IP. That'll do just fine Shelby.
The offense continued to work Gio Gonzalez throughout all this, and who would you guess started the threat in the 3rd? Oh yeah, Jean Segura, who beat out a single to Gio to lead off the 3rd for his 199th hit on the season. If there's one thing Dave Stewart has gotten right, it is that. Another stolen base for Owings, who advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher put him at 3rd and Castillo walked on 4 straight balls to bring up Brandon Drury. He smashed a double to right, just over the outstretched glove of the RF, scoring Owings and moving Castillo the 3rd. Yasmany Tomas was intentionally walked to bring up Lamb against the lefty, and Gio got his out to end the inning on a sharp grounder to 2nd. Still, it was 2-0 D-backs with a solid Shelby Miller pitching.
With 2 outs, Jean Segura hit it deep in the hole and of course beat it out, giving him 200 hits on the season and 6 away from Luis Gonzalez for the franchise record. And eventually scored after two more singles from Owings and Goldy to give the D-backs their 3-0 lead, which would stick as the teams left the field for a rain delay after 5 complete innings. And that's the final! D-backs Win!
style="border:1px solid black;" width="450" height="450" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=1316600&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2016-09-28&team=Nationals&dh=0">
Monsoon Season - Shelby Miller (+25.8%)
Middle of Summer - Mitch Haniger (-12.0%)
With an infield single in the fourth inning tonight, Jean Segura has become the second Diamondback in franchise history to reach 200 hits in a year.
The only player previously to reach the mark was Luis Gonzalez, who had 206 hits in his 1999 campaign. Since then, the closest anyone had come was the 198 hits achieved by Gonzo two years later, as part of the World Series winning team. A.J. Pollock made a run at the mark last season, but came up short. He entered the last week of games needing 15 hits to reach 200, but managed only seven, to end on 192.
Segura, meanwhile, has been accelerating of late. In the 15 games he has played since September 13, and including this evening's three knocks in Washington (which have now become official, at the end of the fifth inning, and so can no longer be taken away!), Segura has piled up 26 hits, batting .413 over that time, going 26-for-63. The power hasn't been lacking either, with Segura having had eight home-runs in that time, to reach 20 homers for the season.
That double-bill of 20 home-runs and 200 hits hasn't been achieved by any National League hitter since Ryan "Asterisk" Braun in 2009. Add in the thirty stolen-bases also achieved by Segura this year, and it's an even rarer trifecta, achieved just ten times in NL history, most recently by Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins in 2007.It's even more unprecedented for a second-baseman. Only two regular players at the position have managed it: Alfonso Soriano for the 2002 Yankees, and Craig Biggio of the 1998 Astros.
In a season which been thoroughly disappointing in so many ways, the presence of Segura at the top of the order has been one of the most incandescent of bright spots for the 2016 Diamondbacks. The past few seasons have seen Paul Goldschmidt win our end-of-season MVP award at a canter - last year, with 80% of the votes. But this year, Segura promises to be a credible contender, and it's an entirely justified challenge, as he has performed at a remarkable level, likely far in excess of what even the most optimistic of fans would have hoped for, at the time of his trade from the Milwaukee Brewers in January.
2016-09-28T18:00:10-04:00A Shelby Miller start. Do we want rain or not? Shelby MillerRHP, 2-12, 6.47 Gio GonzalezLHP, 11-10, 4.51 Jean Segura - 2B Trea Turner - 2B Chris Owings - SS Ben Revere - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Anthony Rendon - 3B Welington Castillo - C Clint Robinson - 1B Brandon Drury - LF Jayson Werth - LF Yasmany Tomas - RF Brian Goodwin - RF Jake Lamb - 3B Danny Espinosa - SS Mitch Haniger - CF Jose Lobaton - C Shelby Miller - RHP Gio Gonzalez - LHP We'll see what happens with the weather today and tomorrow, with the forecast not exactly promising. This could cause significant issues, because any canceled games could have to be made up - likely on the Monday after the official end of the regular season. Importantly, that would only take place in the event there is not a decisive result between the Dodgers and Nationals, with regard to home-field advantage in the NLDS. Right now, Washington are two up on Los Angeles, with five to play. However, LA owns the season series (the first tiebreaker), having beaten Washington five of their six contests. This means If there's a cancellation today or tomorrow, and the Nationals finish the season with the same number of wins as the Dodgers and one fewer loss, then the canceled game would have to be played: if Washington wins it, they get home-field advantage. But if they have more wins, it wouldn't matter, so no replay needed. If they have even one fewer win, it won't matter either, because winning the make-up would put them in a tie with the Evil Empire, which would still go to Los Angeles .At least, that's my reading of how everything would shake down, anyway! If both today and tomorrow get canceled, things get a great deal more complex, so I suspect we'll see a strenuous effort to get at least one game in. Assuming there is a game, Arizona fans will be most interested in the performance of Miller, who looked as good last time as he has all season, throwing six shutout innings against a very good Baltimore line-up. It's the first time in 2016 we could genuinely say, "He should have got a W, but didn't" He's got a shot at ending with his ERA at a low for the year, if he can get it below the current best mark of 6.36, set on June 20. Hey, we will take these small victories where we can find them, and hopefully Miller can finish with a couple of decent starts, to give him, the team and us fans something positive to take into the off-season. [...]
2016-09-28T18:00:03-04:00Games until the blessed end of the season: 5 Shelby MillerRHP, 2-12, 6.47 Gio GonzalezLHP, 11-10, 4.51 Jean Segura - 2B Trea Turner - 2B Chris Owings - SS Ben Revere - CF Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Anthony Rendon - 3B Welington Castillo - C Clint Robinson - 1B Brandon Drury - LF Jayson Werth - LF Yasmany Tomas - RF Brian Goodwin - RF Jake Lamb - 3B Danny Espinosa - SS Mitch Haniger - CF Jose Lobaton - C Shelby Miller - RHP Gio Gonzalez - LHP We'll see what happens with the weather today and tomorrow, with the forecast not exactly promising. This could cause significant issues, because any canceled games could have to be made up - likely on the Monday after the official end of the regular season. Importantly, that would only take place in the event there is not a decisive result between the Dodgers and Nationals, with regard to home-field advantage in the NLDS. Right now, Washington are two up on Los Angeles, with five to play. However, LA owns the season series (the first tiebreaker), having beaten Washington five of their six contests. This means If there's a cancellation today or tomorrow, and the Nationals finish the season with the same number of wins as the Dodgers and one fewer loss, then the canceled game would have to be played: if Washington wins it, they get home-field advantage. But if they have more wins, it wouldn't matter, so no replay needed. If they have even one fewer win, it won't matter either, because winning the make-up would put them in a tie with the Evil Empire, which would still go to Los Angeles .At least, that's my reading of how everything would shake down, anyway! If both today and tomorrow get canceled, things get a great deal more complex, so I suspect we'll see a strenuous effort to get at least one game in. Assuming there is a game, Arizona fans will be most interested in the performance of Miller, who looked as good last time as he has all season, throwing six shutout innings against a very good Baltimore line-up. It's the first time in 2016 we could genuinely say, "He should have got a W, but didn't" He's got a shot at ending with his ERA at a low for the year, if he can get it below the current best mark of 6.36, set on June 20. Hey, we will take these small victories where we can find them, and hopefully Miller can finish with a couple of decent starts, to give him, the team and us fans something positive to take into the off-season. [...]
2016-09-28T16:13:31-04:00Continuing last week’s discussion where Jake Lamb was identified as one of two current candidates to examine for an early extension in order to ensure financial stability and flexibility for the Diamondbacks moving forward. Last week I talked about the Diamondbacks and the salary difficulties they have looming on the horizon. In the piece I posited that one approach which could be adopted to help offset some of those difficultes would be to start aggressively evaluating the current roster of players in order to find the best candidates for early extension of contracts, the sorts of players that the Diamondbacks could save money on by providing long-term security to in exchange for a discounted rate by buying out arbitration (and possibly even early free agency years) before arbitration even becomes a possibility. In the world of baseball, where all contracts are guaranteed, there is always risk when signing players to big money, or to multiple years. Extending players before they even reach arbitration eligibility comes with its own set of risks. The inexpensive years of team control come with less cash savings. The sample size of performance tends to be smaller, allowing for greater volatility in player performance versus expectation. Lastly, such contracts tend to be fo a minimum of four or five years, enough to buy out all arbitration years, and possibly a free agent season. When examining the budgets of mid-market teams like the Diamondbacks, this is essentially a long-term contract commitment. Because of the nature of baseball, such contracts tend to be difficult to move should they not work out. After all, if the team is happy with the contract, the player is overperforming expectations, and is therefore kept. However, if the team is unhappy, then it likely means that the player is underperforming the contract, and such players are hard to move should the team need to move on from a bad signing. These dangers likely explain part of why the Diamondbacks have never been terribly aggressive about early extensions. Another reason could simply be because the team has had few talents over the years truly worth considering for such a contract extension. Keeping all of this in mind, the first candidate being examined is Jake Lamb. The Case For: For years now, third base has been a veritable black hole of suck. Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury are trying to change that. Coming up through the minors, Lamb displayed plus defense and a bat with pop. Unlike most of the Diamondbacks’ hitting prospects, Lamb also demonstrated the ability to take a walk. The fact that Lamb also bats left-handed is a plus for this squad. With Ender Inciarte traded last offseason, the Diamondbacks went from thin to laughably undermanned from the left-handed batter’s box. The fact that Lamb can be slotted between Goldschmidt and Castillo or Tomás is not a small thing, especially given how much time David Peralta has missed over the last two seasons. While being the NL RBI leader at the all-star break is largely a matter of luck and team performance, what being such a player showed is that Jake Lamb is very capable of being a run-producing bat in the heart of the order to help complement Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and potentially David Peralta. With a .291/.371/.616 triple slash to go with 61 RBI before the break, Jake Lamb was a potential all-star. Given that the expectation is that he will only improve with practice and exposure, ther is plenty of reason to be bullish that Lamb could be a corenerstone contributor moving forward. Should he begin displaying the defense he was known to have in the minors, he could potentially function as a mirror of Paul Goldschmidt across the diamond. The Case Against: Jake Lamb’s performance since the break has not done anything to inspire confidence in his bat. Furthermore, Lamb’s defense at third base has been marginal to say the least. As good as he was in the first half, he has been[...]
2016-09-28T10:26:25-04:00The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Matt Kock to make his first major league start against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals. The end result was pretty much what one would expect. Arizona 2, Washington 4 Arizona’s Matt Koch made his first start of his major league career and was impressive. The young right-hander, the return in the Addison Reed trade, went 5+ innings, allowing only two runs, those given up by Randall Delgado after Koch left the game with two on in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for Koch and the Diamondbacks, that was only good enough to earn a no-decision, as Max Scherzer did his typical thing and struck out 10 while only allowing two runs through six full innings. Related: Koch Impresses Related: Koch Making Case for Rotation Related: Koch Shows Potential Pollock, Diamondbacks Visit Walter Reed In what has become an annual pilgrimige for the Diamondbacks when visiting Washingtron D.C. to play the Nationals, A.J. Pollock, Robbie Ray, Chip Hale, and others visited Walter Reed in support of troops injured serving in the United States military. Diamondbacks Should Fix Problem, Not Blame Jack Magruder makes his case for keeping the Diamondbacks front office and coaching staff togetehr, hoping that De Jon Watson is the one and only sacrificial lamb Around MLB Tigers Rout of Indians Pulls Them Within 1 Game of Wild Card The Detroit Tigers have spent much of the season on the outside looking in. Many things have simply not broken their way. Yet, with yesterday’s 12-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians, supported by 7 2⁄3 innings of stellar pitching from Justin Verlander, the Tigers find themselves only one game out of the palyoffs with a week still to play. A Potential Three-Way Tie for the Wild Card Brings Exciting Possibilities A 162-game season and the addition of a second Wild Card playoff team was supposed to alleviate the need for extra “regular season” games. This season, should the results break just right, the National League could wind up with a three-way tie for the final playoff spots, throwing the entire playoff picture into a wonderfully meaningful and tense chaos of October baseball. Reverse Standings Minnesota Twins 56-101 (.357) Atlanta Braves 64-92 (.410) +8 Arizona Diamondbacks 65-92 (414) +8.5 Tamp Bay Rays 65-92 (.414) +8.5 Cincinnati Reds 66-91 (.420) +9.5 [...]
2016-09-28T05:00:09-04:00The Osprey were unable to repeat as Pioneer League champions, going 33-42. But how did the individual players do? After winning it all in 2015, this season was likely a bit disappointing. They finished third of the four teams in the Pioneer League North division in both the first and second halves of the season, seven and nine games back respectively. Across the eight-team league, they finished sixth in both runs per game and ERA. Of particular concern, they had a league-worst on-base percentage of .336, while their pitching staff also walked more batters than any other team. On the bright side, the Osprey hit more home-runs than anyone else. The Missoula MVP for last year, Isan Diaz, is no longer with the organization, having been part of the trade to Milwaukee for Jean Segura and Tyler Wagner. He had a solid, though less spectacular season there, putting up an .827 OPS at A-ball, but having only turned 20 in May, remained young for his level. Left-hander pitcher Cameron Smith, who was the team’s best pitcher in 2015 had a severely curtailed 2015, and for the worst of reasons. He was suspended for 50 games in April after “an undisclosed violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” and so barely appeared this year, tossing three games in the AZL. Hitting (min 100 PA) Hits: Jasrado Chisholm, 70 2B: Eudy Ramos + Tanner Hill, 15 3B: Jacy Cave, 4 HR: Ramos, 13 RBI: Ramos, 43 SB: Chisholm, 13 BB: Ryan January, 26 SO: Ramos, 75 BA: Paxton De La Garza, .394 OBP: De La Garza, .455 SLG: De La Garza, .636 OPS: De La Garza, 1.091 We already discussed Paxton De La Garza in the Arizona Rookie League report, and am keen to see where he goes in 2017. So we’ll give the award instead to Eudy Ramos. The corner-infielder played mostly at third, and he finished tied for third-most home-runs in the league. Could do with some more walks - he had the same number of bases on balls as bombs! - but he was aged 20 for the entire season, and will likely move up to a full-season league for 2017. Among the younger players, 19-year-old catcher Ryan January led the team in walks, and had an .846 OPS, while the even younger Jasrado Chisholm batted .281 with nine home-runs, before going off to play for Great Britain in the recent WBC qualifier [he was born in the former British colony of the Bahamas]. He went up there against team-mate Gabriel Maciel, who was part of the Brazilian roster. Maciel was also Missoula’s youngest player, having been born in 1999. I feel really old... Pitching (min. 20 IP) Wins: three tied with 4 Losses: Alex Gouin, 6 ERA: Tyler Keele, 1.54 Sv: Keele, 3 K: Rafael Pujols + Gouin, 46 BB: Williams Durruthy, 24 WHIP: Dean Jackson, 0.806 K/9: Erbert Gonzalez, 14.3 BB/9: Trevor Simms, 1.3 K/BB: Jackson, 8.20 As you can tell from the broad spread of names, there wasn’t one particularly dominant performance on the mound for Missoula this season. No pitcher won more than four, and with the team having only seven saves all season, no reliever stood out much either. Best of the starters was probably Ryan Atkinson, who had a 3.38 ERA over 29.1 innings, while striking out 33 batters. Palmer Betts (seven starts, 3.89 ERA) also did well, though both he and Atkinson are older than league average (21.5 for pitchers). Out of the Osprey bullpen Erbert Gonzalez stood out, fanning a gaudy 43 batters in 27 innings - 53% of all outs he recorded, being by the K. If he can reduce the 16 walks, that would be splendid. Rafael Pujols was the busiest reliever, throwing 40 innings with a K-rate of 10.4, but with 19 BB and 7 HBP in 40 innings, also needs to improve his control. So, the 2016 honor here goes to Dean Jackson, who combined a high strikeout tally, fanning 41 in 31 innings, with a low walk rate, issuing only five bases on balls. That led to a team-best WHIP of 0.806 for the Scottsdale-born Jackson, who was signed (nice beard, too) [...]
2016-09-27T23:40:39-04:00So it turns out that the game started at 4:10 not 5:10. Whoops. By the time I tuned in, the Diamondbacks had already stuck Max "DeadHorse.gif" Scherzer for two runs, so I had to figure out how they got here. Jean Segura wasted no time getting the team on the board. He took the first pitch Scherzer gave him deep for his eighth lead off home run of the season. He also became the 104th player to hit 20+ this season. That breaks a record set back in 1999. Interesting that an offensive record broke in the Steroids Era gets broken now, when pitching is generally acknowledged to be on the upswing. Would be curious to know any theories as to why that is. The Dbacks added another in the third. Jake Lamb lead off with a home run, which the GDT tells me was almost a home run. Two batters later, Castillo brought him home with another double. 2-0 Diamondbacks. Meanwhile Matt Koch was having his MLB debut, and having one of the better ones I can remember. By the time I showed up, he had already sat down six of the first seven he had faced, the only one reaching being Jayson Werth after being hit by a pitch. He kept that up for a while, taking a no hitter through the fifth inning, getting three strike outs and no walks in the process. Scherzer wasn't doing too badly either. After Castillo's double, he ended up sitting down 11 out of the next 13 he faced to finish his outing. Can't be too upset with the fact that the Dbacks only managed two off of him. However, given the events of the bottom of the sixth, you have to wish for Matt Koch that they would have. Koch went into the bottom of the sixth with a no hitter. Unfortunately, that's where it ended. He gave up a hit to the first batter of the inning, Jose Labotaton, and then issued a walk to the next. Between that and the fact that he was developing a blister on his hand, Hale decided to bring in Delgado instead. That proved to be a costly mistake. He walked his first batter, Trey Turner, and then one out later, gave up an RBI sac fly to Stephen Drew and then a three run home run to Anthony Rendon. 4-2 Nationals. The rest of the Diamondback bullpen did their job, and kept the score there the rest of the night. The problem is, so did the Nationals bullpen. It's almost like there is a reason the Nationals are going to the postseason and we aren't. src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2016-09-27&team=Nationals&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="350" width="350" style="border:1px solid black;">Source: FanGraphs Opening Day: Matt Koch 12.5% The Last Game of a Long Season: Randall Delgado, -42.8% 329 comments in the GDT tonight, which is busier than it looks, since DC and I combined for almost half of them, especially since he left early and I got there an hour late. He easily led the way with 102 and I followed with 55. All present were: AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, DbacKid, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Oldenschoole, Re Tired, asteroid, coldblueAZ, gamepass, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, noblevillain, onedotfive, piratedan7, preston.salisbury, thunderpumpkin87 COTN goes to Asteroid, for her suggestion for the hot dog race. Next contest at the park Relish, ketchup, mustard, hemlock by asteroid on Sep 27, 2016 | 5:49 PM up reply rec (1) actions Well, tonight is my last recap, and probably game, of the season. Thanks Delgado for screwing it up. Thanks Jim, for letting me do this for three or four seasons now. As always, it's been a blast, and I look forward to coming back, with the eternal hope that always accompanies a new baseball season. I'll see ya all there! [...]