Sunday Shenanigans 19: The Week of the Diamondbacksby Carter LaCorte August 22, 2021 0 comments
The Arizona Diamondbacks have not had the strongest season in their franchise’s history. The pitching has been horrible and the only bright spot has been Ketel Marte, who has been injured for a good portion of this season. But for the team that has been last in the league for almost the entirety of the season, things have felt better this week. It doesn’t make up for everything that has come before it but there is at least progress.
You can check out all the past Shenanigans here.
Rule 5 Ruler
After losing a series to the Padres over the first weekend of August, Arizona took the first of the rematch series to start the end of the second week. For game two, they sent out Tyler Gilbert. The Rule 5 pick had looked solid in his first few relief appearances and would be making his first career start against an elite offense. Gilbert did not just handle himself, he dominated. It took just 102 pitches for him to become the first pitcher in decades to throw a no-hitter in his first career start. He struck out five and walked three as the Diamondbacks clinched the series and won 7-0. For the fans who showed up, they did not just witness history; they were also greeted with a Christian Walker, or Christian Skywalker Star Wars bobblehead.
After dropping the final game of the series with San Diego, Arizona had an off-day. They then stayed at home to host the Phillies. Philadelphia, in a fight for the NL East with the Mets and Braves, may have underestimated their opponents. A sweep or at least a series win would be massive for the team. With potential Cy Young winner Zack Wheeler on the mound for one of those games, the Phillies just had to win one of the other two.
In game one, Taylor Widener allowed just two hits over five innings, Miguel Aguilar had his first career win as Josh VanMeter had a big game against Kyle Gibson and Arizona took a 3-2 victory. Game two saw Humberto Castellanos, Caleb Smith, and Tyler Clippard combine to allow just four hits as Ranger Suarez had a rare off-night. The Diamondbacks clinched the series with a 4-2 win.
They would not stop there. Facing off against Wheeler, the offense did not go away. VanMeter and Nick Ahmed both drove in two apiece, while Madison Bumgarner looked like his old self. He allowed just a run with five strikeouts, a walk, and three hits over eight innings of work. The Diamondbacks took a 6-2 victory, allowing just six runs over the series sweep.
If You’re Not Last, You’re Happy, Or Something Like That
After dropping the series opener to the Rockies, Arizona went 4-2 on the week. That doesn’t seem like anything special. But since June 6th, they had been the league’s worst. With the Orioles on a somewhat miraculous 16-game losing streak, the Diamondbacks had the chance to catch up. And sure enough, they have. Arizona sits at a prestigious 41-83, while Baltimore has fallen to 38-84. The team has nearly caught up to the Rangers as well, currently sitting a game back in the loss column. Is it good? No. Is it something to celebrate? Maybe in this really, really bad season.
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