The Arizona Diamondbacks dropped two out of three games this weekend in Philadelphia against the Phillies. There were tremendous highs, crushing lows and some bizarre news. However, for me, one play stood out and re-affirmed by already negative view of replay and the new rules regarding collisions at home plate.
On Sunday with the score tied at 2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Marlon Byrd lifted a fly ball to shallow right center. It turned out to be an adventure as Didi Gregorius kept backpedaling before the ball bounced off his glove. Ryan Howard, who was on second base, attempted to score the go-ahead run. Instead, he was gunned out at home by about ten feet, courtesy of Gerardo Parra. In the old days of baseball, side retired no damage done. Well, it’s 2014, silly, so the natural thing to do was have Ryne Sandberg protest that Miguel Montero was blocking Howard’s path as per the new rule. Replay was brought in and lo and behold, Howard was called safe and Byrd was awarded second base (why?). Just like that the Phillies scored what turned out to be the game-winning run. This is just another example of an egregious call thanks to baseball getting “with the times”.
Despite the terrible call, the D’backs have no one to blame but themselves for Sunday’s 4-2 defeat. All Gregorius had to do was catch the ball. David Peralta later kicked a ball in left field giving Philly an insurance run. The offense could have mustered more than just two runs and four hits in seven innings off Roberto Hernandez who seems to get pummeled every time out. It’s a shame because Saturday night’s victory was one of the best ones of the season. After falling behind 6-1 after three innings, the Snakes managed to tie the score at 6 after seven innings. In the tenth, Nick Evans put the exclamation on a strange day for him when he belted a pinch-hit, three-run homer to give Arizona a 10-6 win. It was reported earlier that day that Evans was signed by the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese League. He remains on the Arizona roster for now. Martin Prado had quite the game going 3 for 5 with five RBI’s.
The D’backs dropped the opener on Friday evening by a score of 9-5. Wade Miley had his first disappointing start in six weeks as he was shelled for five earned runs on eight hits in five innings. Alfredo Marte provided the feel good moment of the weekend when he came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit grand slam, the first home run of his Major League career. That got the score to 6-4 before Evan Marshall and Oliver Perez gave up the final three Philadelphia runs. Paul Goldschmidt smacked his league-leading 39th double of the season.
The D’backs are now 45-60 on the year and head to Cincinnati and face the Reds who are 1-8 since the All Star Break.