While you East Coasters were sleeping, the Arizona Diamondbacks were busy crushing the San Francisco Giants spirit, piling on for an 18-2 win. It was one of the more lopsided victories for any team this season, and numerous Diamondbacks had outstanding nights. Here are four overreactions from the drubbing:
1. The Diamondbacks have the BEST OFFENSE IN BASEBALL HISTORY
The only offense anybody in baseball seems to care about these days is the Twins. That’s fine and all, but when you need eight home runs a game just to produce any sort of run production, you’re in trouble. It’s just like Jeff Francoeur, a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves – a team notorious for having knowledgable, talented, and likable announcers – said: home runs are rally killers. The Twins have killed 101 of their rallies this season, and are on pace to kill 327. That’s just not smart baseball.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks do things the right way. Of their 21 hits this game, a very encouraging 16 were singles – now THAT’S a rally, a sustained, coordinated attack from a relentless offense. And when manager Torey Lovullo did tell his players to hit homers, he picked the exact right moments. Adam Jones, Eduardo Escobar, and Ketel Marte hit three-run homers (the best kind of homer; solo homers are practically worth negative runs, two-run homers are a net-zero, and grand slams get rid of all of the baserunners, which totally takes the pressure off of the pitcher, and KILLS THE RALLY) in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, respectively. It was an unabated, economical showing from the Diamondbacks offense that sent multiple Giants pitchers to an early grave.
More importantly, it was an excellent slump buster for the Arizona lineup, whose 18 runs and 21 hits well surpassed the five runs and 16 hits they had earlier this week when they got swept by the Padres. The win improved them to 26-25, good for third place in the NL West, but their run differential (+39) indicates they’ve played more like a 29-22 team. It’s especially encouraging that they’ve performed at this relatively high level when an MLB-high 44 of their games have come against opponents with a record over .500 (they’ve gone 22-22 in such games). Their 4.15 team ERA has helped, but their offense has been, dare I say it, elite. They’ve scored the third most runs (264) in the National League, right behind the highly vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers (267) and Chicago Cubs (265). And guess what? The Cubs and Dodgers scored a COMBINED 15 runs today. The nine men in the Diamondbacks lineup are worth more three more runs than the 18 in the Dodgers and Cubs combined. And you tell me that Cody Bellinger is your MVP? Yeah right. Ildemaro Vargas (5 for 6, HR 3 R, 2 RBI tonight; 22 OPS+ on the season), would like a word.
Let’s do some projecting! The Diamondbacks have 111 games left on the season; let’s say they score a measly nine runs per game the rest of the way, which is only half of what they scored today, so even that is incredibly generous, especially when you consider that once Blake Swihart gets consistent playing time, he’ll blossom into an MVP contender. He might not get it this year, or even next year, or even at any time in his career, but if he did, he’d surely be a star. Anyway, assuming the Diamondbacks score only nine runs per game the rest of the season, they’d end up with 1263 runs in 2019. That would be the most in the history of the game – and all of that with 16 singles. Check and mate, launch angle crowd.
2. Tim Locastro IS A VAMPIRE
If you’re anything like me, you woke up this morning without any idea of who Tim Locastro was. He had played in only 33 games across parts of three MLB seasons in his career, and done nothing of importance. That’s okay, though, because tonight Tim Locastro put his name on the map in a big way by revealing that he is not a human, but some immortal being. My bet is on a vampire: I clicked the “show random video” fives times on his Baseball Savant page, and every video I got was of Lacastro playing in a night game, and that was all the evidence that I needed.
Okay, fine, you’re not convinced. You’re not willing to believe that vampires still roam the Earth, not in these dark times where Robert Pattinson has forsaken his cold blooded brethren to play Batman, mocking the very creatures he once portrayed (vampires would love to be part bat and part man, but alas, they can only be one at a time. A very low blow from Rob “Surprisingly Not A Bad Actor” Pattinson). Well, I’ve got plenty of more evidence, so pull up a chair, because school is in session:
1) Entering tonight, Locastro had already been hit by four pitches on the season in just 23 plate appearances (around 17%). After tonight’s game, 24.1% (seven of 29) of his big league plate appearances in 2019 have ended with him wearing one. That’s not even to mention the seven times he has been hit in AAA Reno thus far. All told, that’s a whopping 14 HBP in just 143 plate appearances so far this year for Locastro, which would project out to around 59 over 600 plate appearances. The record is 51 for Hughie Jennings in 1896. It’s simple science, really: vampires are cold blooded, but baseballs, held in pockets by umpires like a kangaroo holding a joey in its pouch, and then tossed to the pitcher for them to rub and create friction on, are very warm. Opposites attract, so it only makes sense that the warm baseballs are hitting Tim Locastro’s cold-blooded body at such a high rate.
2) Just before Locastro was hit with his first pitch of the night, one of the Diamondbacks announcers was discussing a dream he had had the previous night – a dream in which Tim Locastro happened to be hit by a pitch (the end of the discussion can be heard here). Dream manipulation is a well-known vampiric ability; Locastro implanted dreams of himself being hit by a pitch into the D-Backs broadcaster’s sleep, which resulted in this almost fortune-teller like moment. But why would Locastro do such a thing? Simple: it is clear that he was toying with me (I am well-established within the vampire community as a vampire enthusiast and tracker in my spare time; the 1994 film Interview With A Vampire is based off of my adventures tracking, interviewing, and studying vampires). He knew that I would be watching, and knew that I was just a few more hints away from piecing together his true history. What a game of cat and mouse!
3) Lastly, and most importantly, Locastro was completely unfazed by every single bean ball, which makes total sense. Vampires have uncanny healing abilities. Injuries that would mortally wound humans are barely scratches to their kind, and they completely recover in seconds. These baseball projectiles are like flies to him, and could never do any real damage. Sure enough, Locastro wasted no time tonight lallygagging at home plate after being hit, as they didn’t cause him any real pain. Instead, he was able to log some truly impressive home-to-first times. Take a look at this first one:
Using a stopwatch, I measured the time from Locastro’s first step out of the batter’s box to the point he reached first base at about 6.5 seconds. Compare that to this hit-by-pitch from 2008, where Coco Crisp is hit by a James Shields fastball:
In the entire five minute video, Crisp NEVER reaches first base – and he still hasn’t TO THIS DAY. It’s taken Crisp 11 years, and counting, to reach first following that HBP, whereas Locastro got there in 6.5 seconds. That’s elite. The second time Locastro was hit by a pitch was no different:
See how he takes just a brief moment to glance at his arm, as if to silently say, “That’s all you could manage? All of that for a drop of vampire blood?” Then, he heads to first as if nothing had happened. That’s twice in the span of a few hours that Locastro was beaned with a fast moving object, but it didn’t have any sort of noticeable effect on his 90 foot seed.
Here’s the final one:
Sure, it looks like Locastro is in pain for a brief moment, but more than anything else, that was an acting job. It’s annoying to him that he keeps getting hit, and keeps having to pretend that it fazes him. He put on the farce for a brief moment, but once again, as soon as he was out of the box, he was off to first like a rocket. In those three instances, Locastro averaged about a seven second home-to-first time; that’s not that far behind the full on sprint of a guy like Albert Pujols. Maybe the Giants pitchers should try throwing garlic, or even wooden stakes, next game.
4) Also, I found this strange picture of what appears to be Locastro alive and well in the early 1900’s:
3. Adam Jones was the BEST FREE AGENT SIGNING OF THE LAST 10 YEARS
When the Diamondbacks signed Adam Jones late in the offseason to a one year, three million dollar contract, it seemed as if they wouldn’t have much a place to play him. Then, Steven Souza Jr. went down with an injury, and Jones has played an pivotal role in shaping the best offense in baseball history. Against the Giants tonight, he went 4 for 5 with a three-run homer, three runs, and three RBI. He was removed in the game in the sixth, as Arizona attempted to show San Francisco mercy, but I shutter to think about what Jones might have done another at-bat or two.
Jones’ wRC sat at a very respectable 110 coming into tonight’s action, and is probably closer to around 115 now. Meanwhile, other notable free agents from the 2018 class aren’t faring all that much better – if they even are at all. Heard of a guy named Bryce Harper? His wRC+ is only 119, and he’s being paid 110 times more over the life of his contract than Jones is. Manny Machado? He’s right in line with Jones with a 115 wRC+ of his own, but he’s doing it while being paid an obscene amount of money, and being a terrible influence on all those Padres. Craig Kimbrel? This supposed top free agent target and future Hall of Famer hasn’t even appeared in a game yet. Adam Jones has been just as valuable as these big names for a literal fraction of the cost.
But it doesn’t stop there. We can look back on all the free agents from the past ten years, and I still would contend that Jones has surpassed them all. Matt Holliday hasn’t managed a full season of at least a 110 wRC+ since 2014. J.D. Martinez is, I’ll grant, an awesome hitter, but he doesn’t play the field, and should thus be ineligible from all awards, and should have his leg chopped off for essentially spitting in the face of this game’s great history. Adrián Beltré doesn’t even PLAY any more and Cliff Lee had a 37 wRC+ for his ENTIRE CAREER. Every notable free agent signing you look at has some sort of negative against them, but not Adam Jones. The only thing you could possibly say against that man is that he essentially ruined the Mariners by being traded for Erik Bedard, but that franchise is a mess for a lot more reasons than Bedard sucking.
So yeah, Arizona might have only played in 51 games so far in 2019, but Adam Jones has proven to be a more than serviceable bat, and he’s hardly costing the Diamondbacks a penny. Enjoy Bryce Harper for the next 13 years of your lives, Phillies fans. We D-Backs fans won’t even remember who Adam Jones is by that time, but we’ll certainly remember the season we dominated baseball after we crushed the Giants 18-2.
4. Zack Godley is an ALL-STAR CLOSER
There are a lot of numbers on a box score, so I wouldn’t blame you if you missed something here and there, especially in a game like this one where seemingly every Diamondbacks had runs, hits, and RBI spilling from their pockets like coppers. Hidden in all that noise is Zack Godley, who pitched the final three innings of the game for the Diamondbacks, and…earned a save?
That’s right, Arizona may have won this game by 16 runs, but it’ll go down in the books as Godley’s second save of 2019 – more than Giants closer Pablo Sandoval has had in his entire career.
The 16 run differential isn’t the largest in history for a save – that honor belongs to Wes Littleton, who shut the door on the Rangers’ 30-3 drubbing of the Orioles in 2007 – but it shattered the Diamondbacks franchise record. That was previously held by Randall Delgado, who earned the save in a game the Diamondbacks won by nine runs in 2017. It was one of the more unique saves in the history of the game (only 43 saves ever have come in games with a run differential of at least 16).
Godley was demoted to the bullpen recently after truly sucking through his first several starts of the season, but it appears the Diamondbacks may have stumbled upon something by using him as a closer. Overall in 2019, Godley is 1-4 with a 7.36 ERA, and a dismal 37/23 K/BB ratio. However, in his two save chances, Godley has tossed four scoreless innings, surrendering only two hits to go along with a sparkling 4/0 K/BB ratio. In short, put that man in a save situation, and he thrives. He has the right mentality for it, that gritty, give me the ball and let me shove it down their throats kind of attitude that only a closer can possess, and it was on full display last night. He added an incredible 0.000 win probability in his lockdown effort, despite having to gut through an average leverage index of 0.002.
Featured Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons