Postgame notes and quotes:
Worley turns in a nice outing
Vance Worley continues to put up good numbers as a Pirate. Tonight he pitched seven innings, allowing only four hits and three runs. He carried a perfect game through four innings, and a no-hitter into the sixth. All three runs that Worley allowed came in the sixth inning, the big blow coming in the form of a two-run home run by David Peralta that put the Diamondbacks up 3-2.
Although the numbers look good, it should be noted that the D-backs made solid contact most of the evening.
"One big swing of the bat was the difference in his outing," Clint Hurdle said. "The volume of the work over the course of the night is still solid. First pitch strikes, guys retired on three pitches or less. Two walks, six strikeouts. It's a very good outing."
"I got ahead early in the game and made them swing," Worley said. "As the game went on I lost command of my two-seam fastball and was falling behind. Baseball is a funny game."
The Big Ern has a big ERA now
Ernesto Frieri came in to the pitch the ninth with the Pirates trailing 3-2. The Diamondbacks promptly collected four straight hits and two runs before Frieri recorded an out. After Ender Inciarte's single loaded the bases, Hurdle came out to get the reliever.
Frieri threw only one changeup during his appearance and his secondary stuff as a whole seemed to pose little threat, which left the right-hander throwing fastball after fastball up and over the plate. Ray Searage has some work to do to helping Frieri protect what used to be a very effective fastball with better secondary stuff.
"He got behind in counts at times and the ball elevated a little bit," Hurdle said of Frieri's appearance. "He didn't get his secondary pitches into play with any consistency."
Hurdle sounded confident that the team could turn Frieri's season around.
"That's why traded for him," Hurdle said. "Yes absolutely. You need to look at his volume of work. He's pitched in some big games. He's closed for a good team in a big market. Fastball has played. This game challenges you, then you need to find ways to recreate, rekindle or reignite."
Harrison pinch hits for Alvarez
In what has all the look of an emerging platoon situation at third base, Josh Harrison pinch hit for Pedro Alvarez when the Diamondbacks brought in left-hander Oliver Perez in the sixth inning. Harrison grounded out to shortstop on the first pitch.
Alvarez had a very good month of June (.299/.396/.483) and was 1-for-2 when lifted.
Hurdle was equivocal when asked if third base was becoming a platoon situation:
"I don't think so. Platoon meaning one guy hits against right-handers the other guy against left-handers? I don't think you'll see it that way."
If Hurdle continues to play Harrison off the bench, one issue to perhaps keep an eye on is how the he has hit when only getting one plate appearance against a pitcher. Most hitters perform better the more times they face a pitcher in a game, but the difference for Harrison is quite significant.
|1st PA vs starter||45 OPS+|
|2nd PA vs starter||117 OPS+|
|3rd PA vs starter||191 OPS+|
On the other hand, Harrison has a 162 OPS+ the first time he faces a relief pitcher, which could suggest he simply hits better the more plate appearances he receives in a game.
His career straight OPS as a pinch hitter is .452 in 89 plate appearances.
Importantly, these numbers are based on a very small sample size, so it is way too early to say he is uncommonly bad the first time up or uniquely good with more plate appearances. It is simply a trend to monitor as the season progresses.
Harrison singled in his second plate appearance of the evening.
(Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference)