Walks kill a pitcher every time.
Just ask Diamondbacks’ right-hander Trevor Cahill.
Coming off five consecutive quality starts, Cahill was on his best roll of the season. Granted a pardon from the Arizona organization from his time in the purgatory of the bullpen and minors, Cahill returned to the major leagues with faith restored and zeal renewed.
Cahill proceeded to give the Diamondbacks some value in a $7.7 million investment for this season and, coming into his start Tuesday night against the Dodgers, Cahill was 2-0 and two no-decisions in his four decisions.
In the end, walks doomed Cahill and his lack of command was the difference in creating a night of horror.
While Cahill’s control out was out control, his penchant for walking Los Angeles’ hitters was costly. In the end, Cahill’s unbeaten streak ended at four as the Dodgers cruised to 9-5 victory over Arizona before 21,758 in Chase Field.
While walks represented the catalyst for defeat, Cahill’s inability to retire batters at dangerous times doomed the right-hander.
In the critical fourth inning, Cahill walked the first two hitters, caught Henley Ramirez looking at a called third strike but then surrendered five consecutive singles, good for six runs. In the process, Cahill helped the Dodgers to a large lead and assisted in aiding Los Angeles to break this one open.
Cahill lasted only 3 1/3 innings, allowed eight runs and six earned. That was the most he yielded since July 23 against the Tigers (seven runs, three earned) and seven runs, six earned against the Dodgers on April 13 in Chase Field.
“It’s tough to slow a team like that down when you don’t have your best stuff,” Cahill said. “My change-up command wasn’t there and I just didn’t have it.”
Even at the start, Cahill was shaky.
With one out in the first, he walked Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp made him pay with a rocket half-way up in the left field bleachers. Kemp transformed a 2-1 Cahill fastball right down Broadway into his 16th homer of the season.
Then, Cahill opened his dreadful fourth by allowing seven of the eight hitters he faced in the frame to reach base and six scored.
In the end, Cahill did not have a true explanation for his failure Tuesday night but manager Kirk Gibson thought the performance was an aberration.
“It’s only one game,” Gibson said. “(Cahill) was nibbling and threw the ball down the middle. He had no location and walked too many. Against a first place team like the Dodgers, you’re asking for it.”
Cahill’s effective string of five quality starts came to an abrupt end. In the end, he said there was no one to blame but himself.
“There’s no easy out in that line-up,” Cahill added. “After I started walking hitters, things snowballed. That’s a good team and they came at me.”
Offensively, centerfielder Ender Inciarte drove in three with two singles and tied a career mark for most RBIs in one game. Incirate also drove in three against the Pirates on August 1. Over his last nine games, he has seven RBIs and that’s coming out of the lead-off spot.
SOME NUMBERS FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT
The Dodgers are scheduled to send Cy Young Award-favorite Clayton Kershaw to the mound against the Diamondbacks.
Over his career, Kershaw, 15-3, 1.82 ERA on the current season, probably had more trouble against Arizona than any other team. Coming into Wednesday’s start, Kershaw is 9-7 lifetime against the Diamondbacks with a 2.61 ERA.
Yet, the numbers for this season are staggering.
In his last 15 starts, Kershaw is 12-1 with a 1.30 ERA. That includes his first career no-hitter and that was tossed against the Rockies on June 18. His 15 strikeouts in that game tied for the third-best overall in a no-hitter and equaled that mark for a left-hander with Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.
As well, Kersahw posted an 11 game winning streak from June 2 to August 10 and went 4-0 in July with a 1.07 ERA.
ACCOLADE FOR GOLDSCHMIDT
Prior to Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt received the Diamondbacks’ Heart and Hustle Award.
The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.
One player from each organization wins that team’s award and the final winner will be announced on Tuesday November 18 in New York City.
“(Goldschmidt) displays every trait they define for that award,” manager Kirk Gibson said before Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers. “Those around him learn by his example and he continues to make himself better and his team better.”