Grit Index: Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks finish season at even .500
Vintage Wade Miley was on the mound Sunday in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season finale.
Though he didn’t get the win — his season record landing at .500 (10 wins, 10 losses) — his team did, improving to .500, at 81-81.
Despite failing to factor into the decision Sunday, Miley was the pitcher that Diamondbacks fans got used to seeing in 2012, when the pitcher finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting to the Nationals’ Bryce Harper. His usual damage control tactics were right on point, scattering eight hits and a walk while allowing the Nationals to earn just one run. In the outing, the 26-year-old left-hander surpassed the 200-inning threshold, finishing the season at 202.2 innings pitched and an ERA of 3.55.
Miley allowed two runs, one earned and one unearned, in the 6th inning, thanks in part to a pair of defensive misplays. Nationals starting first baseman Tyler Moore reached on a throwing error from Martin Prado and later scored on a triple off the bat of teammate Zach Walters — a hit which was originally ruled an error on right fielder Gerardo Parra, who misjudged the sharp drive down the rightfield line. Walters scored on a double from Steve Lombardozzi, and Miley then managed to get three quick outs from the bottom of the Nationals’ order.
Miley returned for a 1-2-3 seventh inning and exited the game thereafter, having thrown 101 pitches.
The Diamondbacks’ offense, meanwhile, scored a first-inning run off of opposing starter Tanner Roark, who exited the game in line for his eighth win of the season, which would have improved his record to 8-1, with a 1.51 season ERA to boot.
The early run was unearned and as manufactured as they come. After a Willie Bloomquist leadoff single, Adam Eaton laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was misfielded and thrown over the covering second baseman’s head at first. Bloomquist advanced to third base and Eaton advanced to second on the play. In the following at-bat, Paul Goldschmidt used a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate Bloomquist, giving the All-Star first baseman a round 125 RBI on the season.
But the Diamondbacks’ scoring halted there, only to resume again in their final at-bat of the season (in the bottom of the eighth). Three straight singles by Eaton, Goldschmidt and Prado scored the game-tying run in the frame, getting Miley off the hook for the loss. Then, an infield single by A.J. Pollock — which included a head-first dive into first base — drove in the go-ahead run, which was scored by pinch runner Tony Campana, who was brought in to run for Goldschmidt.
David Hernandez, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning — improving his September ERA to 0.64 in 14.0 innings with 16 strikeouts, allowing opposing batters a .113 average — would notch the win, climbing to 5-6 on the season.
Brad Ziegler worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning, getting a pair of strikeouts in the effort to save the game for the Diamondbacks, which was his 13th of the season. Ziegler finished the season having pitched in a major-league leading 78 games while collecting a 2.22 ERA and an 8-1 record.
Goldschmidt, an MVP hopeful, extended his career-high, major league-leading hitting streak to 19 games with an eighth-inning line drive single to right field. Goldschmidt went 1-for-3 at the plate Sunday.
The Diamondbacks failed to earn Miley the win Sunday, getting just three hits and an unearned run against Roark, a rookie. The offense did, however, come around in the eighth inning to get their starting pitcher off the hook.
• The Diamondbacks’ end-of-season attendance total was 2,134,729 with Sunday’s finale crowd of 30,420.
• The Diamondbacks’ record was 81-81 for the second consecutive season, giving them 80-plus wins for the ninth time in their 16-year franchise history.
• The Diamondbacks set the all-time record for innings played in a season, surpassing the mark of 1,537 innings previously held by the 1964 New York Yankees.
• The Nationals’ Davey Johnson retired following Sunday’s game, having managed 2,408 career games while compiling a .560 winning percentage. Johnson also had a 13-year playing career, being selected to four All-Star rosters in that span.
The Arizona Diamondbacks open their 2014 season in Sydney, Australia, against this season’s NL West-champion Los Angeles Dodgers on March 22.