Spring record: 0-1. Change on 2016: -1
After one out in the bottom of the first inning during this afternoon’s Cactus League opener at Salt River Fields, things could hardly have been going any better. Shelby Miller had come out and thrown a 1-2-3 inning in the top half, and the D-backs had responded by putting up three runs. Paul Goldschmidt opened the scoring with an RBI single, after A.J. Pollock’s lead-off double, and Jake Lamb followed by delivering his first home-run - off a left-handed pitcher, no less - to make it 3-0 to Arizona. [It was projected as a 432-footer] What could possibly go wrong? Well, the Rockies putting up crooked numbers in the second, third and fourth innings, for a start...
Miller’s second inning didn’t go as smoothly as his first. Though in his defense, Brandon Drury failed to make a play on a ball at second-base, which you suspect might have been made in 2016. [If the meme last year was #InciarteWouldHaveHadThat, for 2017 it may well be #SeguraWouldHaveHadThat] Instead of a third out, it became a two-run single. Shelby, however, didn’t appear to pitch badly at all, earning praise from Tom Candiotti on the radio. Miller struck out three over his two innings, didn’t walk anyone, and threw 23 of 29 pitches for strikes. After the game, he said, "I felt good... Threw a lot of first pitch strikes which is what you want and then stuff-wise I felt pretty good."
"Right now, mechanically and pitch-wise, I'm real confident in what I got going." -- Shelby Miller after 2 solid innings in '17 spring debut pic.twitter.com/XCcTAh0y0N— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) February 25, 2017
He was followed to the mound by Archie Bradley, and if Archie was looking to get a jump on the battle for the fifth rotation spot, he’ll now be hoping for a mulligan. He faced 11 batters, retiring only four, with the others reaching on five hits and two walks. Bradley lasted 1.1 innings, struck out one batter and was charged with five runs, all earned, including a home-run to last year’s D-backs nemesis, Trevor Story. Early days, and there will be better to come, we trust. Jared Miller came in to relieve Bradley and retired both batters he faced.
It was a B-bullpen kinda day thereafter, and they did pretty well: the combined line post-Bradley was one run allowed over 5.2 innings on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Keyvius Sampson. Silvino Bracho, Daniel Gibson and Yuhei Nakaushiro each tossed a scoreless frame, while Joey Krehbiel was tagged for a run in the ninth, on two hits. The offense, however, was equally stymied. They managed only one further run themselves, on an RBI single with one out in the ninth, off the bat of Reymond Fuentes. Dawel Lugo then grounded into the D-backs’ third and final double-play, this one a game-ender to send the 9,795 in attendance on their way.
Arizona managed ten hits in total, Lamb getting two of those, while Pollock reached base twice, on a hit and a walk. Our hopes of going entirely undefeated this season now lie in tatters. We’ll look to bounceback tomorrow, in our first road-game of the season when Arizona makes the long trip from Salt River Fields to... ah, the visitor’s dugout at Salt River Fields, to face these same Colorado Rockies. Braden Shipley gets the start for the D-backs, with a 1:10pm first pitch, and it will be on the radio again.