Record: 2-2. Change on 2016: 0.
Let’s face it, I was going to use that headline regardless of the score this afternoon. It was pretty much inked in for this recap, as soon as I heard who was starting this game for the Diamondbacks. But Taijuan Walker, making his Arizona debut, lived up to his end of the bargain, tossing two scoreless innings with three K’s. He struck out the side in the first inning, around a two-out single, and followed that up in the second with two groundouts and a flyout, again around a two-out single. He threw 36 pitches, 26 for strikes, and yeah, as Clefo pointed out:
Tai Walker didn't walk anyone in his Spring Debut I feel we got a false advertising case on our hands.— Charlie Gebow (@CLEFOAINTACRIME) February 28, 2017
The rest of the pitching was a bit of a mixed bag. Keyvius Sampson struggled in the third inning, allowing a homer and another run, on two hits and two walks. And in the seventh, Miller Diaz allowed four hits and two runs. But there were scoreless innings from Silvino Bracho, Daniel Gibson and Joey Krehbiel, while Josh Taylor finished things off with a pair of hitless innings (albeit against a Rangers’ line-up which by that point had become your typical “late on in a early spring game” affair). His first frame of work was also the only 1-2-3 inning by any Diamondback this afternoon.
The offense was rather more productive than yesterday, pounding out 13 hits, as they came back from two down by scoring eight unanswered runs - though again, took advantage of opposing errors with four unearned runs. They also did not strikeout at all. I don’t know how common this might be in spring, but it hasn’t happened in a regular-season game for the Diamondbacks in almost a decade, since April 2007. The hits came from 12 different people, with Socrates Brito getting a double and single, driving in a run. There was a first home-run for Daniel Descalso, and stolen bases for Jeremy Hazelbaker and Jason Pridie, though Gregor Blanco got himself picked off.
Definitely been more impressed with the last couple of games than the first two, even if it does help when the opposition combines for seven errors. For comparison, it took until the seventh inning of today’s fourth game before the Diamondbacks committed their first error of the Cactus League, Jason Pridie being responsible after failing to handle a pick-off throw at first. It’s early days, but I always like to see a team playing sound fundamental baseball. Just 2,556 in attendance at Surprise this afternoon: can’t say I’m too surprised, given the flakiness of the weather this morning.
Tomorrow, it’s back to the West side again, with the Diamondbacks taking on the White Sox at Camelback ranch. Robbie Ray makes his first appearance of the season.