Cactus League record: 9-8. Change on 2016: -3.5.
Hard to complain about much here. The offense pounds out 17 hits and scores 12 times, while Patrick Corbin and five relievers completed the first shutout of 2017 for the Diamondbacks. They swept the spring series against the Rangers by a combined score of 20-4. So, yeah: this didn’t suck.
Corbin took another step forward to securing a rotation spot, throwing five innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. He walked none, struck out five, and reduced his spring ERA to 3.38, facing one batter over the minimum. The only runner allowed was a single by the very first batter faced. Corbin then retired the next 15 Rangers in a row, to finish the day having thrown only 56 pitches, 42 of those for strikes. He said after the outing: “It felt great. I feel like every time I’m out there, my arm just feels better and better. It feels like it’s becoming easier to hit my spots... I was able to throw my slider for a strike a lot. My changeup’s been a pretty good pitch for me the past couple of games.”
Patrick Corbin after 5 strong innings Tuesday. 1 hit, no walks, 5 strikeouts pic.twitter.com/YqjTBGNliZ— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) March 14, 2017
Evan Marshall and Brian Matusz split work in the sixth inning, and there were then scoreless innings from Jorge De La Rosa, J.J. Hoover and Matt Koch. The Rangers did threaten to end the shutout on a couple of occasions. After coming in to start the sixth, Marshall was greeted with a single and a double, but the lead runner on the latter was thrown out at third. Kristopher Negron started that relay, and also had an impressive catch earlier on. Then, in the ninth inning, Texas had two men on with one out, but Koch got the final two batters, to strand their potential first run at third.
Meanwhile, the offense was doing work, in particular during a seven-run third inning which saw Brandon Drury get a pair of extra-base hits. He ended the day with three hits as did Chris Herrmann and Nick Ahmed, while Ildemaro Vargas and Chris Owings got two hits apiece. Chris Iannetta homered for the first time and walked, with other homers off the bats of Vargas and Owings, each getting their second of spring. Here’s Torey Lovullo after the game.
Tomorrow sees the D-backs head to Mesa and Sloan Park, for their second game against the Chicago Cubs - they won the first 3-1. Taijuan Walker starts, and hasn’t allowed a run over nine spring innings thus far.
[Videos via @FoxSportsAZ]