Cactus League record: 10-9. Change on 2016: -4.5.
This back and forth contest saw Milwaukee take a two-run lead in the first, on a home-run after a two-out chopped ground ball ate Ketel Marte up. But the D-backs came back, and were 5-3 up going into the bottom of the fifth. With Robbie Ray done, rule 5 pick Tyler Jones came in, and didn’t enhance his chances of sticking on the roster. The two-run lead evaporated before he recorded an out, as he was greeted double, RBI single, RBI double. He got the next two outs, but then Ryan ‘Fed-Ex’ Braun shot one a mile in the air, 10 feet from home-plate. Two infielders and the pitcher converged, and 1B Daniel Descalso, troubled by the sun, let it clank off his glove. The runner from second scored the go-ahead run, and the Brewers pulled away from there.
One trusts this will not be an issue in the regular season, not least because Descalso has averaged two starts per season at 1B over his career. Almost all those came last year with Colorado, but he made three errors in only 100.2 innings there. For comparison, Paul Goldschmidt made four in 1389.1 innings... If Goldie needs days off, I hope they’re not frequent, or we have a better defensive alternative. It wasn’t a good day for our bullpen either, as Jones, Andrew Chafin and Enrique Burgos combined to allow four runs, three earned in 2.1 innings, on six hits and a walk. Keyvius Sampson did provide 1.2 scoreless frames of work, however.
Robbie Ray’s outing was a bit like Taijuan Walker’s yesterday - occasionally dominating, but also with some hard-hit balls. He struck out seven batters across his four innings of work - like Walker, without a walk. This was certainly Ray’s most dominant performance of spring, considering his previous three outings, totaling 7.1 innings, had seen only five strikeouts combined. He allowed four hits, and three runs, two of them earned. There was also an unearned run in the third inning, courtesy of an error by 3B Jack Reinheimer.
Descalso did have some positive credit this afternoon, with a two-run homer in the third inning, his second of spring. He was joined in the long-ball club by David Peralta, who hit his first pre-season homer in the fifth inning. Ketel Marte led the offense with a trio of hits, and Nick Ahmed stole a base. Tomorrow, it’s another road game for the D-backs, with Archie Bradley trying to restart his shaky campaign for the fifth starter’s spot, as he goes up against the A’s. But it’s also a home game, as the rest of the split squad will see the Mariners at Salt River, Shelby Miller taking the mound there.