Cactus League record: 13-14-2. Change on 2016: -8.
After a quick and efficient first inning, thanks to a Mike Trout double-play, Shelby Miller ground to a halt in a second frame that required 33 pitches to complete. The Angels sent seven to the plate, but only one scored, Miller managing to escape with the bases loaded. He settled down thereafter, but the resulting elevated pitch-count meant he was gone with one out in the fifth. The final line was two runs allowed on five hits and two walks, with four K’s. He said afterward he wasn’t happy with his fastball command, but overall, feels he’s in a very good place compared to last year (video below from @FoxSportsAZ).
"I think my stuff now is better than my best stuff last year." -- Shelby Miller on his last Cactus League outing. pic.twitter.com/0QKWAht4za— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) March 27, 2017
Jorge De La Rosa took over and struggled against a stream of right-handers - it does seem a bit odd decision to send him in. He allowed the runner inherited from Miller in the fifth to score, as well as two of his own, walking one and K’ing none in his inning of work. Grant Sides got the last two outs in the sixth, but we then got impressive innings from Tom Wilhelmsen and Silvino Braco. The former, in particular, looked really good, striking out Trout, Albert Pujols and Cameron Maybin in order. With three hits allowed over his 9.1 spring innings, Wilhelmsen looks all but certain to get a bullpen spot. Bracho fanned two in his 1-2-3 eighth, and his 40-man roster spot helps his cause.
There wasn’t much thunder from the Arizona lumber to speak off. Through one out in the fifth inning, the only base-runner we had came courtesy of Miller, who doubled with two outs in the second inning. It was our sole extra-base hit, and he was the only D-back to get into scoring position until the bottom of the ninth, when we mounted a late rally to end the shutout. B.J. Lopez and Chris Herrmann each had RBI singles, bringing the tying run to the plate, before Jeremy Hazelbaker grounded out to short, ending the game. Nick Ahmed had two of Arizona’s eight hits.
That ends the 2017 Cactus League schedule at Salt River Fields. Tomorrow, it’s off to Peoria, and we enter the final loop around the rotation, with Zack Greinke making his last pre-season start, against the Seattle Mariners.