This wasn’t quite as easy a victory as it seemed. Team Mexico scored twice in the first inning off Zack Greinke, who was... marginally okay, I guess. The final margin of victory was also padded by the Diamondbacks scoring four in their last time up at bat, courtesy mostly of a three-run homer by Josh Thole/Evan Marzilli* off Adam Cimber. If you haven’t heard of these players, please report for compulsory re-education to Chase Field immediately.
Greinke’s outing looked particularly ropey in the early going. He was once again throwing in the upper eighties, which Nick Piecoro confirmed was slower than at the same point (two starts) in spring last year, when Greinke was occasionally hitting 93 mph. The Mexicans started off going single, double, fly out, RBI single, flyout, RBI single against Zack, and these were not cheapies either: again, per Piecoro, “Five of the six balls put in play off Zack Greinke in the first were hit 93 mph or harder. One 96 mph, two 100-plus mph.” Greinke eventually helped himself out of the jam, picking off the runner at first to end the inning.
The second inning was smoother, after a lead-off double. He got a soft bouncer back to the mound, then his sole K - though the runner reached on a wild pitch. Fortunately, this proved just to be setting up a double-play that ended the frame. Greinke allowed a double between outs to center and right in the third, and that was the end of his day. He scattered six hits over 2.2 innings, but didn’t walk anyone, throwing a total of 49 pitches, 36 for strikes. Here’s (via @FoxSportsAZ) what Torey Lovullo had to say about the performance:
Braden Shipley was next up, and tossed 2.1 scoreless on two hits, with one walk and one K. That’s his third game: with pitch counts of 36, 39 and 37, doesn’t look like he’s being stretched out for a starter’s role. Scoreless innings for Tom Wilhelmsen and Jimmie Sherfy book-ended run scoring frames off Kevin Jepsen and Evan Marshall. Sherfy struck out two of the four batters he faced, disposing of the runner created from a lead-off throwing error by Kevin Medrano.
After falling two behind, the Diamondbacks came back with a three-spot in the bottom of the second. There were RBI singles from Ildemaro Vargas and A.J. Pollock, plus a sac. fly off the bat of Chris Owings. A Jack Reinheimer ground-out added a run in the third, and Jake Goebbert delivered an RBI single in the sixth. Vargas got his second RBI with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, before Arizona blew the game open with that four-run eighth. Oscar Hernandez had an RBI single, and Thole/Marzilli’s* homer (below) brought the D-backs to double digits for the second consecutive day. This time, without conceding quite as many.
There was a spot of bad news, with Socrates Brito injuring himself while running the bases. He dislocated his left ring finger sliding (headfirst, please note) into home, and surgery is being considered. Tomorrow, it’s back to Cactus League play for the D-backs, who head off to Camelback Ranch and take on the Chicago White Sox. Patrick Corbin will get the start for Arizona.
* Note: The commentary says it was Evan Marzilli. But the final box-score currently says Marzilli led off the inning with a walk, and it was Thole who hit the bomb. This is me covering my ass. :)