Record: 11-9. Change on 2017: 0.
This one definitely feels like the quickest spring-training game in a while, being completed in three minutes under two and a half hours. It helps when the two sides here combine to send only 11 batters over the minimum to the plate at Sloan Park this afternoon. There were a total of 12 hits and a walk, somewhat negated by a double-play and a caught stealing. For a long while, it looked as if the Cubs would pull this out, even though they were held to precisely one at-bat with a runner in scoring position all afternoon, and came up empty. A Jason Heyward two-run shot off Robbie Ray with two outs in the second looked like it might be enough, on a day the D-backs went 0-for-6 with RISP themselves.
That was the only damage Ray allowed, as he became the first Diamondbacks starter to go five innings. He was charged with those two runs on four hits and no walks with four strikeouts, and it’ll be interesting to see how the team handles him going forward. The expectation of him pitching the second game of the season would have fitted nicely in to further pre-seasons starts on March 20th and 25th. But if he is to be moved up to Opening Day on the 29th, that would require either short-starting him (unlikely) or perhaps giving Robbie only one more tune-up. The latter approach may explain why he went five innings this afternoon, though he only faced 19 batters.
After him, there were four scoreless frames, all from people with a decent shot at the roster: Neftali Feliz, Andrew Chafin, Brad Boxberger and Antonio Bastardo. Happy to see a good outing from Chafin, a 1-2-3 seventh with a pair of strikeouts. Boxberger also fanned two in his eighth inning. The offense was subdued before the ninth, with Kyle Hendricks holding the D-backs to three hits and no walks over six innings, and just a Nick Ahmed RBI double to show for it. Then, with one out in the ninth, Ramon Flores and Christian Walker went back-to-back to take the lead, and Bastardo worked a perfect ninth for an unexpected save. Yasmany Tomas had two of our seven hits, and is batting .423 in spring.
Tomorrow sees the Dodgers visit Salt River Fields, with Matt Koch the scheduled starter, as Taijuan Walker will get his work in on a back field.