A returning and effective starting rotation returns this year with an apparently improved bullpen that led many of us to believe pitching is the strength of this team (barring injury due to lack of depth). It just hadn’t happened yet this spring until today. A beautiful box score on the pitching section loaded with zeros and familiar names like Walker, Bradley, De La Rosa, Shipley and our new Japanese friend Hirano. The games still don’t matter, but it will be nice to see some more positives emerge on the pitching side.
I don’t even know who to root for in this battle. Bradley may deserve it most, but he’s just so good in the setup role. Hirano did it just fine in Japan so he has the experience and the kind of splitter that can make him highly effective against aggressive hitters in the ninth. We haven’t seen much of Boxberger yet, but that appears to be coming soon. Honestly, the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings are all vital and I am hopeful we have three guys to fill it.
This was coming sooner or later. Since he hasn’t played second base in a couple of years he needed the reps. His manager gave him a “better than average” score, which I am sure Ketel will take. With Ahmed on the roster and Owings a super-utility guy, Marte will be needed at second base this year.
This has been a frequent topic of conversation at the ‘Pit. If one of the five goes down, the D-backs have a couple of options to fill the gap and survive the storm. If two goes down, that’s when things might get scary. Not sure if you can count on either Delgado or Miller at any point this year. Shipley is an option with some experience, although much of that experience is underwhelming. It would take too much luck to find another Zack Godley this year if needed.
The burden of being a DH will always be hard for me to understand. But some players insist that it is difficult to hit and not play the field. Try not to fall asleep while waiting to bat would be my advice.
Only 4 of the 29 listed knuckleballers on Wiki are lefties. Ryan Feierabend is a lefty and is Korea’s second knuckleballer ever. Always fun to read about the career development of knuckleballers, usually starting out conventional but looking to keep the dream alive.