Record: 7-7. Change in 2017: 0.
The Diamondbacks had scored 12 earlier in the spring, but that was in a 14-12 defeat, so this afternoon’s tally was rather more pleasant. Most of the scoring came in a seven-run sixth inning, which started with Steven Souza delivering a two-run double. That was followed by RBI knocks from Jarrod Dyson and Ildemaro Vargas, before Rey Fuentes completed the frame with a three-run homer (below). It was his third long-ball of the pre-season, leading the team, and he has put up a spring line of .391/.462/.913 for a 1.375 OPS. If he keeps that up, perhaps the team will have to find a fifth outfielder spot, though as always, you should remember #ItsOnlySpringTraining.
He wasn’t the only person to have their hitting shoes on this afternoon. Steven Souza had two hits and drove in three runs, including his first home-run in a Diamondbacks’ uniform. Jake Lamb had two hits and went deep too - off left-hander and former Arizona pitcher, Chase Anderson - and A.J. Pollock got two hits. Paul Goldschmidt singled and walked, driving in a run in the first. That came after David Peralta singled, and Pollock dropped a bloop perfectly onto the right-field line for a double that put two in scoring position. Goldschmidt and Lamb followed with a pair of productive outs, in the form of sacrifice flies. to give Arizona an early lead.
Braden Shipley didn’t look that impressive, lasting only two innings, and allowing two runs on four hits, with one strikeout. It could well have ended up being more, except for an excellent bit of defense by Souza in the second inning (below). With two men on, he went full length to the gap in right-center to catch a hard-hit ball, and then threw back the ball to first base, in time for Goldschmidt to swipe tag the runner trying to get back. Fuentes also had a nice play in center, later in the game. The rest of the pitching was a bit of a mixed bag as well. Jorge De La Rosa allowed a run, and Silvino Bracho’s gopher-ball problem returned, giving up two and three runs in the fifth [He still got the W!]
However, there were scoreless frames from some names we expect to contribute in 2018. Nice to see Brad Boxberger out there, since he hasn’t been spotted in Cactus League action for a couple of weeks. Yoshihisa Hirano worked around a lead-off infield hit for a scoreless sixth inning, and after him, there were zeroes of varying quality from Fernando Salas, Jake Barrett and Michael Blazek. The last-named was the only pitcher to face the minimum, but overall, the K:BB ratio was 7:1 for our staff, compared to 8:4 for the hitters. Tomorrow, the team makes the long trek up to Surprise to take on the Kansas City Royals, with Robbie Ray getting the start.