Record: 8-7. Change on 2017: 0.
And, breathe... For the Robbie Ray who showed up this afternoon in Surprise turned out to be much closer to the one we expected, than the man who allowed five runs in two-thirds on an innings last time out. Ray worked 3.1 innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, with an impressive six strikeouts. The bullpen then made it stand up, with an unearned run off Kris Medlen in the ninth (courtesy of a Michael Perez passed ball) the only blot on their 5.2 innings of work. The D-backs rolled to their fifth consecutive win in the Cactus League, and pushed their record back above .500.
The offense did their bit as well, getting 13 hits and 4 walks. Nick Ahmed batted lead-off, and had a pair of hits there, but the offensive star of the game was... Chris Herrmann? Yep, last year’s favorite whipping boy homered and doubled, driving in a pair of runs. He’s quietly having himself a nice little spring, batting .417 with an OPS of 1.188. [I should point out, he had himself a nice little spring last year as well, batting .333 with an OPS of .924. This didn’t exactly carry over, though there were perhaps mitigating circumstances] Christian Walker had a hit and a walk, and Jeremy Hazelbaker had his second stolen-base of the pre-season.
The relievers after Ray all did pretty well, though 1-2-3 innings were hard to come by. Andrew Chafin tidied up the fourth inning, then Archie Bradley tossed a pair of scoreless frames, with two strikeouts. He worked out of trouble in the sixth, after allowing hits to the first two batters. Antonio Bastardo allowed a couple more hits in the seventh, and Neftali Feliz settled down after his lead-off walk in the eighth. Medlen was the last man called upon, and also put the first man he faced on base, with a double. Although that runner came around to score, this was still an easy victory for Arizona, after they broke a 1-1 tie by scoring three times in the top of the sixth.
Tomorrow, it’s the same two teams facing off, but back at Salt River Fields. Taijuan Walker is the scheduled starter (in advance of his Taco Monday!). That game will be aired by Fox Sports Arizona, but on tape delay, with a 6pm start time.