Record: 2-1. Change on 2018: +1. 5-inning record: 1-0-2.
Remember last year when Zack Greinke’s diminished velocity was one of the main concerns of spring? Small sample size, but it does not appear that this will be the case in 2019. The eight pitches he threw in the first inning of his debut Cactus League outing were mostly in the 85-87 mph range, with one touching 88 mph. That seems solid, compared to the 84 mph he was throwing at the becinning of spring last year. The second inning was just as efficient, leading to Greinke’s day ending after two perfect innings and 16 pitches, with one strikeout. As mentioned in the preview, he threw to Carson Kelly, and there does not appear to have been anything today to suggest Kelly won’t be Greinke’s personal catcher for 2019.
Thereafter, a mixed bag of pitching. A two-out bunt into the shift by former D-back Cliff Pennington helped give the A’s a lead off Silvino Bracho. He replaced Greinke for the third, allowing two hits and a walk. Matt Andriese looked shaky, allowing four hits over his two innings of work, including a home-run to Dustin Fowler (whom I keep wanting to call “Dexter”, for some reason...). He struck out one. Jon Duplantier was solid, tossing two scoreless, with a walk and two K’s, hitting 97 mph. Bo Takahashi struggled in the eighth, having to be lifted after allowing a run (on a steal of home) and loading the bases. He was replaced by something called a Lucas Luetge. Henry Owens had a perfect ninth.
Offense was a bit harder for Arizona to come by than yesterday. 1B Jake Lamb and DH Christian Walker each had a single and a walk, the best performances among the expected starters. 2B Ildemaro Vargas had the big hit in the early going, his two-run single in the fourth tying things up, scoring both Lam and Walker. And based on today’s performance Kelly clearly intends to imitate Jeff Mathis at the plate, as well as being Greinke’s personal catcher, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Arizona scored in the eighth without a hit, on an error and three walks, including one by SS Jazz Chisholm with the bases loaded.
The D-backs were then able to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth. 2B Domingo Leyba led the inning off with a ground-rule double - our first and only extra-base hit - and was replaced by pinch-runner Andy Young. Two productive outs, in the shape of a ground-out and a sacrifice fly, moved Young to third and then home, scoring the winning run with two outs in the ninth. Today was also Ketel Marte’s first start at center for the Diamondbacks. He didn’t have too much to do, it appears, but seems to have handled himself competently enough, by reports. He came out of the game with everyone else at the start of the sixth, being replaced by Abraham Almonte.
Tomorrow afternoon, it’s down to Sloan Park for a game against the Chicago Cubs, and I beleive the first webcast of the year. Zack Godley is the scheduled starter for the D-backs.