Clear crisp skies returned to Salt River Field as the Dbacks took on the Giants in Cactus League play before a sellout crowd of more than 12,000 fans.
Starter Luke Weaver, matching up with battery mate Carson Kelly put on a strong pitching display. Mixing up his full repertoire of FB, CH, CB & CU, throwing all of them for strikes, he held the Giants in check and scoreless for 5 innings on just 69 pitches, 49 strikes. Only one batter reached scoring position, Evan Longoria, who managed a 2 out double in the 4th. But he was stranded when Brandon Crawford groundout harmlessly to 2b.
Weaver’s final line was 5 IP, 0 Runs, 3 hits, 0 walks, & 4 K’s. Said Weaver after the game regarding his comfort level throwing to Carson Kelly:
“Yeah, He’s great. We’ve had so much history together, there’s a great dialog that happens throughout the game, not holding back what we’re seeing, what we’re thinking. Thats built over some years. Hopefully it happens quicker with Alex and Murph & Caleb, but that's just a plus for us and we hope to build off of that and go into the next one.”
Asked about how he felt about landing some of his curveballs for called strikes:
“I know when I can hear Mike Butcher from the dugout yelling attaboy on some of some of those pitches I’ve been working on I know I’m doing my part. And so we’ve worked hard on that. The game situation is always the greatest test to see what it actually looks like when you’ve got the adrenaline flowing, and things are speeding up on you”
Torey Lovullo was pleased with the work done by both Weaver and Kelly of course, and went out of the his way to lavish praise. However when asked about whether or not they would be on more or less a permanent rotation with one another, he said
“We have 2-3 other catchers that Luke has been throwing the ball well to as well. ......... I don’t know if I’m going to matchup up just to matchup because they are comfortable with one another. I’m going to try to maximize some offensive situations when possible”
The Giants Derek Rodriguez was nearly as good, throwing 4 2⁄3 Innings and allowing just one run on 2 hits , 2 walks and a strikeout. The two hits however were off the bat of Christian Walker, who continues to hit the ball hard. He hit a high drive to the right field corner in the 2nd that bounced off the top of the padding at the wall for a stand up triple. He later scored on an Alex Avila Sac Fly , giving the Dbacks a lead they would never relinquish.
The DBacks threatened in the 4th when Eduardo Escobar walked, Walker ripped a double into the left field corner, and Steven Souza Jr also walked to load the bases. However Alex Avila was called out looking on a ball up around his shoulders and then Gerardo Parra made a nice running catch in foul territory up against the Giants bullpen fence to retire Carson Kelly, who had battled through an impressive 8 pitch at bat to that point.
The DBacks bullpen completed the shutout, with Stefan Crichton giving them a scoreless inning, followed by 6 straight outs from Braden Shipley, and a scoreless 9th from Michael Kohn.
The DBacks scored a couple of two out runs in the 7th, keyed by Carson Kelly’s laser line drive double into the RCF gap . A walk from Abraham Almonte, followed by a bloop Texas league double from Juniel Querecuto brought home 2 runs to complete the scoring.
A few comments from the pre game interview worth noting
- He wasn’t sure that TJ McFarland would be ready for opening day
- Archie Bradley has had a stiff neck, but should be throwing again soon
- He isn’t yet ready to name his opening day starter
- Adam Jones has been taking coaches BP and running the bases on back fields. But he didn’t indicate exactly when we would see him in a game
The DBacks travel over to Tempe Diablo Stadium tomorrow to take on the Angels at 1:10 P.M. Merrill Kelly gets the start for the DBacks