Ah Opening Day, a time when little work gets done while baseball fans everywhere do their best to not get caught. Things are a bit different in Arizona, what with fan-favorite Paul Goldschmidt off the redder pastures in St. Louis and a slew of new regulars like Adam Jones and Wilmer Flores trying to take their place. It all doesn’t matter once the games get going, as all teams are 0-0 and optimistic of their playoff chances.
Zack Greinke, fresh off his least favorite time of the year, slated to start his 3rd out of 4 Opening Day games since signing with the D-backs, was not sharp. He was fine in limited Spring Training action, throwing less than 10 official innings, but struggled with command. Pederson led things off with a long double to left on a ball Peralta probably should’ve caught, but the mid-day sun and wind caused him to just look silly. A couple more batters walked, and Greinke escaped with just a single run allowed after Max Muncy grounded out into an RBI and Bellinger tapped one to 1st for the 3rd out.
It was a long inning and Zack’s usual low 90’s fastball was even slower than normal, barely hitting 88 mph at times. He also struggled finishing at-bats, evidenced by the 26 first-inning pitches and long, drawn out plate appearances.
The 2nd started out well, with Greinke grabbing two quick outs and only having a runner on 2nd, but Job Pederson again did damage, homering to deep center field, pushing the lead to 3-0. Not great, but if he could get things under control the offense had to turn around right? Things swayed in Greinke’s favor for an inning, getting 3 outs on 11 pitches. The 4th, well, that’s where it all unraveled.
Bellinger singled and Enrique Hernandez homered. Not great but kind of wind and day aided, Greinke will settle down. Oh and there’s an Austin Barnes homer. 6 runs isn’t ideal. 2 quick outs, nice. And now Seager homers? Wow.
Torey Lovullo had seen enough, yanking Greinke after those 3 2/3rds awful innings and putting in Matt Koch, who quickly got a line out from Justin Turner to end the suffering. He was perfect in the 5th, getting 3 quick outs.
You might be wondering, where’s the offense? Well they were very quiet against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Eduardo Escobar singled in the 1st but was stranded there and it took 3+ innings until they got back in the hit column, when Nick Ahmed doubled to right-center. He was also stranded there.
Newcomer Adam Jones put the D-backs on the board in the 6th, smashing a curveball into the left field bullpen to erase the shutout. Escobar followed with a double, but he was also stranded as the lead was cut to 7-1 Dodgers.
Hernandez walked to lead off the 6th, but two quick outs later and Pederson again did damage. You can probably guess what he did. 9-1.
Birthday boy Christian Walker was quiet in his Opening Day debut, but with the Dodgers going with Yimi Garcia, he capitalized, smashing a solo homer to cut the lead. If you were expecting more offense come back in the 9th inning, 9-2.
Jokes on you the Dodgers weren’t done hitting homers, as Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Enrique Hernandez all hit solo homers, pushing their run total to 12. As you can tell, it was not a good performance for the pitching today. Matt Koch did get a scoreless 8th inning, so at least the pitchers ended on something good.
The offense made one last stand in the 9th, Wilmer Flores led off with a double and David Peralta beat the shift for a single, putting runners on the corners. Birthday boy doubled, driving in Flores and two sacrifice flies brought in another 2 runs, pushing the total on the day to 5, but that was it as John Ryan Murphy grounded out to end the game. 12-5 Dodgers.
Would you look at that, every player not named Eduardo Escobar had negative WPA on the day so by default Escobar is your Player of the Game.
☆ - Eduardo Escobar ( 2 for 4) +1.2%
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Big crowd for a Thursday game, obviously Opening Day has a hand in that. Comment of the Thread goes to MrMrrbi.
Fortunately for the fans and team it’s just 1 game of a long, marathon season. Robbie Ray starts tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 7:10pm AZ time. Stop by!