Record: 5-3-2. Change on 2018: +2. 5-inning record: 5-2-3.
Luke Weaver’s first start as a Diamondback against major-league hitters went pretty well. He pitched three innings, taking 41 pitches, allowing a run on two hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. Per Jack:
#DBacks new righthander Luke Weaver just hit 96.3 on the radar gun and followed that up with a 81 MPH changeup, inducing a weak off balance swing for an easy comebacker. His stuff looks impressive early in a 1-2-3 first inning.— Jack Sommers (@shoewizard59) March 4, 2019
Most of the time though, Weaver was sitting 92-93 mph, which is fine. His average fastball last season averaged 93.7, so we’re about where we’d expect at this point in spring training, velocity-wise. 96 mph would not necessarily be a bad thing though, especially if combined with an off-speed pitch 15 mph less. It’s still only spring training, but I’m quietly hopeful we might have got a good one here.
Greg Holland, on the other hand... His lack of velocity is definitely concerning. Once again this afternoon, he wasn’t even cracking 90 mph, and paid for it in the fourth inning, when Matt Kemp deposited an 88.6 mph not-so-fastball, 393 feet onto the lawn at Salt River Fields. At least he got through an entire inning this time, allowing another hit, but an ERA of 21.60 isn’t encouraging, almost regardless of the small sample size. If the team wants to go down the same road as the previous two seasons, with the winter signings of experienced closers Brad Boxberger and Fernando Rodney, they need Holland to recover his mojo over the weeks ahead. Otherwise, he’s going to be a batting practice pitcher.
Elsewhere, there were scoreless innings of more or less quality from Jimmie Sherfy, Mark Rzepczynski and Rubby De La Rosa - the latter struck out the side in the ninth, though faced no-one of whom I’ve ever heard. Taylor Clarke worked two innings, allowing a solo home-run in the eighth. Arizona outhit the Reds 11-6, with two hits by LF David Peralta, and doubles from DH Yasmany Tomas and 1B Christian Walker. The latter drove in two runs to tie the game in the fourth inning, giving him 10 RBI for the spring, among the leaders across the entire Cactus League. An RBI single from 1B Kevin Cron in the eighth completed Arizona’s scoring and the came was called as a tie after the ninth inning.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Surprise for a game against the Kansas City Royals. Merrill Kelly will be starting and, much like Zack Godley was able to deliver, we’ll be looking for a significantly better sophomore performance from our starter.