Record: 6-8-2. Change on 2018: -2. 5-inning record: 6-7-3.
You’d be forgiven for having tuned out in the middle of the sixth of the opener of this cross-border double-header. The D-backs were 5-1 down at Salt River Fielder, looking to be well on the way to their fifth straight spring loss. But the offense suddenly showed up, scoring TWELVE runs over the last three innings, to pull out a victory which looks much better in the scorebook than on the field. Still, can’t complain about Luke Weaver, who went 3.1 innings, and gave up just one run. He scattered six hits, but walked none and struck out three, giving him a Cactus League K:BB of 6:0 thus far. over 6.1 innings. Robbie Scott followed Weaver to the mound in the fourth and struck out both batters faced.
Ryan Atkinson was victimized for three runs, but the rest of the pitching was pretty solid. Alex Young was the most impressive, striking out the site on 12 pitches in the eighth. Meanwhile, the D-backs took full advantage of some sloppy Royals play to score seven runs in the sixth, six of the runs being unearned. All Arizona had to that point was a Jake Lamb RBI double, but DH Christian Walker, C Alex Avila and SS Nick Ahmed all drove in runs with hits, while 3B Wyatt Mathisen and CF Ben DeLuzio were walked and plunked with the bases loaded. Ahmed had two hits and two RBI, and Walker two hits, while 2B Wilmer Flores, Avila, C Alberto Rosario, 1B Pavin Smith and LF Travis Snider all had a hit and a walk.
There was to be no such comeback in the nightcap, played at Hermosillo in Mexico. The hitters were almost entirely stifled: through seven innings, they had only singles by LF David Peralta and 2B-SS Ildemaro Vargas. They finally got in the board in the eighth, after a single by C Daulton Varsho was followed by two fielding errors from the pitcher, and a run-scoring double-play ball. The D-backs sent only four batters over the minimum to the plate. Taylor Clarke started, allowing two runs over 3.1 innings, on five hits with no walks and three K’s. Andrew Chafin - stop me if you’ve heard this - allowed a double to the first batter faced, than struck out the next two.
Joey Krehbiel pitched a scoreless fifth, but Miguel Aguilar gave up a run in the sixth, and Yoan Lopez two in the seventh. I suspect Lopez is going to start the season in the minors, having allowed six hits over four innings, with as many walks as strikeouts (2). Kevin Ginkel put up a zero in the ninth, his fourth such frame of spring. Tomorrow, it’s another long-distance double-header. The afternoon game is at Goodyear, against the Reds, with Merrill Kellu trying to right a spring which has been some way short of whelming. Then, at 5:10 pm, the rest of the D-backs down in Hermonsillo will face the Rockies again. Matt Koch gets the start there.