It was a big day in more ways than one for Josh Rojas and the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the pregame presser, it was revealed that the the Diamondbacks are going to start giving the lion’s share of the starts in right field to the rookie, Rojas. Kole Calhoun’s struggles have been a point of concern, so the team will now look to insert Calhoun into situations where he might experience a bit more success. Calhoun’s defensive prowess guarantees he will still see quite a bit of playing time, but for now, Rojas is going to get the opportunity to make his mark.
The move was made right before the Diamondbacks faced off against Michael Wacha and the New York Mets. The last time the Diamondbacks faced Wacha, the right-hander made the Arizona lineup look like a bunch of little leaguers. That was not to be the case the second time around. Josh Rojas responded to being inserted into the starting lineup by crushing a 456-foot solo home run off of Wacha in the second inning. Though it was obviously unknown at the time, that bomb off the bat of Rojas was all the Diamondbacks would need to secure the win.
Not content with a one-run lead, the Diamondbacks struck again in the third. Nick Ahmed started the inning off by reaching safely when Jeff McNeil booted a grounder to third. Ahmed was able to take second on a sacrifice bunt by Zac Gallen. Starling Marte flew out to shallow left, stranding Ahmed at second. Ahmed then came around to score when David Peralta hit a bloop single that landed out between short and center. Ketel Marte singled. Jake Lamb loaded the bases when he drew a walk after having been down in the count 0-2. That’s when Carson Kelly doubled to straight-away center, clearing the bases. Arizona’s four-spot in the inning was more than enough insurance for the Diamondbacks’ pitching.
Zac Gallen had a much better outing this time around. The young right-hander went six full innings. While he did have success on the night he also had control issues, walking three against only three strikeouts while also throwing a wild pitch and hitting the Mets’ Michael Conforto with a fastball, dangerously up, in the second inning. Conforto came out of the game and word is still pending on if he will need to miss a few games or not. It was a scary Still, Gallen kept the New York hitters off-balance all night. The Mets only managed two hits off of Gallen, leaving them unable to capitalize on his wildness. Merrill Kelly and Junior Guerra cruised through the final three innings, completing the shut-out.
Final Score: AZ 5- NYM 0
Player of the game went to Zac Gallen for the way he handled the New York lineup, completing six innings of shutout ball.
The Diamondbacks play the Mets again tomorrow. Luke Weaver (2-4, 4.25) will face off against Marcus Stroman (1-7, 5.74).
The win leaves the Diamondbacks in sole possession of second place in the NL West, 2.5 games behind the Dodgers and 0.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card standings, meaning they would currently be the second WC team.