With the Diamondbacks still shaking off some pitching injuries, Zach Eflin got the call to start the opening of the second half for the Diamondbacks. He did not disappoint. Now, there is no expectation that this version of Zach Eflin will be the one taking the mound every time out, but it is nice to see that the right-hander is able to still make positive contributions in a pinch. The once top prospect from the Phillies’ system gave Arizona 7 1⁄3 innings of shutout baseball, striking out nine and walking only one. Granted, this was against the lowly Miami Marlins, but a solid win is a solid win.
Miami’s Pablo Lopez was the hard luck loser in Friday night’s game. Miami’s starter actually pitched well. He struck out eight Arizona batters and managed to do so without issuing a free pass. Usually, allowing only two runs through seven innings is a good recipe for victory. Alas, Miami’s offense is even more challenged than Arizona’s.
The difference-maker in this game came about as early as possible. Leading off the bottom of the first inning, Brandon Marsh lined the third pitch he saw 388 feet into the left field bleachers, giving Eflin and the Diamondbacks the lead for good. An insurance run was added in the fourth when Ketel Marte started the inning off with a stand-up triple. Marte then scored while Christian Walker was batting and Lopez uncorcked a wild pitch.
After Eflin retired Matt Kemp to start the eighth inning, Will Smith was brought in to get the switch-hitting Jonathan Villar. Smith had made easy work of the final two outs in the eighth. Archie Bradley then came out to pitch the ninth inning. It wasn’t the prettiest outing by Bradley, but he got the job done, despite walking two batters and needing 30 pitches to secure the victory for Arizona.
Final Score: MIA 0 - AZ 2
The player of the game was Zach Eflin. The right-hander gave the Snakes a boost, just when they could use it most. His game score of 84 ranks as one of the best performances by an Arizona starter all season.
The same two teams go at it again tomorrow. Miami will start Sandy Alcantara. Arizona will turn to Robbie Ray to keep the winning ways going.