Record: 5-7-1. Five-inning record: 5-6-2.
The D-backs used the long ball to prevail this afternoon, all six of their runs scoring courtesy of the home-run. Ketel Marte provided the perfect start in that department. He cracked the very first pitch onto the berm in Peoria, to give Arizona a 1-0 lead, before some of the 1,862 in attendance had adjusted their masks into the apparently Padres-approved “sub-nose” configuration. San Diego quickly tied it up, starter Josh Green taking two comebackers off himself, to put Fernando Tatis Jr. on third. He then scored on a sac. pop fly which sent Josh Rojas backpedalling at short. Apparently no-one in baseball had ever, ever, ever done that before. Or maybe the San Diego commentators just made it sound that way.
That was all the scoring through the front five innings by either side. Green worked three innings and gave up one run on one hits, with no walks and three K’s. Anthony Swarzak worked a scoreless fourth, before the two most impressive innings of the day, as J.B. Bukauskas and Chris Devenski combined to strikeout five of the six batters faced. Or, if you were the Game Day operator at Peoria, and had been lulled into unconsciousness by the Padre commentators’ non-stop feting of Tatis, Bukauskas did it all himself.
Bukauskas now has nine K’s through four hitless spring innings, and this afternoon’s victims were no rabbits, as he struck out Tommy Pham, Ha-Seon Kim and Austin Nola in order. Devenski also looked good, and both men may well make the Opening Day bullpen. Though, in J.B’s case, I am hoping it’s just a one-year assignment, as I would still like to see what he can do as a starting pitcher.
Yoan Lopez added another zero in the seventh, and at that point, the D-backs had held a fairly strong Padres line-up to two hits over seven, with no walks and nine K’s. Ryan Buchter and Kevin Ginkel blotted that copybook, combining over the eighth and ninth for two runs on five hits and a walk, continuing their spring struggles. But a three-run homer in the sixth by Josh VanMeter (above) and a two-run shot off the bat of Trayce Thompson (his third of spring) in the ninth, had given Arizona enough leeway to be able to cope. Thompson, Josh Rojas and Tim Locastro each had two hits, the latter particularly good to see as he made his return from COVID-19 quarantine. VanMeter walked in addition to his homer.
Tomorrow is a radio-only game against the Giants, back at Salt River Fields. Caleb Smith is the scheduled starter for the D-backs, with a 1:10 pm first pitch.