Record: 6-8-1. Five-inning record: 6-7-2.
Before we get to this one, some positive news from Salt River Fields, where Nick Ahmed stepped into the batter’s box in (semi-)public for the first time in a while. He faced Luke Weaver in the sim game this morning, so hopefully we’ll see him in a “proper” game before too much longer. With barely a couple of weeks now until Opening Day, I’m wondering if he’ll have enough time to get up to full game readiness. Thinking he’ll probably be okay, providing no further time is missed. This knee issue has certainly endured longer than it was initially reported. But if that’s what’s needed to get it fully addressed and make Ahmed ready for a 162-game season, of course it’s perfectly fine.
However, there was a bit of concern in Peoria, where Ketel Marte limped to first and then came out of the game after being hit on the foot with a pitch in the fifth. No word yet, and it may just have been a precaution. It was part of an interesting inning where the D-backs scored twice without a hit, on two hit batters, a walk, a sacrifice fly and a pair of wild pitches. They had already taken a 1-0 lead, thanks to a fourth inning Tim Locastro triple and another sac. fly. Meanwhile, starter Taylor Widener had a good outing, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings, on two hits and a walk with five K’s.
Christian Walker extended the lead to 4-0 with his third home-run of spring. leading off the sixth. But in the bottom half, Corbin Martin lost the shutout. He struggled with control, walking the bases loaded, then giving up a two-run single before being lifted. He came out again in the seventh and eighth, and did put up zeros, albeit with another walk. Martin also has only three K’s in a total of 6.1 innings. Small sample size, yet It’s not what I would have expected from one of Arizona’s top pitching prospects, someone expected to begin contributing this year. J.B. Bukauskas has looked a lot more ready for prime time this spring, and he’s ten months younger than Martin.
Arizona restored breathing room with Juniel Querecuto’s two run single in the top of the ninth, and Carlos Navas closed things out. On offense, Josh VanMeter had a pair of hits, and has his spring average up to .259, along with an .875 OPS. Querecuto also had two hits, and Wyatt Mathisen was on base three times, with a single and two walks. Tomorrow, it’s back to Salt River where the visitors will be the A’s, and Madison Bumgarner seeks to show us that his startling first outing was no fluke.