The Diamondbacks announced a record low crowd of 3,715 on a gorgeous day at Salt River Fields. Honestly I’d be surprised if more 2,000 actually showed up for Madison Bumgarner’s first start of the spring against the Texas Rangers. Things started off well enough when he worked a scoreless first inning. His velocity was showing 93MPH on the 4 seam and 89MPH on the cutter. He needed just 12 pitches, and allowed only a two out single on a sharp ground ball up the middle.
His second inning went.....not quite as good. Nick Solak belted a solo homerun just to the right of the batters eye in center. Jonah Helm followed with a base hit, and then Eli White lifted a two run homer to Left Center Field, giving the Rangers a 3 nothing lead. Rumour has it Michael, sitting on the grass, almost caught the White home run ball ;)
A couple of loud outs, a double, a walk, a wild pitch, and finally a popout to Pavin Smith ended the inning, which took 27 pitches for Madbum to navigate. His 4 seam velocity was down to 91 by the end of it. He faced just one batter in the 3rd, retiring Kole Calhoun on one pitch. Notably statcast classified it as an 86 MPH sinker, but Madison said it was a curveball. He was pulled with just 40 pitches thrown, despite a pre game target of 3 innings, 45 pitches. Per Torey the long second was the cause for the earlier hook.
Madison seemed happy with his work today. He talked about his increased velocity which he said has been there throughout the off season and spring. He acknowledged the poor location on the two homers, commenting,
“ordinarily you might want to evacuate the zone a little more, try to get a chase, but I wanted to work on throwing some pitches to arm side and back door cutter, and that was a good spot to throw one. I made a pretty good pitch, but it was elevated a touch, but it was out there...the guy just put a good swing on it.”
Full Audio with some funny back and forth over rule changes
Miguel Aguilar (2/3 IP) , Ian Kennedy (1 IP), Tyler Gilbert (3 IP), J.B. Wendelken (1 IP) followed Madbum by all posting zeroes through the 8th. Noe Ramirez started the 9th and got two quick outs, but gave up a double and a single for a run, making the score 4-1. He then walked a batter and was pulled from the game. Mitchell Stumpo came in to get the final out of the inning.
The offense with mostly regulars was nonexistent through the 7th inning. Carson Kelly had two singles in the 3rd and the 6th, Josh Rojas drew a walk in the 4th, and Geraldo Perdomo reached on an error ahead of Kelly’s first base hit. Nobody else had reached base through 7.
The Dbacks subs finally broke through in the 8th with a run off of a wild Dan Winkler. Stuart Fairchild was hit by a pitch and Juan Graterol lined a single to left, giving the Dbacks two on with nobody out for Seth Beer. Seth roped a double to the right centerfield gap scoring Fairchild for the D-backs first run. Winkler, then hit Stone Garrett with a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Unfortunately Ryan Bliss and Braden Bishop struck out. Spencer Miraz came on to pitch and induced a popup to shallow center from C.J. Chatham that looked like it was going to drop, but a diving sprawling catch by Bubba Thompson ended the threat with only the one run scored.
The D-backs went 3 up 3 down in the 9th to end the game in a brisk 2:43
Spring Training Notes:
Chris Devenski, who had Tommy John Surgery in early June of last year threw a bullpen today. When it was done he came bounding off the mound, all smiles. He got a big hug from Torey Lovullo and followed that with hugs all around from the medical and coaching staffs. It was a genuine moment of joy for a pitcher on the comeback trail.
I was super excited to watch Devo get up and throw 15-17 pitches. It’s been a long road for him. To see the smile on his face was great. That probably was the highlight of my day so far.........it was a good day for all of us to watch that take place. There were a lot of smiles out there.....a lot of people have invested some time with him and he’s busted his butt to make today happen. It was a great day. He’s a guy that everybody roots for.
Torey was not willing to specify a timeline although seemed to infer mid season would probably be a reasonable estimate.
Zac Gallen was feeling good after his last live BP session. They may want to have him do one more live BP before getting him in a game. While Lovullo would not absolutely confirm it, he strongly hinted that Gallen would not be ready to take a turn the first time through the rotation as he’s clearly behind the other starters.
A moment of levity ensued when Zach Buchanan of the Athletic asked Torey what is the most out of left field argument a pitcher has tried on you to stay in a game:
“I’m a better hitter than anybody you have on the bench”
While he wouldn’t say who it was that said that, he confirmed it was neither Greinke or Bumgarner.