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D-backs Game Preview, #1: 4/7 vs. Padres

Play ball!

San Francisco Giants v. Arizona Diamondbacks


Austin Nola - C Daulton Varsho - CF
Manny Machado - 3B Ketel Marte - 2B
Jake Cronenworth - 2B David Peralta - LF
Luke Voit - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Wil Myers - RF Pavin Smith - RF
Eric Hosmer - 1B Carson Kelly - C
Jurickson Profar - LF Seth Beer - DH
Ha-Seong Kim - SS Drew Ellis - 3B
Trent Grisham - CF Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Yu Darvish - RHP M. Bumgarner - LHP

More or less as expected in terms of positions. Daulton Varsho is in center field, and - albeit largely due to the lack of better alternatives - Drew Ellis is your starting third baseman. Seth Beer is the first DH for the Diamondbacks since that position became a permanent addition to games in National League parks. Ketel Marte is back at second base. And for the second Opening Day in a row, we don’t have Nick Ahmed at shortstop (Josh Rojas played there in the first game last year). This will be the third consecutive Opening Day where the team faces San Diego, and Arizona has also started off the season with a loss each of the past three seasons, their last win being a 2018 8-2 win over the Rockies.

Last year, the D-backs did at least make a game of it, coming back from five runs down, and actually taking a 7-6 lead at one point, before eventually succumbing 8-7. The Padres’ closer who got a save in the game at Petco Park was... Mark Melancon, who will be hoping to do the same thing for the Diamondbacks this evening. Five of the starting nine from that day are back for Arizona tonight. This will be David Peralta’s seventh Opening Day start for Arizona. That ties him with Paul Goldschmidt, behind only Luis Gonzalez’s eight. It’s Marte’s fifth, Christian Walker’s fourth, Madison Bumgarner’s third, Pavin Smith and Carson Kelly’s second. For everyone else, it’s their first time.

Couple of interesting things from the team’s game notes. Varsho is the D-backs’ eighth straight different Opening Day leadoff hitter (2015: A.J. Pollock; 2016: Jean Segura; 2017: Pollock; 2018: David Peralta; 2019: Adam Jones; 2020: Ketel Marte; 2021: Josh Rojas). And per Elias, the D-backs have six rookies on their Opening Day roster, one shy of tying the club record (seven in 2007): Seth Beer, Drew Ellis, Cooper Hummel, Jake McCarthy, Geraldo Perdomo and Jose Herrera. Hey, the 2007 campaign turned out well enough, so if that’s some kind of omen: playoffs, here we come!

Cooper Hummel audio

Torey Lovullo audio

Torey spoke about the excitement of opening day during the pre-game media session and reminisced all the way back to his childhood in trying to describe the excitement.

Cooper Hummel: Torey also spoke about the excitement of getting to tell Cooper about making the roster. “He’s walking in there, he doesn’t know if he’s getting sent down, or if he’s getting greeted as a big leaguer. It was a nice moment for all of us.”

Cooper also spoke with the media in the clubhouse before on field workouts:

“I was told I made the opening day roster for the first time....obviously some tears kinda came out. My whole family had the same emotions. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet.”

He talked about waiting outside the office and waiting his turn to go in and speak with Torey He didn’t know for sure he was going to make roster until the last second. He also said this was only the second time he heard his father cry.

[I’m not’re crying!]

I asked him about his plate discipline and batting eye and how he developed that:

I think it just happened. I didn’t know what my eyesight was like until the last few years... I learned a couple years ago I have 20/10 vision... I have a very focused approach, what pitch I’m looking for, and what I’m trying to do with the baseball. Catching has helped me a lot. I see the spin of the ball pretty well because of that, and what pitchers are trying to do.

More From Torey

Regarding 2021: “It should motivate us. Something good didn’t happen and I know it and I’m a little agitated about what happened, I’m still bothered by it. It motivates me every single day to go out there and go do my job”

Roster Construction, and why they went 15 pitchers, 13 position players:

“We felt like there was going to be a little bit of indecisiveness with how long our starters can go early on... we didn’t want to put anybody at risk”

All of the pitchers got into the 60-65 pitch range which means they’ll get into the 80-85 pitch range for this next start.

TL also emphasized that extra long innings could cause a pitcher to come up short of the overall pitch count target.

Bullpen Roles: Humberto Castellanos and Corbin Martin will likely be used for length out of the bullpen. Luke Weaver is stretched out as well, and can go in either short bursts or give length as needed.

[He dropped the first “Game Plan” of the year during this part of the discussion]

Lineup: Expect to still see plenty of bouncing around in the lineup. But Ketel Marte batting 2nd is something we should expect to see a lot. Geraldo Perdomo is like a 2nd leadoff hitter batting 9th, and might make more run scoring opportunities for Ketel

Nick Ahmed: Has started baseball activities. He had been taking ground balls, but not throwing yet, (The injury is to his right shoulder). He has been hitting off a tee and taking flips as of two days ago. He’s slowly beginning his transition.

Jordan Luplow is also beginning some light activity.

Madison Bumgarner is making his 8th opening day start. “He’s not going to go out there glossy eyed”.