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D-Backs 7, White Sox 3: A Thorough Dismantling

TL;DR: The regulars provided the offense and the youngsters shut down the White Sox for a solid overall performance.

dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

Record: 12-11-1

Welcome to the last full week of Spring Training as the D-Backs face myriad roster challenges ahead of their Opening Day tilt against the hated Dodgers on Opening Day. Those challenges became a little clearer over the weekend as the D-Backs reassigned a slew of players to either the minor league camp or Reno itself. The headliners of that move included – disappointingly - top-pitching prospect Brandon Pfaadt and non-roster invitee (NRI) Buddy Kennedy, both of whom had posted strong spring results thus far. Unfortunately, the move almost certainly eliminates the possibility that Pfaadt would nab the fifth and final rotation spot for Opening Day despite posting solid results. For those that are so inclined, you can see Hazen’s reasoning spin on the decision here.

Regardless, even if the wins and losses don’t matter right now, the numbers absolutely do and the 39 players currently with the big-league club (following a late option of Tommy Henry to Reno -shoutout to Jim for the spot) still had something to prove. And boy did they prove it against a White Sox team still searching for answers and clearly still missing their leader Tim Anderson who remains with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. While there was neither a radio nor TV broadcast (thanks Bally Sports!), there was a scintillating gameday to watch on one screen while I piped in some crowd noise to keep my energy high enough. Of course, the D-Backs’ offense certainly provided some excitement – especially early in the game.

Those fireworks got started early as Corbin Carroll took the very first pitch from Franklin German to centerfield for a leadoff double ahead of a rare Carson Kelly walk. Unfortunately, the scuffling Emmanuel Rivera bounced into a double play and Christian Walker grounded out to spoil any possibility of a run in the first. Bryce Jarvis, the D-Backs first rounder from the 2020-shortened draft, was given the start and did an impressive job overall as he nearly completed five full innings against a (mostly) complete White Sox lineup and only had one hiccup of an inning. It was an encouraging outing for the 25-year-old righty who struggled mightily in Amarillo last year and subsequently saw his prospect stock tank – falling 20 spots in the D-Backs top-30 ranking.

Of course, he was buoyed by the offense that gave him a cushion and struck quickly in the top of the second with doubles from Phillip Evans and Jake Hager sandwiching a Geraldo Perdomo single and stolen base to make it 2-0 D-Backs. The bats weren’t done though as Neyfy Castillo struck a single and then stole second to set up a two-run single from Carroll and made it 4-0 D-Backs. Even then, the offense wasn’t finished as the table was set for Walker following a stolen base and consecutive walks to Kelly and Rivera that loaded the bases. But alas, Walker’s eyes were too big for his stomach and be grounded into a double play to end the inning and the D-Backs had to settle for the four-run lead. For his part, Jarvis adroitly worked around some traffic until the fourth inning when Hanser Alberto crushed a middle-in pitch for a three-run homer that represented the totality of the White Sox offense.

The teams mostly traded zeros after that eventful fourth inning until the eighth when the regulars were long gone, and a P.J. Higgins double scored Jacen Roberson and Brett Johnson to wrap up the scoring for the D-Backs. Of particular note for Snakepit readers: Kyle Nelson was first out of the pen and continued to solidify his case for an Opening Day roster spot – especially given the Mark Melancon and Corbin Martin injuries. Additionally, Luis Frias and Carlos Vargas got some work in and both impressed – particularly Vargas and a spotless ninth.