“Proud of myself there for some discipline,” Walker said.
“I think young Christian Walker probably goes up there in swing mode. But mature, experienced Christian Walker says you got to throw him straight strikes,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Leclerc has really good stuff. And the scouting report tells us that when it’s missing, it’ll be consistent, so make him throw strikes.”
“That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” said first baseman Christian Walker on the broadcast. “To be able to answer and answer again. That’s how you win games.”
Meanwhile, the Rangers showed Pfaadt — a 24-year-old who rocketed through every level of the Minor Leagues in just three seasons — as rude a welcome as they could muster. Josh Jung hit two tape-measure shots in back-to-back innings. The second was a two-run, go-ahead homer that got Pfaadt the hook from manager Torey Lovullo.
“He got three-plus pitches but he’s not afraid to try to bully you with his fastball — and he’s got a really good one.”
It worked — for a little bit.
Pfaadt became just the 10th pitcher in baseball history to serve up four home runs in his debut. Manager Torey Lovullo stuck with Pfaadt despite several hard-hit balls in the fifth, finally getting him after the Rangers’ Josh Jung slugged his second home run of the day with two outs in the inning.
Pfaadt served up solo shots to Jonah Heim and Jung in the second and fourth innings, respectively. He allowed another home run to Leody Taveras to start the fifth. Jung’s second homer was a two-run shot.
Everything kicks off at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 4 at Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers downtown Phoenix at Chase Field, 401 E Jefferson St. Mike Hazen, Arizona Diamondbacks executive vice president and general manager, and Dr. Nader Sanai, Ivy Brain Tumor Center director, will come together to officially kick off the campaign.
Beer, 26, was acquired from the Astros alongside Josh Rojas, Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas in the 2019 deadline trade that sent Zack Greinke to Houston. He’s seen brief MLB time in the past two seasons but posted a .208/.294/.292 batting line in a total of 136 plate appearances.
MLB briefly experimented with pre-tacked baseballs at Triple-A in 2021 and Double-A in 2022, as well as in the Arizona Fall League, but none were used for long. This marked the first time a minor league would use one, pre-tacked ball for as a long as a half a season. The results of the experiment would have far-reaching implications for the future of what ball the game is played with.
Anderson, 35, was with the Rays’ Triple-A club last year but didn’t pitch for the big league squad. He opened the year with a 4.30 ERA in 23 innings for Cincinnati’s Triple-A club in Louisville, though his 19-to-13 K/BB ratio is obviously troublesome. Anderson had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal with the Reds that he’d either already exercised — giving the Reds 48 hours to add him to the active roster or release him — or planned to exercise. The Reds clearly didn’t want to displace anyone from their roster to bring Anderson back to the big leagues, but the Rays saw him differently.
Lamb got the rally started with the fifth pinch-hit home run of his career.
“We’ve got a good team,” Lamb said. “We’ve got the pitchers, we’ve got the hitters. It says something that we haven’t quite put it all together. We’re still playing pretty good baseball. I look at that as a positive. We can only get better.”
Brandon Drury also homered for the Angels. Ryan Tepera (2-1) earned the win and Carlos Estevez picked up his seventh save of the season.