A series with the Tampa Bay Rays was never going to be a walk in the park. This is a team that is leading the entire league in Wins, 2nd in both runs scored and ERA, while doing it against a top-5 strength of schedule and will continue that with a .519 remaining SOS. This is a great team and will be World Series front-runners in the American League. It was also a good barometer for a young D-backs team looking to make waves of their own. We saw competition in the first two games, and the needs of the team are more glaring than ever as they look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Brandon Pfaadt was making his 6th start of the year in the MLB after a monthlong return to AAA. Others have done a much better job describing what he’s accomplished in his return and with the injury to Merrill Kelly, the team needs Pfaadt to perform like he’s shown and expected as a top prospect. Unfortunately for both him and the team, he was facing the previously mentioned best team in the league, and they showed him exactly why.
A 1-out single in the first was erased thanks to a stolen base attempt, but Luke Raley lifted a hanging breaking ball with two strikes just over the wall in right for an early 1-0 lead.
Pfaadt looked to have settled down after that, striking out 3 of the next 4 batters, but the Rays jumped all over him in the 4th, with 7 straight batters reaching base and before you knew it Brandon’s day was over without getting an out in the 3rd. His line ended with 2IP, 6 ER, 3Ks, and 2BBs.
Austin Adams came on in relief for the rookie and proceeded to shut down the threat, but the damage was done and the Rays scored all the runs they’d need today 6-0.
The Diamondbacks bullpen was stellar in giving the team an opportunity to come back, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9 across the final seven innings. Big shoutout to Austin Adams, Jose Ruiz, Kyle Nelson, and Drey Jamison.
The offense meanwhile struggled to capitalize on opportunities when presented. A Christian Walker leadoff double was stranded there in the 2nd, the same in the 3rd with a leadoff double from Moreno, McCarthy tripled with 2 outs in the 6th but was left there, and in the 9th Gurriel and Longoria reached base but Smith, and Moreno struck out and Thomas grounded out to end the ball game. The only bright spot was Lourdes Gurriel as his home run in the 7th kept their shutout streak alive. Small victories when you can get them.
Of note: After Corbin Carroll struck out in the 3rd inning, he was noticeably grabbing and moving his right shoulder. He played the field in the 4th, but McCarthy replaced him in the field. For anyone other than him, it wouldn’t be a factor. But that right shoulder is the one he had surgery on two years ago. Thankfully, Torey Lovullo clarified that the injury is minor and he is day-to-day with right shoulder soreness. No testing is necessary.
Corbin Carroll is day-to-day with right shoulder soreness, per #Dbacks skipper Torey Lovullo.— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) June 29, 2023
The manager added that no other testing is necessary and the concern level is minimal.
: @Tdrake4sports pic.twitter.com/RfmkadwLf5
The tough stretch continues with a quick matchup in Los Angeles against the Angels as we get a close look at AL-MVP front-runner Shohei Ohtani. First pitch is tomorrow at 6:40pm.