Almost got away from this one with not too much to unpack other than a lackluster offense, but we should probably begin our discussion around a key injury that occurred with two outs in the top of the ninth. With Arizona down to its last gasp trailing 4-0 and David Peralta standing at second, Jake Lamb laced a liner to right center field. That hit ensured that Arizona would not go down without a run, but more important on the play was that Lamb had to pull up at second base with an apparent leg injury. Fortunately, he was able to leave the field without any assistance.
Lamb walks off, initially very scary. Hopefully he’s ok pic.twitter.com/IFJjhVhqno— Jody Jackson (@Jody_Jackson) April 3, 2019
After the game, Torey Lovullo commented that Lamb suffered a left quadriceps strain and would have an MRI tomorrow. I shouldn’t fail to mention that all of this comes during the first game this season with Christian Walker at first, Eduardo Escobar at second, and Lamb at third. Remarks from Lovullo during the series against the Dodgers seemed to suggest we wouldn’t see that until later in the season so... (shrug). I expect Ildemaro Vargas to be called back up from Reno in a corresponding move should Lamb have to miss significant time.
Robbie Ray took the mound today, his second start of the season, facing off against fellow left hander Joey Lucchesi. Churve this. Churve that. Churve. Churve. Churve. I think if I hear the word churve one more time I’m going to scream. It refers to a pitch Lucchesi throws with a changeup grip but curveball motion. I shouldn’t be so salty about it. The pitch is actually a cool concept, but we’ve had to hear about it an insufferable amount of times seeing that Lucchesi faced Arizona on six occasions last season. That was more than he had faced any other opponent, and he didn’t have a great track record against the D’backs before today. Last season he went 0-5 against them in his six starts with a 6.07 ERA. Today was a nice buck in that trend for him.
Arizona managed to get only four hits off of Lucchesi, albeit three of them went for extra bases. The D’backs had a chance to draw first blood in the top of the first when Marte doubled to right center with one out. He advanced to third base on an error from Wil Myers on the play, but Peralta and Walker were unable to bring him home. That would be the only time Arizona would manage to have a runner in scoring position with less than one out until the ninth inning which should tell you how much of a drudge the D’backs offense was in today.
Lucchesi ultimately went on to complete five scoreless innings against Arizona today striking out six and walking only one. Last season he didn’t have a single game against Arizona where he allowed less than two earned runs. Robbie Ray was at slightly more impressive on the mound at least until the fifth inning rolled around.
“Big Game Bob” retired the first ten batters he faced not allowing a baserunner until Wil Myers singled in the fourth. A few viewers, including myself, had noticed that his fastball velocity was hovering around 90-92 MPH, a shade under where he usually is around 94 MPH. However, it didn’t seem to matter much because his command of the strike zone was strong allowing him to be efficient. It made me wonder if it was part of his game plan to take a few ticks off in order to be more efficient, but we’d need him to answer that. He needed only 42 pitches to complete the fourth inning which is almost unheard of for him.
The fifth inning is where things began to get a bit dicey for him. His command suddenly evaporated and he began spiking a few sliders in the dirt. He retired the first two batters he had faced in that inning, Hunter Renfroe and Eric Hosmer, but then issued two straight walks to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Austin Hedges. Andy Green elected to have Francisco Mejia pinch hit for Lucchesi, and it proved to be a wise move because he doubled to bring in the first run of the game for San Diego.
Ray managed to escape the fifth allowing only the one run, so Lovullo opted to send him back out to the mound for the bottom of the sixth. It was a poor decision because the command issues continued. After inducing a Wil Myers flyout to begin the frame, Ray issued back to back walks to Manny Machado and Franmil Reyes. At that point, Lovullo had seen enough and went to Yoshihisa Hirano out of the bullpen leaving Ray responsible for the two runners on base. Yoshi proceeded to allow a single loading the bases, and then walked Eric Hosmer bringing in the second Padres run of the game.
Robbie Ray really had it going in San Diego...and then he didn't:— Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) April 3, 2019
Part 1: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 44 pitches, 30 strikes.
Part 2: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 45 pitches, 20 strikes. #Dbacks
Matt Andriese took the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings having not appeared since Friday’s marathon in Los Angeles. With two outs and Ian Kinsler on first in the bottom of the seventh, Andriese threw an 0-2 fastball inside to Manny Machado. He turned on the pitch and lined it off of the Western Metal Supply Company building giving the Padres a 4-0 lead and eventual 4-1 victory.
The only position player with more than a percentage point of positive win probability added had to leave the game today due to injury, so I’ll spare you that agony.
The role call tool is still crapping out on us, but there appears to be a healthy 674 comments for a matinee game. That’s impressive considering a noticeable absence from the peanut gallery. The Arizona Diamondbacks return to Chase Field for their home opener against the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Send out an S.O.S. for those of us who will brave the crowds of a defending World Series Champion.