After beginning the baseball season with a 4-0 exhibition win over Arizona State yesterday at Salt River Fields, the Diamondbacks open up Cactus League play today against an N.L. West rival, the Colorado Rockies.
The games count now towards the team’s cactus league record, and while the end result doesn’t matter, the competition will be fierce given that there are so many spots on the major-league roster that haven’t been decided yet, and at the end of the day, nobody likes to loose.
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Where: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
TV/Radio: None/Audio Webcast on MLB.com
Need to Know: This will be De La Rosa’s first start in a Diamondbacks uniform since being acquired in the off-season as part of the Wade Miley trade with the Red Sox. The Diamondbacks only have two rotation spots set in stone right now: Josh Collmenter, and Jeremy Hellickson.
Fourteen pitchers will compete for the final three spots, meaning that every spring start, and every pitch is important. Dbacks pitchers will not be taking spring games lightly.
This is the first chance for De La Rosa to impress the Diamondbacks coaching staff in a game. Last season with the Red Sox, De La Rosa went 4-8 with a 4.43 era, and a 74/35 K/BB ratio in 18 starts.
Lyles will also be making his first start of the spring. Last season in 22 starts with the Rockies, he went 7-4 with a 4.33 era, and a 90/46 K/BB ratio. Lyles will be sporting a remade changeup this season
What to Watch For:
Keeping the Ball Down
As I stated above, every start counts for all the Diamondbacks pitchers, and the coaching staff will be evaluating every pitch in order to determine who should fill out the rest of the big league rotation.
The number one thing I will be watching for with De La Rosa is his ability to keep the ball down, and in the yard. Last season De La Rosa had a GB% of 45.7, yet he gave up twelve home runs. Pitchers that don’t keep the ball in the ballpark usually don’t do well at Chase Field.
Brandon Drury at Second Base
Brandon Drury will make the start for the Diamondbacks at second base today, and I will be watching for how well he fields that position. The Diamondbacks have a lot of infielders, and if more guys can show positional versatility, that will benefit the Diamondbacks in the short term and long term.
Diamondbacks Lineup courtesy of @Dbacks on twitter:
Rockies Lineup courtesy of @Rockies on twitter: