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Arizona Diamondbacks – Rough debut for Shipley

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Diamondbacks drop opener in Milwaukee (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
Diamondbacks drop opener in Milwaukee (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
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Right-hander Branden Shipley of the Arizona Diamondbacks gave up three home runs and took the loss in his major league debut.

Since they had two picks on the opening round of the 2011 draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks have since selected five pitchers out of their nine opening round selections since that time.

Of the nine, two remain on the club’s 40-man roster and after Branden Shipley made his major league debut Monday night in Milwaukee, the Arizona Diamondbacks have emptied the cartridge of their drafted pitching ammunition.

With no more highly-regarded, drafted talent remaining in the organization, decision-makers of the Arizona Diamondbacks appear at cross-roads. Having traded former first round pitchers Trevor Bauer (2011), Aaron Blair (2013) and Touki Toussaint (2014), now the development period for Shipley and Archie Bradley, drafted in 2011, commenced. No longer does the organization have the luxury of waiting for development, for the immediate need for quality arms is apparent.

With two starters from opening day, Zack Greinke and Rubby De La Rosa (now on 60-day DL) on the disabled list and a third, Shelby Miller banished to the minors, the starting rotation appears as works-in-progress. While manager Chip Hale says Bradley and lefty Robbie Ray remain the most consistent, left-hander Patrick Corbin, who had a brilliant spring and a mediocre season at best, has not won a game at home.

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If there was ever a need for Shipley to step forward, Monday night in Miller Park in Milwaukee was the hour. In his big league debut, Shipley proved the critical thesis of Hale’s manifesto, location, location, location. In allowing three homers of the eight hits he surrendered, Shipley proved the point that a refined definition of the strike zone, at the major league level, is mandatory.

“Chip asked me how I felt after the fifth, and I told him, ‘Look I feel good.’ And I think my pitch count was OK, and I wanted to give the team one more strong inning,” Shipley told MLB.com. “And unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get out of that sixth inning.”

For his effort, Shipley went 5.1 innings, allowed those eight hits, six runs and tossed 101 pitches. If he was around the plate for most of the night, a three-run homer from Brewers’ catcher Martin Maldonado in the sixth was the dagger.

“I thought he threw some real good curveballs,” Hale told MLB.com. “Changeup was probably a little hard tonight, a little up. That’s what got him in trouble. I thought he looked very competitive out there. First time out, it’s not easy here at the big league level, so I was very happy with what I saw. Obviously, now we move onto his next start, and we want to get a winning effort. That’s what we’re looking for, we’re trying to develop these guys into winners. We’ll expect a little more next time.”

Next: No timetable for Greinke's timetable

The next time for Shipley will be this Saturday night in Dodger Stadium. Here, the 24-year-old is expected to face Dodgers’ lefty Scott Kazmir. Given the Diamondbacks present turmoil in the rotation, Shipley’s inclusion is another example of bringing up a pitcher with a short-term plan and hope his immediate stay represents an important bridge to a successful major league career.

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