Braden Shipley, in his second start for the Arizona Diamondbacks, gained his first major league victory
LOS ANGELES – Given the current state of relievers, manager Chip Hale of the Arizona Diamondbacks would not be wrong to show hesitation.
That would be in regard to his starters whom he identified before Saturday’s game as occupying a greater comfort level than his relievers. It’s the bullpen, he noted, which now transmits concern throughout the organization. That is clearly in concert to the walks and home runs which acted all season as powerful agents against his staff.
Despite his reputation of having a short leach on starters, Hale showed a slight reluctance to pull the hook on starter Braden Shipley Saturday in Dodger Stadium. Shutting down the Dodgers over the first six innings, Shipley, in just his second major league start, was superb with a nasty assortment of breaking pitches that kept Los Angeles hitters clearly off-balance.
In the end, Shipley’s service level dictated his future. Reaching a pitch count of 106 after six frames, Hale went with the hook, but not until praised was heaped.
Shipley finished his night by limiting the Dodgers to five hits over those six frames, walked one, fanned four hitters, and gained a 4-2 victory before 49,540. In the process, Shipley picked up his first major league win, and said he was ready to build on this experience.
His breaking stuff was so effective, Shipley induced 10 outs of the 18 on the ground. Throw in four Ks and a one double play, that reduced fly balls to Arizona outfielders to three. That included two flies to center from Corey Seager and a fly to right from Justin Turner.
In between, the Arizona Diamondbacks touched L. A. starter Scott Kazmir for a game lead-off homer from Jean Segura and a pair in the second inning runs. Brandon Drury knocked in the final run with a seventh inning single. Through his six innings, all Shipley needed was those three early runs.
“The key was my fast ball command,” Shipley said afterward. “From there, I was able to use my breaking ball effectively, and keep them off-balanced. It’s all about working down in the zone.”
From just up the coast at Medford, Ore., Shipley said he was surrounded by family and friends, and a very friendly defense. Infield coach Matt Williams had the Dodgers well scouted and positioned infielders, especially third baseman Jake Lamb in the hole between first and second. Here, the infield defense was able to flag down potential singles to the outfield.
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As a result, Shipley, with his penchant for keeping the ball down, shut down the Dodgers at every turn. During his six innings, Shipley did not allow multi-base runners in any frame, and runners reached as far as second only three times. Each of these reached second as a result of a double. That was a first inning two-bagger down the left field line from Turner, a two-out double in the third from Seager and a two-out double from Chase Utley in the fifth.
“That’s what (Shipley’s) done all year at Reno,” said Hale. “Getting the ball down is his calling card. He gets ground ball outs, and the defense played perfectly behind him. Fast ball location was his key, and guys played in the right position to get important outs.”
What seemed lost in Shipley’s coming-out party is the fact the Arizona Diamondbacks are now in a position to take this series from the Dodgers. After beating L. A. in two of three two weeks ago in Chase field, the Diamondbacks will try and even the season series with the Dodgers. Coming into Sunday’s finale, the Dodgers have taken six of the 11 games played to date.
Also of note in this win was the production of Yasmany Tomas. With a 2-for-4 night, Tomas has now hit safely in seven straight games. In that streak, which began July 24, Tomas is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with two doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs.
The road trip finale
In the Sunday finale at 1:10 p.m. in Dodger Stadium, look for lefty Patrick Corbin (4-9, 5.31) to take on right-hander Bud Norris (6-9, 4.27). Then, the Arizona Diamondbacks return to Chase Field, beginning Monday night, for a six-game home stand. This features three with the Washington Nationals and three with the Milwaukee Brewers.