Right-hander Braden Shipley made his 2017 Arizona Diamondbacks debut Thursday against the Washington Nationals
Early on in his minor-league career, right-hander Braden Shipley of the Arizona Diamondbacks mowed down opposing hitters with a hard fastball.
The Medford, Ore. native took a different approach last season. Shipley opted to throw his four-seam fastball slower and averaged 92.06 mph in 2016, according to Brooks Baseball.
Shipley appeared in 13 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks (11 starts) in 2016. The 25-year-old worked 5-plus innings in 10 of his first 11 career starts, tied for the second most by a Diamondbacks’ starter through his first 11 starts. Chase Anderson and Wade Miley accomplished the same feat, according to STATS, LLC. went 4-5 with a 5.27 ERA
But, the end results were not there. Shipley went 4-5 with a 5.27 ERA. In 70 innings pitched, the righty allowed 14 home runs, walked 28 and struck out 43.
During the offseason, Shipley decided to throw 94 and 95 again. An offseason program helped strengthen the Scottsdale resident’s legs and upper body.
Shipley, speaking to azcentral.com, has noticed a considerable difference in his delivery.
"I’m just able to move freely down the mound now, and I think there’s a little bit more behind the ball than in past years. My legs are stronger, upper body is stronger."
Shipley has reportedly touched 95 consistently in 2017. In five starts for the Aces, Shipley was 3-1 with a 4.18 ERA (13 ER in 28.0 IP). In his most recent start, the No.15 pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2013 MLB Draft tossed six shutout innings against the Fresno Grizzles.
Field manager Torey Lovullo, the Aces and the Diamondbacks’ front office decided it was the right time for Shipley to audition for a rotation spot. Lovullo said performance matters and Shipley’s line suggests he did not make the greatest first impression.
Shipley only gave up three earned runs and touched 94 mph. The Nationals, in gaining a 4-2 victory Thursday afternoon, did not exactly string hits together, but the Diamondbacks’ right-hander walked six and three scored. Shipley threw just 49 of his 92 total pitches for strikes. A 30-pitch second inning, followed by a 34-pitch third prevented the right-hander from pitching past the fourth.
Lovullo gave Shipley a chance to get through five innings. Yet, a lead-off single by Ryan Zimmerman ended Shipley’s day.
Shipley, speaking with MLB.com, said he did not pitch the way he normally does.
"The story of the game is that I let them get back into counts. [My] stuff felt awesome today, super electric. From the ‘pen to all the way until I was finished. I thought I wasn’t aggressive enough with my fastball early in counts and really didn’t pitch how I tend to pitch."
Lovullo said Shipley deserved credit for battling until the end but did not indicate whether or not he would get another chance to start. The Diamondbacks have an off day after the series with Colorado in Denver concludes Sunday. It is possible Arizona will not name a fifth starter until the home series against the Detroit Tigers begins Tuesday.
If Shipley gets another shot, the right-hander could throw his cutter less and his two-seam sinking fastball more. Several situations could have merited a two-seam sinking fastball, but catcher Chris Iannetta continued to call for the cutter, a pitch Shipley could not throw for strikes.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks offense could not get anything going against Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer. Arizona hitters managed two hits against the former Diamondback. Scherzer whiffed 11 and allowed one run in seven innings.
Jake Lamb got the Diamondbacks on the board with a solo shot off Scherzer in the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo shot off reliever Joe Blanton, but Enny Romero touched 100 mph and earned his first save.
WP: Scherzer (4-2)
LP: Shipley (0-1)
SV: Romero (1)
Home runs: Lamb (7), Goldschmidt (5)
Banda, Aces blast the Bees
The Reno Aces earned win No. 17 on the season. The Aces tallied a franchise-record 26 hits and defeated the Salt Lake Bees 22-3.
Banda is widely considered the Diamondbacks’ top prospect and the right-hander turned in his best outing of the season. Banda shut out the Bees over seven innings, fanned nine and walked one.
During spring training, Banda competed for a spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation and he might have nothing left to prove.
- Gregor Blanco began a rehab assignment Thursday with the Reno Aces. Blanco started in center field, batted second and went 2-for-5 and scored two runs.
- Steve Hathaway began a rehab assignment with the Double-A Jackson Generals Thursday. Hathaway appeared in game one of a doubleheader against the Mobile Bay Bears. The southpaw walked two and allowed a run in one-third of an inning.
- Jake Barrett made his second rehab appearance for the Visalia Rawhide Wednesday. The right-hander struck out the side in the eighth but allowed two unearned runs and two hits. Last month, Lovullo said Barrett was not guaranteed of a roster spot after he completes his rehab assignment.
- To make room for Shipley, outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker was optioned to Reno. In 21 games with the Diamondbacks, Hazelbaker hit .308 with one home run and 5 RBI.
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The Diamondbacks traveled to Denver after Thursday’s game. Arizona will open a three-game series Friday night. Look for RHP Zack Greinke (2-2, 3.19 ERA) to oppose RHP German Marquez (0-1, 7.20 ERA) on Friday night
The Rockies beat the San Diego Padres Thursday, 3-2. Colorado (18-11) starts the series with Arizona 1.5 games ahead of Arizona in the National League West.