Arizona Diamondbacks: Torey Lovullo switches up rotation for final regular season series
By Joseph Jacquez
The powers that be are already thinking ahead to the wild card game
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo announced before Tuesday’s game that Braden Shipley would start the home finale against the San Francisco Giants.
The 34-year-old Shipley was part of a wave of minor leaguers called up on Sept. 1 when rosters expanded. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.40 in nine games (two starts) at the major league level this season. In 21.2 innings pitched, he has given up 27 hits and five home runs.
However, the biggest issue for Shipley has been his control. In those 20-plus innings of work, he has walked 13 and struck out 16. That is not the type of ratio you want as a starter or a reliever.
The 25-year-old Shipley did step up when his team needed it most on Aug. 20 against the Minnesota Twins. Left hander T.J. McFarland started and the afternoon was deemed a bullpen game.
Shipley came into the game a lot sooner than he probably thought. McFarland inexcusably gave up seven earned runs and only recorded one out. Shipley did give up four earned runs, but he also worked 5.2 innings and saved the rest of the bullpen.
In addition, Shipley has pitched well since coming back to the Diamondbacks this month. In four relief appearances, he has a sparkling 1.93 ERA (four earned runs, 4.2 innings pitched).
In those four outings, Shipley struck out four and walked only one.
The most encouraging sign about his recent appearances has been the amount of ground ball (9) and fly ball outs (4) he has generated.
An ability to put get hitters to put the ball in play has allowed the right hander to throw fewer pitches to get three outs.
Shipley spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Reno, and he pitched to a 5.78 ERA in 20 starts across 109 innings pitched.
Hopefully, his recent success at the big league level carries over to Wednesday afternoon.
This could be his chance to make a case for the wildcard game roster.
Anthony Banda could have been another option. Banda also struggled at Reno. The left hander has made four starts with the D-backs and did beat the Giants on Aug. 4 in San Francisco. In that outing, he went six innings and allowed one earned run.
Lovullo said Zack Greinke would start Friday in Kansas City against the Royals. Taijuan Walker will get the ball Saturday, and the first-year skipper has not decided who will start the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon.
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