Takeaways from the Diamondbacks first series
No, the Diamondbacks did not win the series, but hey, they didn’t lose it either. Arizona split a challenging 4 game set with the Dodgers to begin the season. There were definitely some ugly moments, but the Diamondbacks gutted out two victories, and now head to San Diego with 2 dubs in the win column.
It is very early in the season, but the Diamondbacks proved to the rest of the NL West that they are a talented, young team that can beat you in unique ways. Fans should be excited about getting the opportunity to watch this team mold into full force. Here are 3 takeaways from the Diamondbacks opening series…
The rollercoaster ride that was the Diamondbacks bullpen
I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I think using the metaphor “roller coaster ride” perfectly describes this Arizona bullpen to open the season. Last season, the roller coaster ride was mainly going downhill, but there were definitely some highs and lows in this opening series.
Overall, the Diamondbacks bullpen gave up 9 earned runs, 12 hits, 5 HRs, and 10 walks in the 4 games against LA. Those numbers are not good by any means. But let’s look at this with a glass-half-full mindset. In the 2 losses, the D-backs bullpen gave up 8 earned runs over the course of 7.1 innings (10.14 ERA). In the 2 wins, the bullpen gave up 1 earned run over the course of 9.1 innings (0.99 ERA).
This bullpen has potential no doubt. Yes, they gave up 9 earned runs but they also struck out 22 batters. Several different guys stepped up and proved that they can be reliable moving forward. Maybe it won't always be this way, but for now, I think it is okay to get excited!
Diamondbacks outfielders came up clutch
Don’t get me wrong, Kyle Lewis had a terrible start to his debut season with the D-backs. But on Friday, he was the hero they needed desperately…
Overall Lewis looked a little lost at the plate. In 9 plate appearances, he struck out 6 times. But when it mattered the most, Lewis grabbed his bat, came off the bench, and gave the Diamondbacks their first lead of the season with one swing of the bat. He didn’t know it at the time, but his home run would be the reason Arizona clinched their first win of the season. Those strikeouts don’t seem so concerning anymore…
Jake the snake, Jake the snake, Jake the snake! Jake McCarthy’s veins are covered in ice.
Allow me to paint the scene of what went down yesterday afternoon. It’s the top of the 9th, the score is tied at 1 apiece. There are 2 outs with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Jake the snake steps into the box, looking to come up big for his team. First pitch from Brusdar Graterol, ball 1. Next pitch foul ball, 3rd pitch ball 2, and then on the 4th pitch, the unthinkable happens.
Jake freaking McCarthy lays down a bunt! A bunt?! With two outs and runners in scoring position? Yes, Jake lays down a bunt; and guess what? It works to perfection. The pitcher Graterol lunges down but can’t pick the ball up cleanly; Lourdes Gurriel Jr. scores from 3rd, Corbin Carroll goes from 2nd to 3rd, and McCarthy is safe at first with a game-winning RBI bunt single. What a moment! Ice in his veins…
Diamondbacks 1B Christian Walker is locked in
Does this surprises you? It doesn’t surprise me either. The D-backs best hitter from a year ago is picking up right where he left off.
In 14 plate appearances, Walker recorded 5 singles, 1 home run, and 2 RBIs. In his first AB, he knocked in the first run of the season for the Diamondbacks and he didn’t slow down after that. Look for Walker to be the offensive leader throughout 2023.
One thing I also want to note is that the D-backs need to be more patient at the plate. In 4 games against LA, they only walked once and they only averaged 3.65 pitches per plate appearance. A huge reason they struggled offensively, posting an OBP of .214. Look for this to change in their short 2-game tango with the Padres starting Monday, April 3.