Pitching is what they say wins ball games, and the Arizona Diamondbacks got just that in a two game mini sweep over the visiting New York Yankees. One thing that really helped Arizona was that the Yankees have 13 players on the disabled list right now, including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Clint Frazier, Jacoby Ellsbury, Troy Tulowitzki, just to name a few. So you could say it was a perfect time for a visit from New York. As a fan though, it has to be disappointing not being able to see some these big name players.
Tuesday night Zack Greinke threw 7.2 innings giving up just one run on five hits. Yesterday it was Merrill Kelly who gave up just one run on five hits in 5.1 innings. The bullpen went five innings in the two games, allowing just one run. That kind of pitching is going to win you a lot of ball games. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said, "I thought Merrill was really good today. He made a couple of mistakes, one being the home run, but he got us into a postion where we could turn the game over to the bullpen with the lead."
The D-backs struck first on an RBI single by Nick Ahmed, scoring Christian Walker and it was 1-0. Ketel Marte scored on a wild pitch by Masahiro Tanaka and it was 2-0. In the fourth, Ketel Marte hit his seventh homer of the season to make it 3-0.
Kelly worked out of a jam in the fourth, but in the fifth Luke Voit clubbed the first pitch over the left field fence to make it 3-1. Kelly said, "I feel, like I can definelty do better, with just the way I feel and how the ball is coming out. I am satisfied with the results that I have had with the way I feel right now." You might remember Voit from his stint with the Cardinals. He was the player who hit the line shot that went off of Robbie Ray's head. Prior to the first game of the series, Voit went to find Ray to see how he was doing. It was a classy thing to do.
In the seventh inning, New York manager Aaron Boone was ejected for the second time this season, and the seventh time in his career, after coming out to question whether a pitch had hit Tyler Wade's foot. Boone appeared to be still upset by a review of a play earlier in the game that went against the Yankees.
The Yankees (17-13) made it more interesting in the eighth. Archie Bradley gave up a single to Mike Tauchman, scoring Voit, who led off the inning with a four pitch walk. In the ninth, D-back closer Gregg Holland remained perfect on the season, as he got Brett Gardner to fly out to center with the tying run on first. Holland (1-0), has now pitched in 11 games, sporting an astonishing 0.00 ERA. He has 15 strikouts, and picked up his seventh save of the season. Lovullo said, "The bullpen has been outstanding. I think our bullpen does a good job coming in and executing the game plan. They are fearless."
After an opening month of traditional quality opponents like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, and Yankees, not many gave the D-backs a chance of being near .500, but the team has persevered thus far. They overcame a miserable start in LA, where the pitching staff gave up 42 runs, ok, 35, since catcher John Ryan Murphy gave up seven of those. Still, quite a turnaround to say the least. Christian Walker has settled in at first base, and even without Jake Lamb, Taijuan Walker, Alex Avila, and Steven Souza Jr., the D-backs are getting positive things from the entire team. It is a long season, and hopefully they can avoid the pitfalls of May 2018, when they went 8-19 after a 20-8 start.
The D-backs (18-13) are traveling today to face the Colorado Rockies in a three game series, starting tomorrow. Then off to Tampa Bay to face the Rays on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, before coming back home to take on the Atlanta Braves, beginning a week from today.