Arizona Diamondbacks Daily: Diamondbacks open series with ‘grinder’ win over Royals
The Arizona Diamondbacks host the Kansas City Royals in a 3-game series beginning Monday night. Follow our updates on the series at Chase Field.
Diamondbacks eke-out ‘grinder’ win over Royals in series opener
The ball that drove in the go-ahead run on Monday night left Nick Ahmed’s bat at 30.4 mph. A key out in the ninth was tracked down near the dugout railing by none other than reliever Andrew Chafin.
The Diamondbacks’ starter did not complete five. The offense did not deliver much in the way of timely hits. An out was made at home plate on what looked like a botched double steal.
So, no, things did not exactly go the way the Diamondbacks drew it up, but they beat the Kansas City Royals, 5-4, at Chase Field, and in their eyes, that was pretty much all that mattered. It counted as a single victory in the standings, just the same as the most well-played, well-executed performance they could turned in.
“To win these tweeners where we feel like we have a chance to win and it’s a matter of executing and holding them off one more inning or something like that, for me these are the games when you look back and you end up being proud of a season,” Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker said. “These are the wins that need to happen, these grinders.”
They won despite a shaky effort from left-hander Tommy Henry, who lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks, in his first start in the majors this season.
And they won despite what Lovullo called “overmanaging” on his part, namely that he started bringing in his leverage relievers in the fifth, a decision that resulted in Chafin having to record the final five outs of the game — and needing 35 pitches to do so.
“I was just trying to connect some dots,” Lovullo said. “The dots were a little bit longer than I wanted.”
Chafin’s outing started on somewhat shaky ground with a walk and a game-tying single in the top of the eighth, but after the Diamondbacks reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the inning, he got the final three outs. One of them came on a play not seen all that often.
The Royals’ Edward Olivares popped a ball into foul territory toward the visitors’ dugout. Both catcher Gabriel Moreno and Walker gave pursuit before yielding to Chafin, who called them off and made the play a few feet in front of the railing.
“That guy power shags in the outfield every day during BP,” Walker said. “I felt real comfortable letting him catch that one.”
Said Chafin: “It’s been my dream to try to make a Top 10 play. Obviously, that’s not even close. But I’m always ready to jump off a mound and try to make a play.”
Lovullo viewed it in much the same way he viewed the game as a whole: He’ll take it.
“Him calling off the first baseman and the catcher? I don’t love it,” Lovullo said. “In fact, I don’t love it at all. But he caught the ball, so I’ll take an out. He made the play, but it’s not how we design it here.”
For a Diamondbacks team that has had trouble working walks at the plate, this game stood out: They drew eight walks, including one by Walker to lead off the eighth that led to the go-ahead run.
That said, Walker got a little help. Ball 2 was courtesy of Royals reliever Aroldis Chapman apparently coming set too quickly, before Walker had time to get in the box.
That made the count 2-1, and three pitches later Walker trotted down to first. He moved to third on Gabriel Moreno’s single, then scored when Ahmed cued a two-strike slider from Chapman to the first-base side of the mound.
Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino gloved it but threw wide of catcher Salvador Perez, allowing Walker to slide home safely.
“I was early,” Ahmed said. “It’s hard to stay back on his slider when he’s got that 100 (mph fastball). Thankfully, I hit it slow enough to let Walk get in there.”
It felt like the sort of win that might have been as much a result of the competition — the Royals dropped to 5-18 to start the year — as it was the Diamondbacks’ performance. But when games end with handshakes and smiles those kind of details are easy to overlook.
“We won the baseball game,” Lovullo said, “that’s the bottom line.”
Diamondbacks option Drey Jameson to Triple-A
The Diamondbacks optioned Drey Jameson to Triple-A Reno ahead of their series opener against the Royals.
Left-hander Tommy Henry was already in line to be promoted Monday. Henry is starting the opener of a three-game set in what had been Madison Bumgarner’s spot in the rotation before the veteran was designated for assignment last week. However, the move to option Jameson comes as a surprise.
Read more here: In surprising move, Drey Jameson sent down
Christian Walker out of Diamondbacks’ lineup again
First baseman Christian Walker was out of the lineup again on Monday, missing a second consecutive day after being struck on the left forearm by a pitch on Saturday night.
“It feels good,” Walker said Monday afternoon. “Much better than yesterday. I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be in there tomorrow.”
Walker said he has not had any additional tests performed on his arm since Saturday night when he underwent X-rays, which came back negative.
This is the first time Walker has been out of the lineup on consecutive days since September 2021.
Diamondbacks’ prospect Bryce Jarvis promoted to Triple-A
Right-hander Bryce Jarvis, the club’s first-round pick from 2020, has been promoted to Triple-A Reno after a solid three starts to open the year in Double-A Amarillo.
Jarvis, 25, had a 3.86 ERA with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 14 innings in Amarillo. Perhaps his most notable improvement is that he has yet to allow a homer after giving up 27 in 106 2/3 innings in Double-A last year.
This year, Jarvis worked to improve his fastball extension and add deception. Coaches have also praised his secondary stuff, in particular his ability to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes.
“We asked Jarvis to make some adjustments this off-season with both usage and his delivery and to his credit he did a good job with that and we have started to see it pay dividends in his game performance,” farm director Josh Barfield said. “He has thrown the ball well so far and he was an easy choice to go up in our minds.”
Tommy Henry scheduled to start for Diamondbacks on Monday
At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Tommy Henry (1-0, 6.33) vs. Royals RHP Brad Keller (2-2, 3.00).
TV/Radio: Bally Sports Arizona/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1)
Henry was brought up from Triple-A Reno to move into Madison Bumgarner’s vacated rotation spot, which was open after Bumgarner was recently designated for assignment. Henry, a 25-year-old left-hander, went 3-4 with a 5.36 ERA in nine starts for the Diamondbacks last season. Keller is 37-51 in his career but is to face Arizona for the first time.
—José M. Romero
More: Arizona Diamondbacks’ upcoming schedule provides golden opportunity after brutal start
What to know about the Kansas City Royals
The Diamondbacks open a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday. The two teams played each other four times last season with Arizona winning three of the four, including both at home. Kansas City is off to a miserable start in 2023, 5-17 entering the series, but four of those wins came on the road. Not much is expected competitively from the Royals this season, but they have some promising young talent and one of the game’s top catchers in Salvador Perez. First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino is off to a hot start with a .874 OPS. On the pitching side, only Kris Bubic has been effective so far this year, but he will have to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.
—José M. Romero
More: Without his best pitch, Drey Jameson struggles as Diamondbacks fall to Padres
Who else is pitching in Diamondbacks vs. Royals series?
Tuesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Ryne Nelson (1-0, 4.91) vs. Royals RHP Brady Singer (1-2, 8.14).
TV/Radio: Bally Sports Arizona Plus/KTAR-AM (620), KHOV-FM (105.1)
Nelson struggled against the Padres on Thursday, allowing five runs in five innings. He only allowed three hits, but all of them were loud contact. Two were doubles, one was a home run. He also walked three and only struck out four. … Nelson has struggled to miss bats, striking out just 14 batters in 22 innings across his first four starts. His whiff rate is in the 31st percentile league-wide. … Singer was excellent last year, with a 3.23 ERA, but has struggled early on this year. … Over his last three starts, he has allowed 18 runs on 24 hits in 16 innings. He went five innings and allowed five runs last time out against Texas.
Wednesday: At Chase Field, 12:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (3-1, 2.59) vs. Royals TBD.
Friday: At Coors Field, 5:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (1-3, 3.42) vs. Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-2, 4.28).
Saturday: At Coors Field, 5:10 p.m., Diamondbacks TBD vs. Rockies RHP José Ureña (0-4, 9.82).
More: Diamondbacks catcher Moreno has throwback style that has helped him throw out runners
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Diamondbacks daily: Diamondbacks eke-out ‘grinder’ win over Royals
Source: Yahoo Sports