For the first time in franchise history, the Arizona Diamondbacks opened their season on a different continent, facing off against their NL West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the first of two contests Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Left-hander Wade Miley threw five quality innings, but ultimately he was outclassed by two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who allowed just one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. Outside of an early jam in the first, Kershaw wasn’t tested the rest of his outing as the Dodgers went on to take the opener by a final of 3-1.
Here’s a look at the D-backs’ two-run loss by the numbers:
Combining Friday’s performance against Team Australia, the D-backs’ offense has only been able to score one run in 18 innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Although it didn’t have a ton of great chances against Kershaw, Arizona left seven runners on base in the loss.
One of the brighter spots for Kirk Gibson and Co. came from the team’s bullpen. After Miley exited, Arizona relievers Will Harris, Brad Ziegler, Oliver Perez and J.J. Putz threw four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits in the process.
Kershaw was credited with the win Saturday, which astonishingly was his first against the D-backs since May 2012 — a span of six starts.
Heading into their 2014 opener against the Dodgers, the D-backs were riding an MLB-high seven-game Opening Day win streak dating back to 2007. In 17 seasons, Arizona is now 10-7 to start the season.
Miley gave up all three runs for the D-backs, but he also kept Los Angeles at bay with eight strikeouts. In 2013, he never had more than eight in any given outing. His career-high, however, is 10 set back as a rookie on Oct. 1, 2012.
As if waiting the whole winter wasn’t enough, baseball fans in the Valley had to sit through a delay before Saturday’s first pitch. Because of light showers before the game, first pitch was pushed back 14 minutes.
First-year D-back Mark Trumbo had quite an adventurous evening in left field. First in the second inning, Trumbo missed time his jump and his location on a double hit off the bat of Scott Van Slyke. In the seventh inning, he temporarily redeemed himself with a beautiful throw to gun Kershaw out at second base. However the following frame, a low sinking liner hit by Adrian Gonzalez fell under his glove turning a single into an uncontested double.
Trumbo did register Arizona’s lone RBI in the loss, albeit on a groundball.
Not surprisingly, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was the only D-back to record more than one hit in the loss. Goldschmidt’s first-inning single to left field extended his hitting streak to 20 games — a carryover from last season.
Saturday’s regular season contest marked the first time two MLB teams had played at the historic cricket venue since 1914.
So how did the first taste of baseball go over down under? According to Sydney Cricket Ground’s Twitter account, 38,266 fans filed through the turnstiles to catch Saturday’s nine-inning affair.