Jake Lamb comes through twice for D-backs on Opening Day
Mar 29, 2018, 10:14 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2018, 12:17 am
(AP Photo/Matt York)
Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb knows what the big question mark is surrounding him in 2018 and beyond.
How Lamb hits against left-handed pitching and if he can improve on that to become a more consistent hitter at the age of 27 will be what swings his career one direction or another in the next few seasons.
Lamb had to answer that question on Opening Day Thursday, and while fans didn’t get the answer they wanted, they still got production out of the third baseman.
As they did in the NL Wild Card game, Arizona got to Colorado starter Jon Gray in the bottom of the first inning. Singles from David Peralta and A.J. Pollock brought up Paul Goldschmidt, who would walk to load the bases.
On the first pitch he saw, Lamb doubled on a high and deep ball to right-center that was awkward for the Rockies to deal with in the outfield. Had there been two outs, Goldschmidt would have scored, but with no outs, the runners had to be safe and instead it was two RBI for Lamb on a double and Goldschmidt was on third.
At a 3-1 score in the bottom of the fifth, Peralta would again single to lead-off an inning. Pollock and Goldschmidt both walked to bring up Lamb, but the difference is Rockies manager Bud Black would bring in left-hander Chris Rusin for Lamb to deal with.
So, here was Lamb, having hit .144 in 132 at-bats against lefties in 2017 having an opportunity to attack that narrative on the first day of the season in a big moment.
It was not meant to be, though, as Lamb struck out on five pitches and dropped to 0-for-9 in his career against Rusin.
Luckily for Lamb, he would get another opportunity to make a big play that could firmly put the D-backs in the driver’s seat.
This time with a 4-2 score in the bottom of the sixth, Lamb once again found himself in a bases-loaded situation following a Goldschmidt walk.
Right-hander Scott Oberg was in for Colorado and after seeing one pitch, Lamb took the second pitch to left on a two-RBI single that brought home Jarrod Dyson and Peralta to make it 6-2. That would give the D-backs bullpen a four-run cushion to work with in the last three innings.
Lamb wouldn’t prove his doubters wrong regarding his ability to hit left-handed pitching on Opening Day, but he would still prove that he could be a difference-maker for the D-backs with 4 RBI in his first four at-bats.