Merrill Kelly continues to make a case for D-backs’ starting rotation

Mar 7, 2020, 6:24 PM | Updated: 9:37 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball ga...

Arizona Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Monday, March 2, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher Merrill Kelly continued to improve and solidify a starting rotation spot for himself with his second start of spring training at Salt River Fields on Saturday.

Kelly allowed just three hits, one walk, and two earned runs in four innings of work in a 10-5 split-squad win against the San Diego Padres.

He was able to get ahead of batters consistently throughout his outing and keep runners off the base path. A triple in the third inning to Abraham Almonte – that didn’t yield a run – and a two-run home run by first basemen Ty France in the fourth inning were the only blemishes on his day.

“I was happy with location,” he said after the game. “I was happy with pitches. I was able to throw all of them for strikes, which I was happy with.”

The 31-year-old hurler only fell behind in the count to three batters during his start, which he attributed to focusing on his command.

“One of my main goals today was just going and trying to get strike one,” he said. “I think I did a pretty good job of that.”

Kelly, who went 13-14 with a 4.42 ERA last season as a starter for the D-backs, led MLB rookies in strikeouts and was second in innings pitched. Yet with the offseason moves, he is one of several pitchers competing to be a part of the starting rotation.

“I think when you put together a baseball game and you’re talking through the starting pitching, you’re hoping to get out of your outing what Merrill Kelly gave us,” said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo after the game.

“He was on the attack. I could feel it in the dugout. He was doing a good job with his fastball,” he added.

In his first start of Cactus League play, Kelly pitched four innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.


Jake Lamb went 3-3 with a home run, double, four RBIs, and a walk.

He has only played in 134 games over the last two seasons due to injuries and is battling for a spot in the starting lineup.

“Jake Lamb had a great day offensively,” said Lovullo. “It’s something that I think he’s working very hard for, so I was glad to see that.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the f...
Character Counts

D-backs’ Luke Weaver helping raise money for exploited girls in Philippines

D-backs pitcher Luke Weaver is teaming up with Big League Impact to help raise money for exploited and trafficked Filipino girls.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starter Tyler Gilbert, right, gets a visit to the mound by catcher Daulton Var...
Arizona Sports

The Ain’t No Fang Podcast: Who should fill out the D-backs’ rotation?

There are spots to fill when looking at the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting rotation. Who are the likely candidates?
1 day ago
Josh Rojas #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks dives to third base to get the force out on CJ Abrams #7...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Diamondbacks offense fizzles in loss to Padres

The Arizona Diamondbacks followed up 18 runs in their last two games with zero in a loss to the San Diego Padres.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks second basemen Buddy Kennedy (45) flips the ball to Arizona Diamondbacks short...
Jake Anderson

D-backs’ Geraldo Perdomo, Buddy Kennedy acclimating to big-league level in rookie season

D-backs rookie infielders Geraldo Perdomo and Buddy Kennedy are finding out exactly what the everyday rigor of an MLB workday entails.
2 days ago
Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his walk-off RBI fielder's choice with ...
Jake Anderson

D-backs overcome 6-run deficit late to walk off Padres in bizarre fashion

The Arizona Diamondbacks rallied late to walk off the San Diego Padres 7-6 in bizarre fashion at Chase Field on Tuesday night.
3 days ago
Starting pitcher Zach Davies #27 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a pitch during the first inning...
Arizona Sports

D-backs place RHP Zach Davies on 15-day IL, recall reliever Sean Poppen

The D-backs have placed starting pitcher Zach Davies on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, the team announced Tuesday. 
3 days ago
Merrill Kelly continues to make a case for D-backs’ starting rotation