Randall Delgado finds his form in impressive four-inning appearance
SCOTTSDALE — Wednesday night’s start against the Milwaukee Brewers wasn’t a make-or-break appearance for Arizona Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado, but another bad outing certainly wouldn’t have bode well for the 24-year-old’s chances to stay in contention for the fifth spot in the team’s 2013 rotation.
Delgado, who was dealt to Arizona in the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves back in January, came into his second spring start sporting a less-than-stellar 9.64 ERA (two prior appearances against Angels and Royals).
The right-hander’s evening got off to a bit of a rocky start after he allowed singles to Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura to begin the ballgame. While Segura was thrown out at second trying to advance on the throw, Rickie Weeks reached one batter later after his comebacker to the mound turned into a botched rundown attempt at third.
However, with runners on second and third and one out, Delgado settled down and struck out Carlos Gomez and Alex Gonzalez with relative ease to end the inning.
From there, Delgado breezed through his remaining three innings of work, allowing just one batter to reach base on an infield single. In Arizona’s 7-0 victory, the first-year D-back struck out four over four scoreless innings.
But Delgado wasn’t the only one who impressed on the mound in front of a sellout crowd at Salt River Fields.
Outside of giving up a lead-off home run to Gerardo Parra, Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo looked to be in mid-season form and didn’t allow a single runner to reach base. The 2010 All-Star struck out five in his four innings of work.
Speaking of mid-season form, the teams’ closers — John Axford and J.J. Putz — were dominant in their respective fifth inning appearances. Both pitched perfect innings, and Putz had complete command of his splitter in strikeouts of Caleb Gindl and Gallardo.
After a five-inning pitchers’ duel, Arizona broke the game open with a four-run sixth highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of Parra. The veteran outfielder finished the night with a game-high three RBI.
He Said It:
“I just tried to stay under control and take the pitches (Miguel) Montero was calling. I think that was key, trying to concentrate and make the pitches to try and get some flyballs and groundballs. I think it worked in that moment.” – Randall Delgado on how he got out of a first-inning jam
• Wednesday night’s game marked the second time this spring the D-backs have played a night game. Ironically, the opposing pitcher in both contests was Gallardo. The only difference is that Gallardo’s previous start on March 13 came for Team Mexico.
• Gallardo wasn’t the only World Baseball Classic representative back with his team at Salt River Fields. Martin Prado, Miguel Montero and Parra appeared in their first game with the D-backs following their three-game stint with Team Venezuela. Despite an underwhelming 1-2 record in pool play, Prado was impressive during the tournament (led the Venezuelans with a .455 batting average).
• Manager Kirk Gibson spoke very highly of left-hander Joe Paterson before Wednesday night’s game. Paterson, who pitched just 2.2 innings in 2012, has regained his confidence this spring and Gibson said the 26-year-old will definitely be given an opportunity to contribute in the bullpen this season. Paterson pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Brewers.
The D-backs have a rare day off on Thursday, and Gibson said that he wants his players to take a personal day away from the field. Arizona will be back in action on Friday at Salt River Fields, when Brandon McCarthy (0-0, 6.75 ERA) starts against his former team, the Oakland Athletics. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. MST. McCarthy will be opposed by Bartolo Colon (0-2, 9.00 ERA). Former D-backs reliever Ryan Cook is also scheduled to pitch for the A’s.