Ryne Nelson roughed up in 2nd straight spring start as Diamondbacks tie Dodgers
GLENDALE — It may have been snowing in the North Valley on Thursday, but spring training baseball was still played at Camelback Ranch Stadium between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Unfortunately for the 6,752 fans in attendance, it ended in a 5-5 tie, but only lasted two hours and 34 minutes in 50-degree weather.
Right-handed pitcher Ryne Nelson took the mound for his second start in spring training for the D-backs.
The 25-year-old is one of the young arms competing for the fifth and final spot in the rotation for manager Torey Lovullo.
Nelson didn’t have the cleanest of outings, allowing three runs (all earned) on four hits (one home run) and two walks while striking out one over 1.2 innings pitched (42 pitches).
“I thought he was missing with his fastball,” Lovullo said postgame. “He was a little erratic with his fastball, maybe trying to overthrow it. I thought there were some good, repeatable moments.
“But overall I thought there were some mistakes and he’ll hone in on that. … I know he’s going to work on fastball command and secondary stuff off of that and trying to l and pitches when he’s supposed to. It’s a process and hopefully it starts sooner than later.”
The homer came against Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman after a leadoff walk to former Diamondback David Peralta.
“I felt good. I thought I threw the ball well,” Nelson said of his outing. “Just a couple walks hurt and other than that I thought offspeed was going good and fastball was good. Just fell behind some guys and found a couple barrels. So I think I feel good about the way the ball is coming out right now.
“Attacking the strike zone and just filling it up with all the pitches,” he added. “That’s the plan right now and sometimes my plan doesn’t line up with the plan like how to attack these hitters like Freeman. Probably shouldn’t have thrown that change up in the zone. But trying to fill up the zone with all my pitches right now.”
However, Nelson doesn’t believe that his seven earned runs across 2.2 innings in two starts this spring dictates the quality of his stuff right now. He also struck out two batters while giving up eight hits and four walks in that span.
“Definitely the stats don’t look great, but I think they don’t show how good I feel with the ball right now,” he said. “Like I feel like it’s coming out good and I feel like the shape of my pitches are really good.
“So try not to read into the numbers and stuff too much, but I definitely want to throw some zeros up and keep some guys from scoring.”
Compare those metrics to the likes of 25-year-old right-hander Drey Jameson, who has been impressive in his first two starts of the spring in his quest to be at the tail end of the Diamondbacks’ rotation.
Jameson has yet to allow a run this spring across 4.0 innings pitched to go along with three strikeouts. He’s also only given up one hit and one walk, both of which came in his first outing, as he went a perfect six up and six down against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
The elephant in the room, though, is that two outings while still in the first two days of March is way too premature and too small of a sample size to make any hasty decisions on who is going to win the No. 5 spot.
Not to mention the fact that starters are still on low pitch counts in the 30s as they prepare their arms for six-month, 162-game season.
“Yeah it’s tough because you give up two in the first, you don’t have potentially five more innings to throw up zeros and make it look a little bit better than it does,” Nelson said. “But it’s just one of the natures of the beast of spring training. You got to start somewhere.”
– D-backs RHP Scott McGough had a perfect 1-2-3 inning, retiring the likes of Freeman, former Diamondback J.D. Martinez and Max Muncy in order.
– Alek Thomas and Emmanuel Rivera both went 2-for-4, with the former bringing in three runs and the latter posting two RBIs.
– Corbin Carroll’s “run face” was on full display, as the 22-year-old speedster legged out a triple.
Corbin Carroll's speed doesn't even make sense pic.twitter.com/HE5UpaJM21
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 2, 2023