ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ Zac Gallen roughed up in Opening Day loss to Dodgers despite 7 Ks

Mar 30, 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated: Mar 31, 2023, 12:29 pm

Zac Gallen...

Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning on opening day of the 2023 Major League Baseball season at Dodger Stadium on March 30, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen took the bump on Opening Day for the first time in his career en route to an 8-2 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Thursday night.

The 27-year-old right-hander — who has the most bets placed on him to win the NL Cy Young Award — only went 4.2 innings in his 2023 debut, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks.

Gallen (0-1) picked up where he left off in 2022, striking out the side in the first inning, including the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy.

The D-backs starter finished with seven strikeouts on 89 pitches (55 strikes), which featured punching out Betts twice and the hat trick for Muncy — who ended the game 0-for-5 with five Ks.

“Good start, a little bit of a shaky ending,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told reporters postgame. “I thought he had some really good stuff early in the game.

“There were just some miscues in advantage counts where I felt he had good enough stuff to put hitters away, but he was unable to do that.”

However, it was former Diamondback J.D. Martinez that eventually knocked Gallen out of the game.

After Will Smith knocked in three runs himself — two in the third and one in the fifth — Martinez made it a 4-2 Dodgers advantage with an RBI single that brought in Freddie Freeman.

And after Lovullo brought in Cole Sulser for relief, another former D-back in David Peralta drove in Smith to make it 5-2 Los Angeles before left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. threw out Martinez at third to end the inning.

Gallen was also struggling with the PitchCom device throughout his outing, as the right-hander had to place it back on his glove after it fell off multiple times.

“I think Zac has a great heartbeat and he can slow things down and execute at any level, at any pace that you need him to,” Lovullo said. “I just think he made some mistakes at the wrong time.

“There were some walks … That was a big (third) inning, that was a crucial inning. He threw 27 pitches, I think it gassed him a little bit. Those are the little things that we need to do better.”

Offensively, Arizona jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings of play but then failed to record a hit for the rest of the game.

Dodgers lefty Julio Urias (1-0) went 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out six. All four Los Angeles pitchers did not give up a single walk.

“We’re sitting a 2-0 after two innings and Zac looked like he had really good stuff,” Lovullo said. “It didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but it was a fast start for us and everything looked very positive at that point.”

UP NEXT

The D-backs will send right-hander Merrill Kelly out against Dodgers righty Dustin May on Friday at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM / 98.7 FM HD-2, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

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