Tommy Henry shuts down Rockies to extend D-backs’ winning streak to 4
May 31, 2023, 11:10 PM | Updated: Jun 1, 2023, 7:19 am
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Tommy Henry pitched the game of his young MLB career Wednesday night at Chase Field.
The 25-year-old southpaw blanked the Colorado Rockies (24-33) in seven frames, matching his career high with seven strikeouts in a 6-0 win, Arizona’s (33-23) fourth straight.
“Everything was working off Tommy tonight,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “Filled up the strike zone, had a ton of swing and miss with the secondary stuff … He pitched up on edge all game long.”
Lovullo said Wednesday was “for sure” the best he’s seen from Henry.
Tommy Henry tossed an absolute gem tonight.
7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K pic.twitter.com/lWstjmWZEw
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 1, 2023
Before the game, pitching coach Brent Strom called on his young back end of the rotation to pitch deeper into games, and Henry’s performance allowed the D-backs to use only two relievers for the third straight contest.
It was the lefty’s longest scoreless outing of his 16-start tenure and concluded a very productive May for him. He had a 2.87 ERA in five starts, six appearances including his 10-pitch relief appearance on Saturday.
Both Strom pregame and Lovullo postgame said the team needs its young arms to continue growing into productive big leaguers to keep the wins coming and save the bullpen from being overly taxed.
Lovullo said Henry was batter-to-batter in the seventh inning, but the starter got two outs on five pitches and finished his job.
Henry produced 12 swings and misses and the Rockies averaged an 84.3 mph exit velocity against him. They only hit four balls over 90 mph in play, and the two hits were a weak ground ball third baseman Josh Rojas’ throw was late on and a double that floated down the right-field line by Nolan Jones.
“Felt like command in general was pretty good,” Henry said postgame. “May not have gotten ahead of as many guys as I would have liked, but knew that when we were behind there were options to get back into counts. Felt good to be on the same page as (Gabriel Moreno), felt like we had a good game plan going in.”
The change up was specifically potent, causing six whiffs. Henry said the pitch has felt good lately, noting he likes the work he’s been doing mechanically to increase consistency with his arsenal.
Strom said that Henry’s next steps involved eliminating non-competitive pitches caused by his glove side. While he had a few pitches sail outside to righties on Wednesday, including the first pitch of the game, his command was sharp and ability to paint corners was effective.
Tommy Henry is done after seven scoreless innings, seven Ks and two hits allowed. #Dbacks
— Alex Weiner (@alexjweiner) June 1, 2023
“We’ve been working on it really hard, about the front side part of the body and hopefully the misses that has will be more what I call pressure pitches,” Strom said. “We talk about strikes and then we talk about pressure pitches, those pitches that are close enough where the hitter is just not quite sure.”
The Rockies swung at 37% of pitches outside the zone and only 61% of pitches in the zone, according to Baseball Savant.
Henry worked with a lead all game, as the D-backs piled up five runs in two innings.
Arizona’s offense started with three straight ground-ball singles in the first by Pavin Smith, Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll, who picked up an RBI.
Marte — who extended his on-base streak to 29 games — took third on Carroll’s hit, and the rookie nabbed second on a pitch in the dirt. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. poked another ground ball knock to right, scoring both runners.
The D-backs were aggressive on the base paths in the early innings. Jake McCarthy singled to lead off the second, stole a base and then drew a balk while dancing to get starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet’s attention.
“Just trying to be aggressive,” McCarthy said. “I wasn’t necessarily trying to steal there, but if I had enough momentum going, I’m gonna take it and he seemed to flinch.”
Smith came up needing a fly ball to score the run, and he doubled McCarthy on a grounder down the first-base line.
The former Virginia teammates collected a pair of hits each on Wednesday, with Smith reaching base five times with a trio of walks.
“It feels good to contribute,” McCarthy said. “We’re winning games and when you’re just trying to do your part, it’s fun. It’s always fun when you win, but it’s nice when you help out, too.”
Carroll singled home Smith, and the D-backs jumped ahead 5-0 for the second straight game.
The final run came from a solo blast by Christian Walker to dead center field during the fifth inning.
It was his 100th as a major leaguer and 99th as a member of the Diamondbacks.
Christian Walker's 100th career home run! pic.twitter.com/3GU8lP93WU
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 1, 2023
Walker tied Matt Williams for eighth on the franchise’s home run list, needing nine more to surpass Justin Upton for seventh.
The win pushed the D-backs 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2018, when Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke and A.J. Pollock remained on the roster.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost on Wednesday, and Arizona creeped up to 0.5 games back in the division.
“We’re in a good spot. We’re a good baseball team with a lot to prove,” Lovullo said. “Last year we improved, but we still have a long way to go. But we’re on the right path.”
Kristian Robinson homered for Single-A Visalia on Wednesday in his second minor league game since 2019. The former top prospect was reinstated from the restricted list on Monday, playing in his first game on Tuesday after securing a visa last month.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 1, 2023
Robinson is 4-for-8 in his first two games.
The D-backs will send Zach Davies to the hill Thursday for the second time since his return from an oblique strain. He will face righty Connor Seabold, who allowed two earned runs in 3.1 frames against Arizona on April 29.
First pitch is at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM / 98.7 FM HD-2.