PHOENIX – After four hours and 11 minutes of baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks fell to 0-1 on the new season.
Truthfully, though, the game was over much earlier.
The game began with as much buzz and anticipation as any season opener in recent D-backs history as new ace Zack Greinke was making his Arizona debut, but the right-hander struggled in allowing seven runs on nine hits in just four innings in a 10-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Things started off well enough for the pitcher, who signed a six-year contract worth $206.5 million in the offseason, as he allowed just a lone single through the first two innings. Greinke even gave the D-backs a 1-0 lead in the second inning with an RBI single that scored David Peralta.
But then the third inning happened, and the wheels fell off.
In total, Greinke allowed six runs on seven hits in the frame, with Colorado shortstop Trevor Story and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez each collecting a home run. Story’s was a three-run shot, while Gonzalez’s was a solo blast. The homers came back-to-back. Also collecting hits in the inning were D.J. LeMahieu, who singled twice in the inning, along with Jorge De La Rosa, Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra.
“He was just up in the zone,” D-backs manager Chip Hale offered when asked what went wrong for his ace. “You have to give some credit to their hitters. As I said before the game, they’re as good a hitting lineup as you’re going to see in this league.
“Obviously Story was really impressive tonight, for Opening Night, got to give them a lot of credit. Up and down their lineup, even the pitcher, with two strikes, being able to chop the ball and get on base really hurt us that inning. Just couldn’t get back into it. Zack was just up with too many pitches, but they hit them.”
They really did.
Story added another home run in the fourth inning, and while Greinke was able to get out of the inning, it would be his last. His night was over with 82 pitches thrown, 55 of which went for strikes.
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, the seven runs Greinke allowed tied for the most surrendered by a hurler who finished the previous season with a sub-2.00 ERA in his first start the following campaign. Moreover, he had just two outings all of last season with more than five earned runs allowed.
While outings like this one are rare, they have happened before.
“I mean, occasionally you give up some runs, just good at-bats, some breaks and I honestly think the first four were just maybe not perfect pitches, but good hitting and a break with the De La Rosa hit,” Greinke said. “And then after that, hopefully I don’t make pitches like that very often the rest of the year.
“But sometimes guys will score even if you’re making OK pitches.”
No doubt the Diamondbacks expected more out of their prized free agent acquisition, and chances are they will get it. While Monday night’s performance was not what anyone had in mind — especially given the hype — it is just one game, of roughly 30 or so starts for Greinke and 162 for the D-backs.
A bad start? Yes, but it’s just that — a start, no matter how much of a let down it may have been due to the hype.
“You guys built it up really good, did a nice job of it. I said it before the game, I said you guys (the media) really hyped it up and every Opening Day is every Opening Day — it means no more than tomorrow’s game,” Hale said. “So, are we happy that we lost? No, we’re disappointed that we lost. But it’s just one of 162 and the goal is always to win the series, so tomorrow is a pivotal game. If we don’t win tomorrow then we can’t win the series.
“So we have to really bear down and be ready to go tomorrow.”
– Four D-backs posted multi-hit games, with second baseman Jean Segura, right fielder Peralta, Yasmany Tomas and shortstop Nick Ahmed producing. Peralta, in fact, collected three hits. Third baseman Jake Lamb notched just one hit, a fourth-inning home run.
– Every one of the Rockies’ nine starters (including the pitcher De La Rosa) tallied at least one hit.
– The D-backs’ first run was knocked in by Greinke, who reached base on an infield single.
– D-backs reliever Jake Barrett made his big league debut in the fifth inning, allowing just one hit.
– The 4:11 it took to play the game represents the longest nine-inning affair in D-backs history.
– The Diamondbacks were 2-of-10 with runners in scoring position while the Rockies were 4-of-9. Each team left 10 on base.
“Probably build it up just the way tonight was built up, I’m sure you’ll do a good job of that, too. He’s ready, just like Zack was ready. This is a good hitting lineup. We’re going to have to be ready to go. We’ll make some adjustments and we’ll hopefully pitch down a little more than we did. But you just don’t know. They’re hot right now, they were hot at the end of spring training — we saw that. We’ll just have to deal with it.” – Hale on anticipation of Shelby Miller’s D-backs debut, which will come Tuesday
“Just keep preparing. Just go out there, and guys prepare the best they can every day. Go out and play hard and hopefully get a win.” – first baseman Paul Goldschmidt on if approach changes for next game
The D-backs will host the Rockies for the second tilt in their three-game series. Shelby Miller will be making his first start as a Diamondback, and he will be opposed by Chad Bettis. First pitch is slated for 6:40 p.m. and the game can be heard on KTAR News 92.3 FM.