The Arizona Diamondbacks began 2020 season play against the San Diego Padres, losing by a final of 7-2. This was also debut for the off-season acquisitions. Although the D-Backs dropped the season opener, there were some takeaways to be had, both by the fans and the staff. Here is what has been learned of the 2020 D-Backs so far.
Madison Bumgarner Has Not Lost His Touch
This was not only the debut of the 2020 Diamondbacks, but also the debut for pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Going into the season, there were questions on whether Madison still had some gas in the tank after a rough 2019 campaign. In 5.2 innings of work, Bumgarner allowed four hits, three earned runs, walked three, and struck out four.
The thing to note, is that most of the damage was done in the sixth inning. Overall, this was a solid performance, as Bumgarner kept the D-Backs in the game, despite the lack of run support. Bumgarner also continued to show his ability to command his pitches well, as there was not a lot of hard contact. His consistency throughout the season can keep the D-Backs in the playoff hunt, especially if the D-Backs can find their offense again.
Offensive Struggles Continue
Although the D-Backs managed seven hits last night, they only managed to score two runs. On top of Chris Paddack‘s solid performance, the Padres showed-off their potent bullpen. This serves as a good test for the D-Backs lineup as other opposing pitching staffs are comparable in strength.
The Diamondbacks struggled with runners-in-scoring-position in 2019. This was also evident last night as the D-Backs had two chances to do damage with runners in scoring position. This does not bode well, especially in a 60-game season, as this theme could factor into another empty season.
Other Positives To Note
There are, however, positives to note. It was pleasant for outfielder Kole Calhoun to formally introduce himself as a Diamondback with a solo home-run in the seventh inning. Fans should look for Calhoun to continue to contribute with his power at the plate. Additionally, DH Christian Walker went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the ninth. Walker had his summer camp cut a short with an injury. This was encouraging as Walker looks to continue do do damage at the plate.
First baseman Jake Lamb demonstrated great plate discipline in the fifth inning, as he won a nine-pitch battle, earning a walk. Against a pitcher like Paddack, the D-Backs will need to replicate Lamb’s at-bat, not only to run up their pitch count, but also to capitalize on a late-count pitch to do significant damage.
The 2020 season may not have started off on the right foot, but there is still time for the D-Backs to put it all together. The D-Backs will need to make corrections soon to capitalize on the benefit of an expanded playoff. There is talent, no doubt, but the time to play winning baseball needs to start starting Game-2 and beyond.