D-backs play 'downhill baseball' to start season off strong

April 1st, 2024

PHOENIX -- There was a lot of pregame activity over the weekend at Chase Field, with the D-backs getting their NL championship rings, Corbin Carroll receiving his 2023 Rookie of the Year Award and and Gabriel Moreno getting their Rawlings Gold Gloves.

But the D-backs took care of business on the field. Sunday's 5-1 win gave them three out of four games against the Rockies.

Here are some takeaways from the series:

If the D-backs can continue to score runs like this, they're going to be in good shape
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo refers to having a lead as "playing downhill baseball." The D-backs did a lot of that in the series.

The D-backs scored two runs in the first inning in each of the series' first three games and on Sunday added a three-run opening frame. In doing so, they became just the second team in history to score two or more runs in the first inning in the first four games of the season.

The 2001 Rockies were the other team to accomplish that feat, but this year's Colorado team didn't get a lead in a game until the fifth inning of the third game.

Right-hander was the beneficiary of the early runs Sunday. He made the early lead stand up by allowing just one run over five innings of work.

"Obviously, it helps when the offense comes out early and scores some runs for you," Pfaadt said. "It kind of just releases pressure for the whole pitching staff."

The D-backs came out of Spring Training ready to play
Every manager thinks their team leaves Spring Training ready to go when the games finally start counting, but there's always a little bit of apprehension until they see the results.

While it might be a long year for the Rockies as they continue to transition more young players onto their team, the D-backs came out firing on all cylinders, even with all the pregame pomp and circumstance during the series.

"Closing out a series and winning the last game, those are the things we talked about," Lovullo said. "Timely hitting, going for the throat, coming out and doing it the right way."

Christian Walker, who hit a two-run homer Sunday, said the start was in part because of the way the spring went.

"It's a funny thing in baseball where you expect a guy to pick up for right where they left off and you forget there was maybe three or four months off," Walker said. "But coming into spring, you see everybody's effort and intention and you know, it's not just an accident."

The team has to hope Alek Thomas is not seriously hurt
Center fielder , who hit a crucial homer in the second game of the series, grabbed his left hamstring after grounding into a double play in the first inning.

Thomas stayed in the game for another two innings as they worked to loosen up the muscle, but was eventually removed in the top of the fourth and will likely undergo an MRI on Monday.

"Hopefully it's not too bad," Thomas said. "I was a little frustrated. You know, I want to be out there all the time and this is the first time something like this has ever happened to me. I'm pretty upset, but hopefully it's nothing bad."

The D-backs have outfield depth with Jake McCarthy on the bench, Jorge Barrosa and Pavin Smith in Triple-A, and Randal Grichuk due to come off the injured list in the next 10 days, but none can play defense at the level Thomas does.

"He's banged up for right now," Lovullo said. "We're going to continue to evaluate him for the course of the night and we'll get more information tomorrow."