The Diamondbacks’ mantra of 2017 was #ItsAVibe.
The vibe continued to Opening Day of 2018.
Gritty pitching from Pat Corbin and Archie Bradley, clutch hits from Jake Lamb, huge contributions from two under-the-radar additions – it seemed the Diamondbacks we have become familiar with took game one of the 2018 season after beating the Rockies 8-2.
The Opening Day starter did not start his 2018 debut like he would have wanted – giving up a solo home run to D.J. LeMahieu in the first inning followed by a Nolan Arenado single – but he settled in nicely to give the Diamondbacks 5.2 innings with eight strikeouts and giving up just two runs. The other run came on an Arenado solo shot, but after both home runs, Corbin responded and struck two of the next three batters in both cases.
Torey Lovullo named Brad Boxberger the closer on Tuesday, and part of the thinking behind that was he wanted to keep Archie Bradley in a versatile position to face the heart of the lineup in big moments. That moment came on Thursday, and Bradley induced an inning-ending double play in the seventh and then had a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. “The Beard” has emerged as one of the faces of the team, and he delivered in the team’s debut in 2018.
The top three hitters in the lineup – Peralta, Pollock and Goldschmidt – got on base eight times throughout the game, and third baseman Jake Lamb had multiple hacks at bases loaded situations. He ended the day going 2/5 with two doubles and four RBIs including a first inning wallop that would have been a grand slam had it been hit anywhere but the deepest part of the ballpark. The 2017 All-Star is a career .287 hitter in the first half of the season, and he started 2018 with (a few) bangs.
Entering 2017, the Diamondbacks executed a trade that brought them Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte, but following an offseason that brought in Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller and subpar results, that following offseason had quite a few additions that didn’t move the needle.
But they were effective.
Daniel Descalso, Jeff Mathis, Chris Iannetta, Fernando Rodney all had huge impacts on that 2017 season.
Could Mike Hazen re-create that magic with the offseason entering 2018?
Jarrod Dyson already seems to be paying dividends as the team’s “burner.” He laid down a perfect bunt that resulted in a single, stole a base and eventually scored a run. Infielder Deven Marrero, who the Diamondbacks acquired four days ago from the Red Sox, helped turn the double play with Bradley on the mound. In the bottom half of that inning, he drove in a run.
The Diamondbacks continue their series against the Rockies on Friday and Saturday before hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers.