The Tony La Russa era is off to a glorious start in Arizona. Hours after the legendary manager was named the team's chief baseball officer, the Diamondbacks and NL MVP runner up Paul Goldschmidt lit up Clayton Kershaw for seven earned runs on six hits in only 1 2/3 innings.
Goldschmidt led the charge with four hits and six RBIs. That included a pair of home runs, the first of which brought D-backs fan and U.S. Sen. John McCain out of his seat. Goldschmidt would also cap the scoring with a homer off Dodgers backup catcher Drew Butera in the eighth. The two-run blast established a franchise record for runs in a single game as Arizona triumphed 18-7 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Also notable, the start was the second shortest of Kershaw's career. On May 4, 2010 he lasted just 1 1/3 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the second inning alone, Arizona hit three triples against Kershaw (Cliff Pennington, A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings). It was the first three-triple inning in Arizona franchise history, and it also put the usually dominant Kershaw into a dubious category.
Not good. But the important thing for all to remember is it was just one night and just one game.
CUBS GET EVEN WITH GARZA: Right-hander Matt Garza hasn't held back when talking about the Chicago Cubs this spring. After being traded from Chicago to the Texas Rangers last season, Garza inked a four-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the Cubs' chief division rivals, and immediately made it known that he'd like to kick in the Cubs teeth, metaphorically speaking.
He did a pretty good job in their first meeting at Miller Park on April 25, holding Chicago to two runs on four hits over seven innings. That was good enough for his first victory of the season. On Saturday, though, the Cubs jumped on him early, scoring three runs in the first inning and then holding on tight for a 3-0 win.
That obviously means Cubs starter Edwin Jackson was the pitching story on this day. He was outstanding, striking out a season-high 11 over seven shutout innings. Still, it was Garza who everyone wanted to hear from afterward, and his frustration was apparent, if not over reactive.
"Of course, I'm frustrated, man,'' Garza said. ''What do you think, I'm happy? It's the worst freaking start of my career, dude. Yeah, I'm frustrated. I hate this, this feeling. So it's keep grinding and keep getting ready every five days. That's about all I can do,'' he said.
ORIOLES CAN'T HANG WITH DUFFY: Danny Duffy's spot in the Kansas City Royals' rotation was anything but secured coming into Saturday's start. Manager Ned Yost actually skipped his turn earlier in the week when the Royals didn't need a fifth starter. However, Duffy made it awfully difficult for them to consider removing him anytime soon by taking a perfect game into the seventh inning of their 1-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
Duffy actually retired the first two batters of the inning, one thanks to a fantastic catch by left fielder Alex Gordon, before Adam Jones ended his bid with a single up the middle. Still, it was a terrific and efficient outing thanks to zero walks and only two strikeouts. He left with 97 pitches following the inning and watched Wade Davis and Greg Holland — who wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth — bring it home.
POTENTIAL INJURIES: Another pair of top pitchers are heading for MRIs this weekend.
San Diego Padres opening day starter Andrew Cashner was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday with elbow soreness, which is enough to make us cringe at the thought. That said, there's not a lot of concern from Cashner himself, which may or may not bode well.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post is reporting that left-hander Gio Gonzalez will undergo precautionary tests on his arm, including an MRI exam, on Sunday, after delivering his second consecutive ugly outing in their 5-2 loss to the Mets.
Gonzalez's outlook was a little more vague.
“You know, it’s one of those things, you just got to keep grinding through,” Gonzalez said when asked about his health. “Just trying to find out what it is. Hopefully, something positive comes out of it. Other than that, just try to stay positive.”
Here's hoping both get positive news.
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