Diamondbacks big sixth inning propels them to victory

PHOENIX— David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning in Thursday night’s 9-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Peralta used to be a pitcher, believe it or not. His story is remarkable. He injured his shoulder, which required surgery. He returned, got hurt again, and then thought he was done. His parents convinced him that he might just have a future as a hitter, so Peralta started to play in a government-run independent league in Venezuela. He then goes back to the US, no agent mind you, went to rent-a-car, drove to practice, had a hitting session, and was signed immediately after he finished.

Everywhere you look, any story about this guy has a common theme: “never give up”. His nickname is Freight Train for a reason, he doesn’t stop. Peralta is a tireless worker. Get this, after he came to the US from Venezuela, he worked at McDonalds to pay for gas money so he could drive to Texas to play for the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. While on the team, Peralta didn’t even sleep in a bed, he slept on an air mattress.

Peralta almost didn’t play for the D-Backs. One of the scouts back in 2013 for the Diamondbacks wanted him to come to Phoenix to try out for the team, but Peralta couldn’t afford the drive. So, the scout went all the way to Florida to see him hit IN A BATTING CAGE. He joined the team in July. And trust me, it’s a longer flight than you think. I take it several times a year.

Now, at 29 years old, Peralta is in his prime. He will be arbitration eligible in 2018, and considering he’s making a bit over $500,000 a year, I’d say he’s in for a pay raise.

“I have to prove it to myself every day. Keep working hard. Prove and show the guys in the minor leagues, little kids, to never give up. You always have to follow your dreams, have a lot of discipline, and play the game the right way,” Peralta said.

The actual game went as expected. The hitting was solid, it will be all season. The pitching is another story. Robbie Ray is good, I think he’s got special stuff. He just needs to lower his pitch count and extend his outings from 5 innings to at least 6 preferably six and a half, seven would be superb but improbable. His K/9 numbers are great but he’s not pitching anywhere close to nine innings. The D-Backs rotation needs to go six, maybe six and a half to seven innings on average if they want to truly be competitive.

“For me, it was a very good outing. If it’s the middle of May or June, he might get another batter or two and get through six innings,” coach Torey Lovullo said. It’s opening day weekend, they’re all excited, they’re asking their bodies to do things more aggressively, so there’s a lot of components that are adding up. Once we’re into the flow and rhythm of the seasons, things will change.”

“I was getting a little tired there at the end. I probably could’ve gotten one more batter. Much past that, probably not,” starter Robbie Ray said.

The bullpen leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not like they could be last year’s Yankees where they’d let their guys go six innings and then Betances, Miller, and Chapman could take over. The Diamondbacks don’t have that luxury. At all. Now, thank god for Jake Lamb. He hit a three-run home run. Let’s hope he can have two great halves of baseball this year, instead of just one. Hazelbaker would single, driving in one, Pollock doubled driving in two, and then Peralta doubled driving in Pollock to cement the Diamondbacks victory.

On opening day I said that the first three series’ for the Diamondbacks will be a good gauge of how competitive this ballclub can be. The first fourteen games of the season, four of them already completed, have been and will come against playoff teams from last year, including last year’s World Series runner-up, the Cleveland Indians, and the NL West champs, the Dodgers. With a 3-1 series win over the Giants (Curse of the 3-1 lead, please don’t bite the D-Backs), they are off to a great start.

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