ST. LOUIS — The D-backs beat the Cardinals, 6-2, at Busch Stadium on Friday, bouncing back from a frustrating loss the night before.
Here are three things to know from the game:
1. Bumgarner continues to pitch well
Madison Bumgarner allowed only one run over five innings to lower his ERA to 1.17. In five starts, he has allowed three total earned runs, the fewest he’s given up through his first five outings of a season.
“That is a really good lineup over there,” Bumgarner said. “Tough matchups, specifically for me. They’ve got a lot of good hitters and it’s just, for whatever reason, I feel like those guys usually match up good against me. So I had to go out there and really make pitches, and I felt like we did that.”
Bumgarner threw 89 pitches, and although manager Torey Lovullo thought about sending the left-hander back out for the sixth inning, he was only going to let Bumgarner throw another handful of pitches, so he instead went to the bullpen.
The Cardinals put together some tough at-bats against Bumgarner, none more so than his friend and former D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who worked Bumgarner for 12 pitches before homering as part of a 29-pitch first.
“I texted him already and said, ‘If you’re gonna hit a home run, do it on the first pitch, not the 15th,'” Bumgarner said. “Whenever you have a long at-bat [against you], it’s tough. It’s tough if you have a long at-bat and you get him out, you know, much less a long at-bat and you give up a homer. That’s not ideal.”
2. The “kids” played well
Several of the D-backs’ younger position players came through when they needed to.
Cooper Hummel delivered an RBI single, while shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and outfielders Daulton Varsho and Pavin Smith all contributed with their bats and gloves.
“It was good to see a lot of good, talented players succeed tonight and help us win a ballgame,” Bumgarner said. “I was happy watching everybody contribute.”
For the D-backs to have success this year, they’ll likely need those less experienced players to lead the way.
“It was a good day for our young guys,” Lovullo said. “Our young guys are coming along, and we need them to go out and perform. I said it from the very beginning, we expect them to execute, and being new here is not an excuse to not get the job done here.”
3. Frías stepped up when needed
The D-backs placed two key relievers on the injured list over their first two days in St. Louis. Prior to Thursday’s game J.B. Wendelken was placed on the IL for an undisclosed reason that Lovullo said Friday was due to COVID-19 protocols. On Friday, it was closer Mark Melancon who went on the IL for an undisclosed reason.
With Bumgarner done after five innings, Lovullo needed to find a way to bridge the gap to some of his more established relievers at the end of the game. Add to that the fact that Lovullo wanted to stay away from a left-handed pitcher, given the Cardinals’ right-handed-heavy lineup, and it narrowed the options.
So Lovullo went with right-hander Luis Frías, who was called up Thursday and had only 3 1/3 Major League innings under his belt. Frías tossed a scoreless sixth and almost got through the seventh before Lovullo went to the bullpen for veteran Noé Ramirez.
Ramirez retired the final batter in the seventh and the first two in the eighth, before Joe Mantiply got the final out. Then, Ian Kennedy closed the door in the ninth.
“It was great to watch him go out there,” Kennedy said of Frías. “It was nice for him to go in there, especially since he just got here [Thursday]. It’s always good to see a guy get [called] up and get out there pretty soon because all those nerves don’t get built up.”