|6:40 PM PT7:40 PM MT8:40 PM CT9:40 PM ET21:40 ET1:40 GMT9:40 6:40 PM MST8:40 PM EST9:10 PM VEN5:40 UAE (+1)8:40 PM CT, March 30, 2018
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona Attendance: 23,937
Lamb loaded with confidence as D-backs host Rockies
PHOENIX -- Arizona cleanup hitter Jake Lamb barely bats an eye when he bats with the bases loaded, and his numbers indicate the lack of stress works. It is all about the repetitions, he said.
Lamb had a two-run double with the bases loaded in the first inning and a two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth in the Diamondbacks' 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in the season opener for both at Chase Field on Thursday, building on his previous body of work.
Lamb was 5-for-12 with a homer and 18 RBIs in 16 plate appearances with the bases loaded in 2017 while hitting behind Paul Goldschmidt and in front of J.D. Martinez for the final 2 1/2 months.
"I'm lucky enough to hit in the middle of this order and hit behind Paul Goldschmidt," Lamb said. "I don't know if this is going to sound bad, but I have so many opportunities in those situations that I am not afraid to fail."
Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray will oppose Colorado left-hander Tyler Anderson in the second contest of a three-game series Friday.
Lamb was dropped down in the order against some lefties late last season, but the D-backs are unlikely to do that now, especially because No. 5 hitter Steven Souza Jr. is likely to miss a month or so because of a strained pectoral muscle.
Lamb, who also struck out with the bases loaded Thursday, may be asked to do a bit more until Souza returns.
"I'm going to come up a bunch of times this year with guys in scoring position and I'm not going to come through, but it happens so often because our lineup is so good that there are going to be big moments, and it is just like any other moment for me," Lamb said.
"I feel like there are guys in scoring position every time I come up. It happens so often there is no added pressure whatsoever. It of just like a normal at-bat And it kind is a luxury. Guys that hit at the bottom of the order and maybe don't (often) have guys on, maybe that's when you start putting pressure on yourself, depending on who you are.
"I definitely did that my first year in the big leagues, hitting in the six-seven hole. Guys get on base, 'Oh, crap, I have to get them in.' Things like that. You just need reps. If it's happening all the time, it's just another 'ab'."
Ray, 15-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 218 strikeouts last season, is 2-3 with a 5.21 ERA in nine career starts against Colorado. His last appearance against them came in the D-backs' 11-8 victory in the NL Wild Card game last Oct. 4, when he gave up one run in 2 1/3 innings of relief. The D-backs had hoped to save Ray for the first game of the NLDS against Los Angeles, but it did not play out that way.
Ray developed confidence in a slider and a curveball last season to go with his mid- to high-90s fastball, and he said he worked this spring on increasing the separation between the two.
"The first year of throwing two different breaking balls they kind of meshed together," Ray said. "But now I feel like I have two distinct breaking balls. One (slider) is a strikeout pitch. The curveball is something that I try to use to get ahead of guys, but I can also bounce it and get ground balls with it. Seems to work."
Anderson, who made his opening day roster this year, was 6-6 with a 4.81 ERA in 17 appearances (15 starts) last season. He was 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against the D-backs in 2017. He has not fared well at Chase Field, giving up 11 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings in two starts.
Anderson will follow Jon Gray, who got in trouble when he elevated the ball in the season opener. Lamb hit a hit curveball for a two-run double in the first inning.
"There were a few pitches up, but overall I just didn't get ahead," Gray said. "A lot of pitches weren't competitive at all and it is tough to win that way. You can put yourself in a bad spot early.
"But nothing changes. I am still excited about the season. I know we are going to be good team. I know things are going to come together."
Updated March 30, 2018