There is nothing like Opening Day. Players and managers are introduced to fans across teams throughout the country and every team in the league has reason for optimism. After just one game into the 162-game season, D’Backs fans might have more than just optimism for the 2011 season.
After a poor start in the first couple of innings, the Arizona bats got hot during the middle the middle of the game. Last year’s Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez was chased from the game after six innings allowing six runs, five being earned. Three of those runs came off one swing from Justin Upton in the fifth inning and Miguel Montero would stretch the lead to three with a two-run shot in the sixth. Luckily for the Diamondbacks, Jimenez clearly didn’t have his best stuff with his velocity down throughout the afternoon.
Colorado would tie things up after Jose Lopez, a guy who the Rockies were talking about dealing earlier in the week, hit a solo home run in the sixth and then he tied things up an inning later with a RBI single. One of the runs came off of Ian Kennedy and the other two came off reliever Juan Gutierrez.
Kennedy got to a slow start getting out of the gates allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in his first two inning. It appeared that he was going to be chased from the game early on, but the current ace of the staff settled down after that. He allowed only one run over the next four innings to keep his team in the game. Have to hand to Kennedy on a day where he didn’t have his best stuff.
Even though Gutierrez struggled, the rest of the bullpen pitched really well with not allowing a single run over the last four innings of the game. It was still a bumpy ride with Aaron Heilman, Sam Demel and David Hernandez allowing five baserunners in their three innings of work. J.J. Putz was extremely impressive though closing out the 11th inning. He didn’t allow a baserunner and struck out two Rockies after Gerardo Parra scored on a wild pitch in the top half of the inning.
It was far from a perfect game for the D’Backs. Arizona made a lot of mistakes on both the basepaths and in the field that nearly cost them the game, but any win on the road is huge. These same two teams match up tonight when Dan Hudson will be on the mound for Arizona and he will oppose Jorge De La Rosa. First pitch will be at 5 p.m.