Christian Friedrich struggled with fastball command in his first start in almost a year and the Rockies' offense had a hard time stringing together hits in the team's 5-0 loss to the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields on Monday.
Friedrich notched three strikeouts in 1⅔ innings but issued a pair of walks and allowed a run on a hit. He was pulled after throwing 42 pitches, but was thrilled to get back out there, as he told Troy Renck of the Denver Post during the game:
"I told myself to have fun. No matter the results, I was going to enjoy this. It was so special to be back out there. It's been a long time."
Despite the lack of command, Friedrich worked in the 91-92 mph range with his fastball and unleashed his nasty hook on a couple of occasions, so there were some positives there.
Chris Martin and Brooks Brown combined for 2⅓ scoreless frames, but Eddie Butler and Christian Bergman allowed four in the final two. Butler was scoreless after two innings and 23 pitches, but the Rockies opted to bring him out for a third, and it didn't go too well. The organization's No. 2 pitching prospect walked Shelley Duncan and surrendered a double to Mike Jacobs in the inning, which also included a sacrifice fly.
Bergman recorded all three outs of the eighth inning via punch-out, but he also allowed a double and two singles, a predictable outcome given his tendency to always be on or around the plate.
Colorado finished with three hits but had only one until Rosell Herrera led off the eighth inning with a triple, the second three-bagger of the day of which the Rockies were unable to take advantage (remember Ben Paulsen's triple from the earlier game?). Catchers Wilin Rosario and Ryan Castell had the team's other two hits.
Kyle Parker was the only player on either team to play from start to finish. The Rockies' top first base prospect went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.
On the other side, Archie Bradley was dominant in three innings of work, recording six strikeouts while allowing only one hit and a pair of walks. The D-Backs got hits from nine different players, including doubles from Jacobs, Gerardo Parra and Sean Jamieson.
Colorado is now 1-4 in Cactus League play, but given the circuit's status of not actually counting for anything, there is still no reason to be concerned. So don't be.
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