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HomeSportDiamondbacks' Ryne Nelson can't find rhythm in loss to Yankees

Diamondbacks’ Ryne Nelson can’t find rhythm in loss to Yankees

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson did not get through three innings in his season debut Monday, a 5-2 loss against the New York Yankees at Chase Field.

It was a frustrating night for Nelson after an encouraging spring, a performance marred by a lack of command with his fastball and offspeed pitches. He threw 76 total and recorded eight outs.

“They weren’t really biting on the stuff I was trying to get them to chase,” Nelson said. “It’s tough when you’re working behind all the time and traffic is one base. Didn’t put myself in good spots.”

Nelson sidestepped self-imposed danger by stranding the bases loaded in the first inning after a pair of walks and 31 pitches, but the Yankees chased him with two outs in the third, leading 5-0.

Nelson exited having walked four hitters, as seemingly every at-bat lingered. Nelson averaged 4.5 pitches per at-bat even with five balls in play on the first pitch (4-for-4, sacrifice fly).

“Felt a little out of rhythm, maybe a little amped up in the first and then just couldn’t really find a groove,” Nelson said.

Manager Torey Lovullo has seen his rotation once through and called it inconsistent.

The D-backs won their three games started by mainstays Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt (16.2 IP, 3 ER) but lost their Tommy Henry and Nelson games (6.2 IP, 9 ER).

The D-backs’ complete rotation won’t be ready until later this month at the earliest when Jordan Montgomery is ramped up and Eduardo Rodriguez returns from the 15-day injured list (shoulder). Montgomery targeted April 19. Nelson and Henry competed for spots and both showed signs of optimism this spring, but there was a drop-off to start the season.

“We’re going to coach the guys up, that’s what we do,” Lovullo said. “I was in there talking about that right now before I came in here … That’s a coach’s responsibility. We’re not going to complain about it. We’re just going to coach them up and do the best we can because they are the five guys here, that’s what we got and we’re gonna make it work.”

Nelson’s outing ended with a defensive disaster.

Yankees catcher Austin Wells hit a sac fly to left, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s throw went wide through to the back stop. Nelson retrieved the ball and saw New York’s Anthony Volpe gunning for third, but his throw got through to left field and let in the run.

Lovullo said Monday was not a Diamondbacks-type of performance after his club had been so sharp over the weekend.

“As that unfolded, I wrote down in my notes we’re gonna practice that play next year,” Lovullo said. “We put the pitchers in the right place, but how often do they pick up a ball from the backstop and throw it to third or second base? We’re gonna practice that play.”

Arizona’s bullpen was the hero of the night with 6.1 scoreless innings, three hits and one walk.

Kyle Nelson recorded six outs, Miguel Castro five, Joe Mantiply five and Luis Frias three with lots of weak contact. Their effort gave the game some rhythm and the offense ample opportunities to fight back.

“Started with with Kyle Nelson, he was up three times and we hadn’t done that to him all spring training,” Lovullo said. “He said whatever I needed he was gonna go out there and do for the team and he made a commitment to his teammates and kept us in this game. Then it was one after the other.”

Ryne Nelson’s short outing was far from the only culprit of Arizona’s loss to a New York team that has started 5-0 on the road.

The D-backs managed four hits and didn’t build many innings unlike their 32 runs in four games against the Colorado Rockies.

Yankees starter Luis Gil, in his first MLB start since 2022 after Tommy John surgery, got through the D-backs’ lineup twice and allowed one run on one hit in 4.2 innings. He lit up the radar gun and struck out six.

Arizona’s opportunity to reset the game came with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, down 5-1. Gabriel Moreno tripled to lead it off, Jake McCarthy reached on an error and Geraldo Perdomo was hit by a pitch in the forearm area — he was checked on by training staff and stayed in.

That set up the top of the order. Ketel Marte drilled a ball 105 mph off the bat to right field for a sacrifice fly. Corbin Carroll popped up to third, and Gurriel smoked a ball 107.8 mph right to left fielder Alex Verdugo.

“That inning hurt. Gurriel covered that baseball,” Lovullo said. “He hits that ball down the line, it’s a totally different night. That’s the beauty of the game.”

Carroll, Gurriel, Christian Walker, Joc Pederson and Eugenio Suarez — hitters 2-6 — finished 0-for-14, albeit Pederson walked twice.

Jorge Barrosa’s moment

One of Arizona’s four hits came off the bench, as outfielder Jorge Barrosa pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth for his MLB debut after getting called up pregame.

Barrosa crushed a ground-rule double to left-center field.

The series continues Tuesday and Wednesday with Gallen and Kelly taing the hill for Arizona, respectively. Nestor Cortes gets the ball for New York on Tuesday.

Monday had a packed crowd of 38,608, second-highest of the season after Opening Day.

First pitch on Tuesday is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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