Prior to Thursday’s game, manager Chip Hale said he was not certain about the number of starts Zack Godley would receive.
As a replacement for Chase Anderson in the rotation, Hale rationalized Godley, called up from Double-AA Mobile to fill in, may get two, perhaps, three starts. That’s while Anderson recovers from right triceps inflammation.
With the way Godley’s major league debut transpired Thursday night, he could be around for longer than just a few starts.
In holding the visiting Milwaukee Brewers to four hits and just five base runners over six strong innings, Godley showed an effective sinker and pin-point control. Walking no hitters, he breezed through his six innings on an economy of 88 pitches, and 14 in the opening inning. That included a nine-pitch at-bat to Jonathon Lucroy.
In the process, Godley, a 25-year-old out of Bamberg, S. C. recorded seven strike-outs and tied the record for most strikeouts for an Arizona debut. Max Scherzer established the mark on April 29, 2008.
Godley also moved into territory which no pitcher in the modern era (after 1900) traversed. He became the first pitcher to go at least six scoreless innings in his major league debut, walk none and strike out at least seven hitters.
The result was an 8-3 victory over the Brewers before 18,011 in Chase Field. This was but the second win for Arizona since July 9, but left plenty of smiles around the clubhouse.
Only Ryan Braun’s three-run homer off reliever Dominic Leone in the ninth inning spoiled the celebratory evening.
Without a doubt, the hour belonged to Godley.
“I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t nervous,” he said. “(On Wednesday), I was setting up my locker and Tony La Russa came by. He told me to take a deep breath and throw strikes.”
Not bad advice, and Godley followed the instructions perfectly.
“This is the guy we wanted when we made the trade,” said manager Chip Hale. “All the scouts, (general manager) Dave Stewart, De Jon Watson (vice president of baseball operations), they all said this guy has big league stuff. When his stuff is down, he is very difficult to hit, period.”
The trade was a reference to the deal in which the Diamondbacks acquired Godley from the Chicago Cubs last winter in exchange for catcher Miguel Montero. A former starter at the University of Tennessee, Godley has been used as a reliever until moved as a starter earlier this season. In 15 starts between Advanced-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, Godley allowed two runs are less in 11 of his 15 starts.
Now, he set himself apart from the rest of all major league pitchers in the last nearly century and nearly one-quarter.
“I felt good and was able to locate my pitches,” he said. “Everything seemed to be working. It’s really different for different hitters, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get hitters out.”
Yasmany Tomas started Godley’s coming-out party with his sixth home run of the season. That was leading off in the second, and a lead-off, Tomas single in the fourth commenced a three-run rally.
By that time, Godley was locked and in control.
Overall, he allowed a second inning double to Carlos Gomez, a lead-off double to Herman Perez in the third, a bunt single to opposing pitcher Mike Fiers in the third and a lead-off single to Scooter Gennett in the fifth. Godley also hit Gerardo Parra with a pitch with one in the sixth and that accounted for all the Brewers base runners.
Meanwhile, Godley’s sinker was the effective as advertised.
Here, he fanned Braun three times and all with sinkers which continued to sink. Godley also recorded at least one strikeout in every inning but the third. Here, he was assisted on a perfectly executed double play on a come-backer to the mound. Godley flagged down the grounder from Parra, looked Perez back to third and flipped to Nick Ahmed, who stepped on second to retire Fiers and threw to the plate and cut down Perez.
“I knew the pitcher was on first and when the ball came to me, I looked back to check the runner at third,” Godley said. “Then I threw to second and Nick did the rest.”
The offense, dormant in recent games, came alive with a 13-hit attack, including five extra base hits.
A. J. Pollock led the assault with a 3-for-5 night, including a double and triple. Ender Inciarte, Cliff Pennington and Tomas each chipped in with two hits, and Paul Goldschmidt picked up a RBI to run his National League-leading total to 73.
JOHNSON’S HALL OF FAME PLAQUE COMING TO CHASE FIELD
After his induction to Baseball’s Hall of Fame this Sunday, the bronze likenesses Randy Johnson will live in Cooperstown forever.
However, for a few days during early August, Johnson’s Hall of Fame plaque will be on display in Chase Field.
Plans call for Johnson’s plaque to be removed from Cooperstown on Wed. August 5 and travel across the country. His plaque will then be placed on display in Chase Field on August 7 and 8, and then returned to Cooperstown by 12 noon on Monday Aug. 10.
During pre-game ceremonies on August 8, Johnson’s number 51 will be retired by the Diamondbacks.
FOR THE WEEKEND
The Brewers series continues through the up-coming Hall of Fame weekend.
On Friday night, look for lefty Patrick Corbin (1-2, 4.80 ERA) to take on righty Jimmy Nelson (7-9, 4.39).
On Saturday, it’s righty Rubby De La Rosa (7-5, 4.83) opposing righty Taylor Jungmann (5-1, 2.04). For the Sunday’s finale, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 4.87) takes to the hill against veteran right-hander Matt Garza (5-10, 5.23),
Gates for Sunday’s game will open at 11 a.m., one-half hour earlier, to give fans a chance to watch Randy Johnson’s Hall of Fame induction speech on the video board.