Diamondbacks vs Royals Pregame — Ryne Nelson vs Brady Singer

Royals turn a double play against the Diamondbacks
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks vs. Royals Pregame — April 25, 2023

PHOENIX — It’s Game Two of a three-game set between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals, which is also the sixth game of a seven-game homestand for the Diamondbacks. Ryne Nelson is set to start pitching for the Diamondbacks, facing Royals righty Brady Singer. Prior to the game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and Royals manager Matt Quatraro met (separately) with the media on hand.

Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks Manager

The big Diamondbacks news from the day was the optioning of outfielder Jake McCarthy to Triple-A Reno. In his place, they have called up corner infielder Emmanuel Rivera. Lovullo gave the reasons for his sending down:

“(What) we explained to him last night is that things just weren’t trending in a very positive direction. He didn’t have the same swing results. Wasn’t making good swing decisions at the beginning. Started to lay off certain pitches and just wasn’t finishing his swing. So what I explained to him we could leave (him) here and a year playing catch up, something that numbers-wise wouldn’t be as productive as we feel like (he) could be if (he) went down and got (his) swing back together. Got some time, got some reps, and do what (he) did last year.”

McCarthy handled the optioning differently this season than he did last season. Lovullo said, “Last year he looked me square in the eye and told me, ‘I’m not the right guy to sit down right now, but I’ll go.’ This year was a little bit different version of that. I think he felt like there was something that he needed to go down there and work on. We identified that and have been working hard over the past couple days.”

McCarthy had a hitting session today at Salt River. His flight to Reno arrives at noon Wednesday. The Aces game begins at 12:05, so McCarthy will not be in their lineup until Thursday at the earliest.

“We Need Jake McCarthy”

Lovullo said they’re trying to help McCarthy “retrieve some of the swing mechanics that helped him be so successful last year.” He added, “We need Jake McCarthy to get to where we’re going. He’s a good player. I strongly believe he’s one of our best outfielders in the system and needs to be at the big league level to help us win baseball games. Hopefully will go down and take care of his business. He’s in a good mindset right now.”

The problem the team identified is that he “wasn’t getting off his A-swing enough.” He was in his “B-swing,” where he was chipping at the ball and protecting the plate.

Lovullo feels that McCarthy’s illness in spring training hurt his preparation for the season. “What we can go to as a reference point,” Lovullo said, “(is) what spring training meant to me as a player. I know that the first couple of weeks for Jake is getting timed up to the fastball, and then (he gets) the last couple of weeks to get everything timed up — hitting off the fastball and timing up the breaking ball. (The illness) interrupted it for eight days there. I think he was still working on the timing of his fastball. So he never got all the swing coordinates down, based on pitch selection.”

Lovullo told him he could stay with the Diamondbacks and have a .600 OPS, hit eight home runs, and have 32 RBI. “That’s not helping anybody,” Lovullo said. He then told McCarthy he could go to Reno, get everything timed up, come back to the majors, and produce numbers twice as high.

Pavin Smith will play some outfield until McCarthy returns. The team will “keep him on the right side of the diamond,” however, so he’ll mainly play right.

Rivera Getting Recalled

Rivera was called up both because he’s been hitting so well in Triple-A and also because he’s right-handed. The Diamondbacks will be facing several left-handed starters over the next few days, namely Ryan Yarbrough for the Royals Wednesday and both Kyle Freeland and Austin Gomber of the Colorado Rockies on the trip to Denver this weekend. In addition, the Royals have some “tough left-handers” in their ‘pen.

Rivera will mostly play third and designated hitter. In a pinch, he will play first base as well.

Prepared for Singer’s Best

Royals starter Brady Singer had a decent first start to the 2023 season but has been roughed up in his last three. That did not negatively impact the Diamondbacks’ preparation to face him. “We’re prepared for Singer’s best,” Lovullo stated. “We know that he was very elite last year. And we know that he has the capabilities of being lights out. He might be on that WBC list. I know that there’s a few. We’ve talked about in here with Merrill (Kelly), maybe a little WBC hangover. Lance Lynn has been in that. Adam Wainwright has also been in that category. So we’re hoping we don’t see (Singer’s) best and (can) take advantage of it. But we’re preparing for Singer’s best. We know that he’s a special pitcher.”

Matt Quatraro, Royals Manager

Speaking of Singer, he did well in his outing against the Diamondbacks last season. In that, he allowed one run (a solo home run) on four hits, walking none while striking out six across seven innings. Quatraro was asked how an outing against a team Singer had success against can help him get back on track. He responded, “Regardless of who he’s facing, a good outing is gonna be a real positive for him and for us. But I honestly don’t think he cares who he’s pitching against. He just wants to do what he knows he can do and execute his pitches.”

Right fielder MJ Melendez, who has been out with lower back spasms, is “much closer” to a return today. Quatraro explained further, “He’s going to test it here today. See how it feels running. But it has loosened up considerably.” The team will take it “little by little” with Melendez, having him jog and do some throwing to see how he feels.

In Monday night’s game, Quatraro had a lengthy and slightly heated discussion with the umpires in the fateful eighth inning. (He stayed in the game.) When asked if he liked that, Quatraro said, “I have no interest in being out there. But at times, you have to question things that you think your team needs to be backed up on. But no, I mean, I’m not looking forward to going out there by any means.”

The Royals have adopted a gladiator helmet as the home run celebration item. Quatraro said he feels they are among the last teams to adopt something. It’s “definitely not my style,” in his words, but he’s ok with it if it motivates his players to hit more dingers.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Share "Diamondbacks vs Royals Pregame — Ryne Nelson vs Brady Singer" on social media:
More Arizona Diamondbacks News
Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

Order Evan's book at store.bookbaby.com
Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_m_thompson
Support Evan on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=81411994

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *