PHOENIX — Jon Duplantier made his first career Major League start on Friday night. And he might not be leaving the rotation anytime soon.
The Diamondbacks’ top pitching prospect was pressed into duty with Luke Weaver sidelined due to a mild flexor pronator strain and a mild UCL sprain. And with no timetable set for Weaver’s return, Duplantier could have to stick around for awhile.
He was decent on Friday, allowing three runs over 5.0 innings in a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets in front of 24,664 fans at Chase Field. Duplantier had some control issues in the first and second innings — falling behind a few hitters and walking two — but he pushed through it and gave his team a chance to win.
“I thought Jon Duplantier did a good job today, through five innings,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “Maybe that little lull got to him, I don’t know.”
That lull came in the second inning, when home plate umpire Jim Wolf took a ball off the mask. The game stopped for awhile, and he ultimately had to exit, leaving the crew shorthanded for the rest of the night.
As it turns out, the second was the only inning where New York got any runs off Duplantier. Michael Conforto led off with a walk, then Wilson Ramos and Todd Frazier followed with back-to-back singles, before Adeiny Hechavarria capped it off with a long double to center.
Duplantier fought back after that though, shutting the Mets out in the next three frames.
“That second stung a little bit,” he conceded. “But, at the same time, yeah I feel like putting three zeros was good for me mentally. And there’s a lot to take away from that.””
Arizona chipped away at the deficit with a run in the bottom half of the second, then took the lead behind a three-run rally in the sixth. Ketel Marte led off the inning with a homer to right, and Christian Walker followed up by crushing a 447-foot, two-run shot to left three batters later.
It didn’t hold up though. Stefan Crichton and Archie Bradley delivered scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh (Bradley put two runners on, just to make things interesting), but the Mets took the lead back with a two-out rally in the eighth.
Matt Andriese retired the first two New York hitters he faced, but then gave up a bloop single to Frazier, another single to Hechavarria, an infield hit to J.D. Davis and a ground rule double to Carlos Gomez.
More than anything, it seemed like a series of bad luck. And the Gomez double was extremely close to being a foul ball.
“I’m not going to discuss anything regarding the umpires,” Lovullo explained afterward. “They’re out there doing their best job possible. And they were down a man and I know they were trying to do their best job to get plays right.”
Fair or foul, that was that. The D-backs never scored again, and they’ve now lost five in a row.
“It was just one of those days that would’ve been a nice win for us to have but it didn’t happen,” Lovullo lamented. “So where are we? We’ve got to turn it around and make things happen in a very positive way tomorrow.”
Arizona will once again lean on Zack Greinke to stop the bleeding on Saturday, while the Mets counter with reigning Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.
Assuming the Diamondbacks stick with this rotation for awhile, Duplantier should make his second start against the Dodgers on Wednesday.