Anthony Banda was making his second career major-league start on Friday night and boy was it one to remember. There were times when he looked completely dominant, establishing his fastball early with pinpoint accuracy, followed by his knee-buckling curve along with his changeup. It was a beautiful performance and it earned him his first career big-league win.
Banda didn’t allow a hit through three innings, cruising into the 4th. That’s were things got a little bumpy and his inexperience showed. The Giants started the inning with a leadoff bunt single followed by another bunt to advance the runner. The crowd started getting into the game and Banda had trouble executing his pitches. It was clear that he had suddenly been taken off his game. The question was whether that would lead to a big inning or not for the Giants.
After a walk and a single that hit off his glove, Banda was facing a bases loaded situation. A grounder for a double play and he’d be out of trouble. He threw five curveballs to Brandon Crawford in the next at-bat but wasn’t able to locate, missing three times with the curve up high, just not finishing the pitch. He walked Crawford, scoring a run.
The next at-bat, Banda went away from the curve and threw three quality fastballs, mixing in a couple changeups, to strike Gorkys Hernandez out. This was a defining moment in Banda’s outing. His curveball, the go-to pitch for Banda, wasn’t working. He showed maturity going away from the pitch and leaning on his mid-90s fastball to get a crucial out by focusing on throwing strikes.
The next batter grounded out and Banda got out of the perilous inning after giving up only one run.
In the top of the 5th inning Banda came out on fire. He continued to lean on his mid-90s fastball, throwing it 12 times out of 16 pitches in the inning. The result was an overpowering inning with three strikeouts. This was Banda’s most impressive inning of the night, one that showed just how dominating this kid can be.
On offense it was once again the Paul Goldschmidt show. He had the D-backs lone hit — a single in the 2nd inning — heading into the top of the 4th. A.J. Pollock singled with one out and Goldschmidt followed with a triple, scoring Pollock and giving the D-backs the early one-run lead.
After the Giants tied the game in the 4th inning and then got shut down by Banda in the 5th, the D-backs came alive in the 6th. David Peralta doubled to start the inning. Paul Goldschmidt singled — a towering shot that hit off the left-field wall — to drive in Peralta, giving the D-backs the 2-1 lead.
Jorge De La Rosa, David Hernandez and Fernando Rodney each pitched one inning in relief, allowing no hits and no walks.
Stats that matter
- Banda showed he belongs in the big-leagues – 6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K
- Paul Goldschmidt comes through again – 3-for-4, 2 RBI, 3B
Anthony Banda grew up in a hurry in this game and he did it without falling apart. That’s something that, given the situation, would’ve happened to a lot of rookies. Heck, it would’ve happened to a lot of veterans. He showed tonight not only that he belongs in the majors, but that he could turn into a dominant pitcher. He might be headed back to Reno but I sure would love to see this kid stick around for another start. He deserves that.
Game two of the weekend series is at 6:05 pm MT on Saturday in San Francisco. Taijuan Walker will take the ball for the D-backs as they look to make it four wins in a row.