Walks costly, but Shipley battles in '17 debut

Walks costly, but Shipley battles in '17 debut

WASHINGTON -- Though the D-backs have lost Shelby Miller for the season, the void created by his absence has given them an opportunity to test their organizational depth.

Arizona's first crack at finding a potential in-house replacement for Miller came in Thursday afternoon's 4-2 loss to the Nationals when Braden Shipley was summoned from Triple-A Reno to start against one of the toughest lineups in the National League and opposite reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. Not an easy assignment for most pitchers, much less one making his first Major League start of the season.

Unfortunately for the young right-hander, his 2017 debut didn't go as he'd hoped, as Shipley yielded three runs over four-plus innings and 92 pitches. Though he showed off improved velocity on his fastball, it was his command that eluded him; he walked six against just two strikeouts.

"The story of the game is that I let them get back into counts," Shipley said. "[My] stuff felt awesome today, super electric. From the 'pen to all the way until I was finished. I thought I wasn't aggressive enough with my fastball early in counts and really didn't pitch how I tend to pitch."

Despite the short start, manager Torey Lovullo came away impressed with how the 25-year-old composed himself and held his own against one of baseball's top offenses.

"He came off the mound and battled for his entire outing," Lovullo said. "He gave us what he could and kept us within striking distance. ... I felt like he didn't give in all day long, and that's a credit to him."

"That's awesome to be able to have the support from the skipper," said Shipley. "At the same time, I'm super frustrated in myself because I don't think that I got beat today, I think I beat myself."

Though Shipley's on-field demeanor drew praise, Lovullo said it's too early to make a decision as to whether there will be another chance for the right-hander to start. Arizona has an off-day following its series in Colorado, so it may not need a fifth starter until next weekend's series against the Pirates.

In the meantime, Shipley looks forward to getting another shot.

"I hope so," he said. "We'll see what happens, but every time I'm going to go out there and battle. My stuff right now feels the best it's ever [been]."

Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the D-backs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.