Arizona Diamondbacks: Anthony Banda strong in debut

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Anthony Banda
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 22: Anthony Banda /

The Arizona Diamondbacks got a glimpse of the future Saturday night when top prospect Anthony Banda made his debut against the Washington Nationals.

The Arizona Diamondbacks called up top prospect Anthony Banda to start Saturday night’s affair against the Washington Nationals.

The 23-year old left-hander was strong in his big league debut, despite a rocky sixth inning that saw a barrage of extra-base hits break the 1-1 tie. His final line was to the tune of 5.2 innings, seven hits, three earned runs, five strikeouts and no walks scattered over 82 pitches.

He got off to a good start in the top of the first before running into Bryce Harper. The 2015 NL MVP tagged Banda’s 82 mph breaking ball for a solo home run into deep right center field for an early 1-0 lead. The Diamondbacks offense quickly answered in the home half of the first with the equalizer, which allowed the southpaw to settle in.

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He responded to the first inning run with with four straight strong innings, and once sat down five straight hitters. Banda even got some help from his defense in the top of the second when Brian Goodwin attempted to stretch a double into a triple, but was cut down by an excellent relay by David Peralta, Chris Owings, and Jake Lamb.

His fastball, clearly his best pitch, was his go-to against the Nationals potent lineup. His upper-90’s heater allowed him to get ahead in the count early, and work efficiently. Rarely did he fall behind hitters, which made for a good-looking pitch count.

He ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning, which wasn’t too surprising when the Washington lineup rolled around for the third time. An aggressive fastball approach by Banda all game was matched by the Nationals hitters in the sixth. Three consecutive extra base hits lead to manager Torey Lovullo turning to his bullpen.

Despite the Diamondbacks bid for a second walk-off in as many nights, Banda wasn’t enough to give his team a win. That being said, it was a pretty impressive debut and fans got a glimpse as to why this guy has been so highly-touted in their organization in recent seasons.

He’ll obviously have to gain more confidence in his off-speed pitches, which was something he didn’t feature too much Saturday night. That above-average fastball that he heavily relies on will definitely have to be paired with a few put-away pitches.

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Nonetheless, it was still a darn good showing from Banda in his first outing in the desert.