Monday High 5: D-backs’ Tyler Gilbert Provides Hope for Future

Matthew JohnsonAugust 16, 2021
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Arizona Diamondbacks rookie starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert tossed a no-hitter in the first start of his major league career Saturday night at Chase Field against the San Diego Padres. His performance clearly was the best thing we saw over a slow weekend in sports and perhaps gives the fans a glimmer of glee looking ahead to next season. Let’s dive into our five biggest takeaways.  

1. Gilbert’s no-no is a rare highlight of a long and painful season. 

Tyler Gilbert became just the fourth player in the 150-plus-year history of Major League Baseball to throw a no-hitter in the first start of his career. The 27-year-old lefthander walked Padres leadoff hitter Tommy Pham three times, but clearly owned the rest of the San Diego lineup by only throwing 102 pitches in what was the best moment of the season for the Diamondbacks.  

Big Takeaway: Here is proof that even a blind squirrel can find a nut. Besides Madison Bumgarner’s 7-inning no-hitter back in late April, there has been nothing good to happen to this Arizona team in 2021. Gilbert gives the Diamondbacks a rare glimmer of hope going forward that there’s a stud left-handed pitcher to plug into the rotation for years to come. Just make sure Gilbert’s dad has a seat and the camera on him every start.  

2. Cardinals play a perfect preseason game No. 1. 

Fans are back in the stadium. First round draft pick rookie linebacker Zaven Collins had a nice tackle for loss. Second round draft pick rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore is confirmed fast and can catch the ball. The Cardinals finally have a competent backup quarterback in Colt McCoy. And no one got injured in the first preseason game Friday night against the Dallas Cowboys.  

Secondyear running back Eno Benjamin, a local favorite from his college career at Arizona State, was impressive with 50 yards rushing, including a six-yard touchdown run – likely securing a spot on the Cardinals roster.  

Big TakeawayDon’t overreact to anything in the preseason. Starting quarterback Kyler Murray did not play a single preseason snap in 2020 and put up historically significant stats in the regular season and led the team to a 6-3 record to start the season. What you want to see in preseason is a highlight from the recent draft class so you know they can play in the NFL and for no one to get injured.  Don’t overreact!

3. ASU football suffers a major loss three weeks before the season opener.  

Arizona State Sun Devil star defensive tackle Jermayne Lole will reportedly be sidelined for several months due to a triceps injury that requires surgery.  

Big Takeaway: It just got easier for opposing offenses to go up against ASU’s defense in 2021. Lole is widely regarded as the top interior lineman in the Pac-12 and one of the best in the entire country. He’s a dominant force of a wrecking ball in the middle of the defense and a surefire NFL talent. Losing Lole before the season begins severely impacts any hope ASU has to win the Pac-12 and reach the college football playoffs. There’s no other way to look at it. Hopefully we see him return at the end of the season with games that matter still on the line for the Sun Devils.  

4. Sports got something right this week… 

The Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in Dyersville, Iowa was one of the greatest sports ideas ever, and the game delivered with a Hollywood ending. Major League Baseball should play more games in fields of corn on a Midwest summer night. In fact, it should be a yearly or monthly occurrence to play on that field.  

5.  … and continues to get this wrong. 

The meaningless competition in the month of August. There are no major championships on the calendar, Major League Baseball still has 50 games left to play, the NBA uses this time for Summer League to develop young players they just drafted who probably aren’t ready to compete against veterans and NFL preseason is worth watching for about five minutes. Baseball should recognize August as ripe for the taking in terms of audience and attention and give us its postseason right now instead of October when NFL and college football own the airwaves.  

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