Skaggs survives to win Triple-A debut

D-backs left-hander yields career-high 12 hits in seven innings

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | July 1, 2012 4:39 PM ET

After one start in his new home park -- and the same Pacific Coast League that has wreaked havoc on the likes of Shelby Miller and Wily Peralta -- Tyler Skaggs had this to say Sunday night: "It matches the horror stories I have heard. If you can pitch here, you can pitch anywhere."

In this regard, mark Skaggs -- the D-backs' No. 3 -- and baseball's No. 16 -- prospect as to be determined. But be optimistic about it.

Skaggs (1-0) was charged with five runs over seven-plus innings while winning his first career Triple-A start in an 8-6 Reno victory over visiting Las Vegas. He yielded a career-high 12 hits, including fourth-inning homers to Moises Sierra (on a 1-0 changeup left over the plate) and Mike McCoy (a 3-2 challenge fastball).

And yet Skaggs was happy, although not quite bubbling over, with the results. The left-hander struck out three, walked one and threw 70 of his 106 pitches for strikes.

"I was throwing the ball well, keeping it down, just was unfortunate [at times]," he said. "My fastball command was good. My [off-speed] wasn't as sharp as I may have liked."

That, he added, was something of a consequence. He made his final Double-A Mobile appearance -- an underwhelming five-inning defeat to Montgomery -- on Monday. "I would prefer the usual five days' rest," he said.

While his promotion wasn't officially transacted until Sunday, Skaggs said he was told he would be moving up a level while Mobile was on the road this week in Huntsville. After going 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings spanning 13 outings for the BayBears, he joined the Aces as an idle teammate three days ago.

Beyond the hitter-friendly conditions, what's the biggest difference he's noticed so far?

"I feel a lot closer to the big leagues," said Skaggs, who will turn 21 this month. "There's moves to be made. I just have to go out there and throw as best as I can."

Skaggs retired eight of nine entering the eighth, when his first and final two batters -- David Cooper (walk) and Travis Snider (double) -- reached safely and eventually scored with reliever Chris Jakubauskas on the mound.

No matter for the Aces' offense. Adam Eaton and Josh Bell both delivered a longball and Cole Gillespie, who delivered three homers, on Friday recorded a game-high four hits.

"Phenomenal," Skaggs said of the lineup's support. "They really picked me up."

Joel Carreno (2-3) was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on seven hits over four frames.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More