This is going to be relatively brief, in part because of the two-hour special edition of 24 that is currently Tivo-ing, but also because I realized that Opening Day is just five weeks away, and we hadn't even started on the Community Projections yet. That will be rectified later tonight, with the infielders going up for your predictions: the next four Mondays will be occupied with the outfield, the rotation, the bullpen and finally, on March 30th, the grand finale, asking the question "How many wins for the Diamondbacks in 2009?"
Today saw a thoroughly-emphatic victory over Chicago, and it's always a pleasure to beat up on the North Siders. Admittedly the vast majority of the damage was done against no-one you've ever heard of, eight of the nine runs coming in two innings from Angel Guzman and Mitch Atkins, with a combined thirty-three major league games between them [Guzman having all of them]. After a scoreless first three innings, the Diamondbacks broke it open with a five-run fourth inning. Tracy and Clark had RBI hits, before Chris Snyder got his first knock of the year, with a three-run homer. A wild pitch in the sixth made it 6-0 to Arizona, and we poured on the pain with three more in the last inning, on back-to-back doubles from Hallberg and Wilson.
Meanwhile, our pitching staff was proving smoothly efficient. Dan Haren and Juan Gutierrez pitched no-hit ball for the first four innings, with a walk off the former the only base-runner permitted. The Cubs got their first hit with two outs in the fifth, former Diamondback Koyie Hill singling off Hector Ambriz. He allowed three hits in his two innings, but kept Chicago off the board; Coutlangus and Newby did so too, each permitting one hit and striking out one in their inning of work. Daniel Schlereth finally allowed a sympathy run in the bottom of the ninth on a pair of doubles, but I think this was our most convincing performance of the pre-season to date.
With the first week of spring in the books, let's take a quick look at the performances which have stood out in the boxscores thus far for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hitters first, and then the pitchers, pathetically small sample size warnings obviously apply to all of the following, in addition to them being spring training stats to begin with. [Ok, they're basically completely meaningless, but I need something to flesh out this post and make it look like it contains useful information]
- Chris Young: 6-for-11, 1.492 OPS
- Josh Wilson: 6-for-11, 4 RBI
- Brandon Watson: 5-for-10, 1.283 OPS
- Tony Clark: 1-for-8, 3 K, .472 OPS
- Felipe Lopez: 2-for-12, 3 K, .398 OPS
- 'Jack' Skelton: 0-for-6, 0 BB
- Hector Ambriz: 4 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 ER
- Juan Marte: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 0 ER
- Dan Haren: 4 IP, 1 H, 3 K, 1 ER
- Jon Rauch: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 ER
- Brooks Brown: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 ER
- Doug Davis: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 ER
Seems like we won't be seeing Eric Byrnes until at least the middle of March - maybe the Colorado Rockies will even have won a game by then. Said Melvin, "The one thing he still hasn’t conquered yet without thinking about it is going first to third. Straight ahead, running in the outfield, getting out of the box -- all those things are great. Still in the back of his mind he feels it." Hamstrings are dodgy things, folks - as anyone who has ever done any damage to them knows. Speed is an integral part of Eric's game: if he doesn't have absolute confidence in his legs and so is not capable of going full-bore, then his effectiveness is vastly diminished - much more so than someone like, say, Chris Snyder. And that'd mean only three weeks before Opening Day: will this be enough time to get fully ready?
Tomorrow sees Doug Davis facing Randy Johnson at Scottsdale Stadium - we'll be keeping a careful eye out on that one, and hope to see Davis pulling away from the bottom of the list given above. And that'll do: Jack Bauer beckons for me, but I'll be fast-forwarding through the commercials, so expect the Community Projections to be finished and up by the end of the night.