Recaps will probably run a little shorter between now and Opening Day, for reasons not worth bothering you about. Other stuff will continue to run, but a lack of time means something has to give, and recaps of meaningless games seem like the best candidate. So, moving rapidly on. Arizona went down 7-3 to the Giants in Tucson today, with their defense continuing the sloppiness that has been a significant factor in their current 8-15 Cactus League record. Mark Reynolds committed two errors in the first two innings, with the second one leading to three unearned runs on Doug Davis. Those runs scored on a fly ball to center which Eric Byrnes misjudged into a triple. Let's hope the old canard about spring stats being meaningless applies just as much to fielding percentage as ERA and batting average.
Doug Davis only lasted 2 2/3 innings, but wasn't helped by his defense, and the 58 pitches thrown is a better guide to what Davis did. as fat as getting his work in. Next start for him will be on Sunday, with the target being around 80 pitches, and he'll then get one last start, presumably going full-length, on April 3rd at Chase - both games are against the Chicago White Sox. Davis said. "I felt great. The only thing was I was just a little upset about 2-0 counts, 2-1 counts, especially with big league hitters... "I felt like I had a little giddy-up. Maybe 85 or 86 today." Which, one strongly suspects, is tongue-in-cheek.
Of the rest of the pitchers, the cream of the crop was Bobby Korecky, who retired all four batters he faced. Doug Slaten and Jon Rauch pitched scoreless innings, but Chad Qualls gave up a run on two hits. Both sides had ten hits, and we had more walks than the Giants (5-4), but they had a homer, two triples and a pair of doubles, while our only extra-base hits were doubles to Byrnes, Felipe Lopez and Gerardo Parra. Byrnes had two hits and his first stolen-base of the year, while Reynolds also had a couple of knocks, plus a walk and a stolen-base. Justin Upton walked twice.
Tom Gordon got his first bullpen in, and all the indications are it went well, with Gordon throwing 25 pitches at about 75% effort. He said afterwards, "It’s been a long time since it’s felt like this. It was rough. Not being able to brush your hair… Brushing my teeth, my arm would hurt me. Thank God. I’m on the mend. I’m a miracle. One of the doctors told me that I’m a miracle. He can’t see how I got through this." However, he reckons that is all now behind him: "The first pitch I threw today kind of shocked me... I expected to feel good, but not that good. ... I couldn't back off after that first pitch. I didn't know how to back off. My mechanics are fine, my arm slot is fine, and the ball felt really good coming out of my hand." We'll see what happens: it's certainly a low-risk, high-upside signing, though despite his words, I still reckon the odds are against Gordon being effective for us.
A random grab-bag of links. A quick Q+A with Josh Byrnes. David Cameron at Fangraphs, ranks the Diamondbacks the #9 franchise. WEEI out of Boston says Curt Schilling was an all-time bargain: "The names of Hanley Ramirez and Jon Lester surfaced during the negotiations. Yet the Red Sox were able to make one of the biggest acquisitions in franchise history while still holding onto their top prospects. How, exactly did it happen?" The Sporting News looks at the D-backs in their season preview, and concludes Arizona "will repeat their second-place finish because of deficiencies in the bullpen and on defense" And Chad Tracy says his knee is no longer a factor: "The leg is what held me back the last year and a half. Not to have to think about it and put so much work into getting it right, it's got to help out with the confidence knowing that it's strong enough and ready to go."
Finally. Bob Melvin was a KTAR guest on Gambo and Ash today, talking about the World Baseball Classic, Justin Upton, the team's ERA this spring and defense. Here's the audio:
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620