This has to count as one of the oddest locations in which I have ever written a game recap. I am currently sitting outside the Trunk Space art gallery/performance venue in downtown Phoenix - it's on Grand, opposite the seriously-closed Oasis Hotel. We've just opened the doors for our Peelander-Z show tonight, having dodged a bullet, since the power to a good chunk of the area just came back on. The band are still about an hour out, since the played El Paso last night, but we expect the local supporting bands to be showing up very shortly. Still, the Trunk Space has wi-fi, and I've hooked up a power cable to their outside lights, so am basically set for the evening. Mrs. Snakepit just hopes the gallery cat stays at least ten feet away, or wheezing and puffiness will soon follow.
I'll say no more than that, and move on to today's game between the Diamondbacks and the White Sox. I wonder if it was a bit of a grudge-match, what with the two being former room-mates as it were, at Tucson Electric Park. Now, Chicago have moved out to their fancy new digs in Camelback Ranch, but popped back to their previous aboe this afternoon, pick up their mail and have an uncomfortable discussion about whether or not they owe anything for the utilities. It's never fun when a tenant decides to bail before the end of the lease, leaving the remaining residents to foot the bill.
Doug Davis got the start, and didn't quite manage to sustain the recent streak of one-run outings by members of the Arizona rotation. Indeed, that ended before the Diamondbacks reached the plate, with the White Sox scoring twice in the top of the first inning, on a two-out triple. However, it appears that this was a hit Chris Young probably should have caught in center, getting a bad jump on the ball and recovering just enough to have it bounce off his mitt for a three-bagger. That was it until the fifth inning, as far as runs allowed by Davis went, though he had to be bailed out of that fifth by Travis Blackley, with two men on and a third run already in. The final line: 4.2 IP, seven hits, no walks, two strikeouts and three runs allowed, all earned. I think Davis is still a little behind the other pitchers, going by the results, but he should be fine.
Pleased to see Stephen Drew back in the line-up, after missing an entire week due to an abdominal strain. It doesn't seem to have affected him too much, as he had a pair of hits this afternoon, including a double. Arizona rallied to tie the game at three in the bottom of the fifth, with Miguel Montero getting the Diamondbacks on the board with his third homer of the year - matching Chris Snyder for the team lead - a two-run shot. Chris Young drove in the tying run. However, the White Sox then scored six unanswered runs. Two of those came off Blackley in the sixth., but the main recipient was Scott Scheoeneweis, who had a miserable eighth inning, allowing five hits and four earned runs. His position in the bullpen may be assured, but a 10.29 spring ERA doesn't exactly inspire confidence - I wish I knew what the lefty-righty split was on that.
Arizona did restore some respectability to the scoreline eventually, with Gerardo Parra swatting a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the eighth, and Josh Wilson adding another long ball in the ninth. Chris Young had two hits and a walk, while Felipe Lopez and Justin Upton - back from his brief stint in the minor-leagues, as it were - each had a hit and a walk, while Upton had a stolen-base. Eric Byrnes had his first error of the year; Drew and Chris Roberson hit into double-plays.
Something of a follow-up on our story about Jackson's homerless streak yesterday, with Steve Gilbert reporting our
first-baseman outfielder is "plenty frustrated" about hitting .191 this spring, to the point that he was given a series of at-bats this afternoon on a Tucson back field. Said Jackson, "I feel like I'm seeing the ball fine, but the results have not been there for me.. I just wanted to get some extra ABs today and see some pitches. Obviously I'm not being as aggressive as I should. It's definitely good to see some pitches without really worrying about the results. It's more of a relaxed environment. I squared up four or five balls over there, so it's there. I'm not really stressing out about it." Us neither. Jackson has proven he can hit when it matters - I sincerely doubt he has forgotten how since last September.
Interesting words from Peter Gammons: "The Diamondbacks strike out a ton, but if Justin Upton, Stephen Drew and others improve and if they can line up the rotation and bullpen to the point of adequacy behind Brandon Webb and Danny Haren, the D-backs can be an 85-90 win team. While he was really talking about the Giants' chances in the division, and "if" appears too often in the sentence for my complete happiness, it seems an acceptable assessment of our situation. But more on that tomorrow, as I'll be opening up the "How many wins for Arizona?' thread for full discussion.
And with that, off to see our favorite Japanese pop-punk phenoms. "How you like cook your steak? Medium RAAAAAAAA-RE!" Bliss.