Burp. Sorry 'bout that. Been totally pigging out on baseball today, thanks mostly to the World Baseball Classic, though I've also dropped in on a couple of spring training games, courtesy of WGN and the MLB Network. The highlight has to be the stunning victory of the Netherlands, whom I don't think have a single player currently on an MLB team's 25-man roster, over the star-studded Dominican Republic side, which includes Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz. Brilliant stuff, right down to a gripping ninth inning pitched by a closer who'd never finished a game. Dutch catcher Jansen threw out major-league steals leader Willie Taveras, as he tried to take third. Go, Nederland!
Not so much success for the Diamondbacks today, as Dan Haren was the latest member of the Arizona rotation to get slapped around, giving up seven hits in just two innings. That led to four runs, all coming before we even got to bat. Said Haren afterwards, “It was kind of like everything that could have gone wrong went wrong." Still, looking on the bright side, “I threw plenty out of the stretch, which I needed to do.” On the plus side, he struck out four in the two innings, and going by Piecoro's report, it seems that there were some bad-luck hits included in Haren's total, such a double lost by Conor Jackson in the sun.
Looking at the box-score Reggie Willits even managed to steal home off Haren and Chris Snyder. Not quite sure how that happened, but the Angels had their wheels up, going 3-0 in the stolen base department. Snyder got some measure of revenge later, picking Willits off third base. He also apparently put down a bunt single. Yep: Chris Snyder. Our catcher. That's good to see, and I'd like to see our team trying that more often this year - it keeps the defense honest, and the shock value of someone like Snyder succeeding can only be imagined.
The bullpen was the usual spring helping of Sergio Leone: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In the first category would go Scott Schoeneweis, who gave the Diamondbacks their only 1-2-3 inning of the day in the third, and probably Clay Zavada who walked one batter in the eighth but was otherwise clean. Grudgingly, Jon Rauch gets in there for a scoreless fourth, despite two walks. Bad? Juan Gutierrez [two hits, two walks and a run over two innings] and Tony Barnette [two hits and a run in the ninth]. That would leave the ugly being Doug Slaten's seventh, with two hits, two walks and three runs,, all earned, boosting his spring ERA to 15.00.
Offense-wise, not much to report. James Skelton was the only Diamondback to reach safely more than once, with a pair of walks. Justin Upton and Evan Frey each had a double and an RBI, with Pedro Ciriaco and Cyle Hankerd also driving in a run apiece. Arizona hit into three double-plays, from Chad Tracy, Reynaldo Navarro and Stephen Drew - the last-named going 0-for-3, after the Republic had such a nice piece on him today too.