The only evening game in the Diamondbacks' spring schedule was tonight, over at Peoria Sports Complex - I sense major traffic carnage, if what we saw in the area on Sunday afternoon was anything to go by, where there were long lines on the 101 exits and jams at the junctions. Briefly contemplated going, but having been out the past three nights in a row, sitting at home at watching the game seemed like a better delay, even if the screening on the MLB network was an hour delayed.
That turned out to be a blessing, as after the second frame, I hopped in my time machine - pausing only to pick up Rose Tyler - and saw what was happening, three innings in the future. Saved me having to sit through the game in hope of something miraculous, and freed up Tivo cycles for the season finale of Caprica. Details of the game - without any time delay needed - after the jump.
I think this is the first time I've seen Mulvey pitch, and if you weren't able to tell from the scoreline, I wasn't impressed. He was clearly trying to keep the ball down in the zone, and generate groundballs with his sinker, but didn't have the control necessary for that tactic to work: he hung a slider, which was deposited over the fence, and most of the hits he allowed were not bloops. The batters were squaring up the pitches pretty well. Admittedly, he wasn't helped by the defense, which meant that five of the eight runs he allowed were unearned.
Rusty Ryal threw the ball too far ahead of Buckner, as he covered first, but the damaging one was in the second. With one out, a broken-bat groundball to Reynolds could have ended the inning, but he threw the ball wide to the outfield side of Roberts, who was covering second: a run scored, and the inning fell apart from there. However, Mulvey is still responsible for everything else - not least the eight straight balls, including a four-pitch walk to his opposing number - with which he opened the second inning. Six hits and three walks won't get it done, regardless of the defense that's playing behind you.
His rival for the final spot fared a little better, allowing one hit in four innings of work. Unfortunately, that hit was a two-run shot in the fourth inning, which got the Padres into double figures. He walked two and struck out four in his four innings of work: probably his best outing of spring all told, but since his ERA still has two digits before the decimal point, it's hard to claim he has an inside track on the #5 rotation spot. Mulvey's ERA went up to 5.79, but purely on the basis of this evening, I would give it to Buckner, who had some good tilt on his pitches. Though, looking more broadly at spring, that's like deciding between whether or not to have mayo mixed in with your rancid milk or not.
With both front-line starters gone by the sixth, Bob Howry came in for the seventh - and allowed a home-run to Chris Denorfia, probably best known for going 4-for-4 in Italy's upset win over the Canadian team in the World Baseball Classic last year (and when I say, "probably best known", I mean I'd never heard of him before, but his player page links to video of that game). Still, listening to the radio yesterday, Mike Fetters was doing color commentary (yep: that Mike Fetters), and said that spring training for veteran pitchers, who are guaranteed a spot on the roster, the numbers are particularly meaningless. I trust this will be the case, but will be more of a believer after he has posted a few regular season zeroes. Kroenke did have a scoreless eighth: likely not enough to save his roster spot.
Just time for a quick scamper through the offense, such as it was. Upton provided most of it, going 2-for-4 with his fifth homer, and has now driven in 19 runs this spring. Chris Young drove in the Diamondbacks other run: both he and Stephen Drew had a couple of hits. After the game, AJ Hinch said the team probably wouldn't make the final roster decisions until Saturday, both on pitching and position players. "It's tough on the players, it's tough on the staff, but it's reality. Shaping a big league roster is difficult. Things can change on a daily basis." Buckner does appear to have closed the gap on Mulvey a little this evening: "I thought towards the end of his outing his tempo was good and his stuff got better," but added, "He was pitching a little bit up tonight which is never good for him."
Nice turn out for our Hot Tub Time Machine gameday thread: BattleMoses pipped kishi 54-50, with yours truly in third. 219 comments - none of them by 'Skins. Also present: pygalgia, snakeoil14, LoveMyDbacks (welcome!), JPhoenixFly, Rockkstarr12, luckycc, unnamedDBacksfan, NASCARbernet, AJforAZ, piratedan7, justin1985, mfan2010 an Sprankton. Tomorrow is, of course, the last spring training game in Tucson. 'Skins, do you want to take the recap since you'll be in attendance, if I am not mistaken? I am expecting pictures, too, natch, but no hurry on getting it done.