The unspringlike conditions continued in Tucson, but at least all nine innings of today's game against the Cleveland Indians were completed at Electric Park. The Diamondbacks couldn't do much against some solid pitching by the visitors this afternoon, being held to six hits and two runs - our pitching wasn't much worse, but two unearned runs off Clay Zavada in the fifth, the result of a Rusty Ryal miscue, turned a 2-1 Arizona lead into a 3-2 deficit. Despite some chances for the Diamondbacks' hitters, five shutout innings from the Indians bullpen held the lead the rest of the way.
Details after the jump.
Things didn't begin well for Rodrigo Lopez, because he allowed a triple to the very first hitter faced. While that runner did score on a groundout, it was the only hit and run Lopez allowed in his two innings of work, a significant improvement over his previous outing. He said afterward, "I felt better, especially from the stretch. I had to work on my rhythm from the stretch and today I felt more comfortable." The same piece on FoxSportsArizona.com says Lopez got some tips from Pedro Martinez last year on throwing curveballs: "I’ve been practicing it a lot. It’s not my out pitch, but it’s something I can throw at hitters, keep them off-balance."
Certainly, this was easily the best collective pitching performance by the Arizona arms thus far. Most of our pitchers were more or less sharp, holding the Tribe to seven hits and one walk in total, with the opening inning tally the only earned run of the day. Jordan Norberto and Leo Rosales seem to have performed the best, each retiring the opposition in order over their inning of work, Rosales including a strikeout. Aaron Heilman, TJ Bean, Daniel Stange and Esmerling Vasquez also posted zeroes.
The only blemish was the fifth, where Zavada gave up an RBI double and a walk, with another run scoring on a groundout. Both runs counted as unearned, Ryal having allowed a ground-ball to go under his glove with one out and a man on first. If my math is correct, that makes four Arizona errors in six games [counting yesterday's pair of half-contests as one combined] - marginally better than the rate last season, but not by much. Going by BOND's report on DBBP, seems there were some other plays best described as "interesting," though the turf conditions underfoot apparently left a good bit to be desired.
On the offense, not much to write about. Gerardo Parra was the only man to reach safely of his own volition more than once with a hit and a walk, and also stole a base. Ryan Roberts had the Diamondbacks' only extra-base knock, a seventh-inning double, and was hit by Indians' starter Jake Westbrook. He walked three batters in 1.2 innings, making his first start in almost two years, his career having been derailed by Tommy John surgery. Tony Abreu drew some praise for his defense at short, and drove in Arizona's first run with a hustle double. The second and final tally for us, arrived courtesy of a Brandon Allen sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Otherwise, seems to have been an extremely quiet day in spring training, with none of the usual sources having much to report. So all I can offer in the way of news, is that Scott Schoeneweis has signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers, which would become an $800K one-year deal if it led to him being added to the 40-man roster. He would then get the chance to earn an additional $700K in performance bonuses. I'm somewhat surprised to see him decided to return to baseball, but wish him absolutely the best in his endeavors. I can see why he would not want to go out of the game on a season like 2009.