Glad we got this one in, as out pitching - a weak spot through most of the pre-season games to date - turned in what was easily its best performance of spring to date. Ian Kennedy and four relievers combined to shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers on four hits, in front of a crowd just over 10,000 at Salt River Fields - not bad, considering the game-time temperature was announced as a not-so balmy and unArizonan fifty degrees.
Quick recap after the jump. I didn't see it (was busy watching a Scottish horror film which included a brief appearance and grisly fate from a pre-Dr. Who Amy Pond), and which I could probably fish more details out of the Gameday Thread and fake it, I'm not sure how many of the near-thousand comments in there were actually game related. From a quick scan, Joe Stock's recaps were probably the majority. And, people: I want to make the margin a focus of our pre-season preparation going forward...
Much better outing from Kennedy this evening - and after he allowed 16 hits over 6.2 innings in his previous couple, it was good to see him pitch like an Opening Day starter. Admittedly, this was against a Dodgers team which was at about half-strength - Ethier, Kemp and Loney were the only starting position players I recognized - but we were also going up against their ace, in Clayton Kershaw. So, to come out with the victory was a credible outcome. Kennedy's only spot of trouble came in the second, when he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but got Kershaw to strike out, followed by a ground-out from the lead-off batter.
He was lifted with one out in the sixth, after walking Matt Kemp. Joe Paterson took over, and promptly tidied up, getting Loney to ground into a double-play. Juan Gutierrez, Esmerling Vasquez and Sam Demel took things the rest of the way, restricting the Dodgers to one hit off Gutierrez, with each man striking out one batter. Demel continues to impress, and Vasquez might be making a late run at the last bullpen spot, if the Diamondbacks decide it's better to go with a right-hander that can get people out, rather than a second left-hander who might be a bit flaky in that department c.f. Mike Hampton and Jordan Norberto.
Offensively, fairly quiet, though Arizona did still reach double-digits in hits, along with three walks. There were two hits for Willie Bloomquist and Juan Miranda, while Chris Young and Melvin Mora each had a hit and a walk. Young and Miranda had doubles, our only extra-base hits, but Ryan Roberts was picked off, and Willie Bloomquist was caught stealing, sending our record there further towards the red. We also hit into three double-plays, which is partly why we only scored three runs.
We still have the worst spring record in the majors, but we're only 1.5 games back of the Dodgers, and have won four of our last five. This is, to me, somewhat encouraging: I'd certainly rather have us start off bad, then improve towards Opening Day, than the other way around. But, after our performances of the first three weeks, I'd quite like a nine-game winning streak, just to balance things out.
Gameday Thread got into four figures, mostly due to the work of DbacksSkins and jinnah, who combined for 380 of those comments - Clefo got into three figures too. Also taking part: justin1985, snakecharmer, Jim McLennan, kishi, longshorts, JoeStock, Dallas D'Back Fan, Rockkstarr12, emilylovesthedbacks, soco, mrssoco, IHateSouthBend, 4 Corners Fan, BattleMoses and dbacks25. Next time we do one of these, will be when our guys face down the Rockies on April 1st; so at least the weather tonight was good practice! Comment of the night, naturally has to be part of the conversation between jinnah and 'Skins, which occupied, oh, 40% of the thread: