Diamondbacks 3, Indians 7: Heilman's Not-So Last Stand

Aaron Heilman died by the long-ball this afternoon, giving up four earned runs in 5.1 innings, all of which crossed home-plate courtesy of Indians' home-runs - even if one actually came after Heilman had left the game. That shot came off reliever Carlos Rosa, with an inherited runner aboard, and given the score was tied at three when this happened, it also resulted in Heilman getting his first decision of spring, taking the loss.

More details after the jump.

Heilman's final line was five hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. After opening the pre-season by allowing one hit over his first two outings, Aaron's numbers have been a little shakier of late, as he has been asked to pitch deeper into games. In his four outings since, Heilman has allowed 21 hits in 17.1 innings, leading to 13 earned runs, a 6.75 ERA. The main reason are the six home-runs given up in that time, and the K:BB ratio remains decent, at 10:4. IHSB, in the rotation thread, expressed unconcern - "It’s the Cactus League, HRs happen. Just keep the underlying rates steady, and you can’t ask for much more."

We'll see whether Kirk Gibson feels that way shortly. After this afternoon, our manager said of Heilman's work, "He pitched good until he got tired and started missing location in the fifth inning and got himself in trouble, got a couple of balls up." I'm wondering how many pitches Heilman threw before the tiredness set in: certainly, getting tired in the fifth is not what you want from a starter. He'll have one more start, on the 27th, before the decision has to be made, and I can see it going to the wire.

Jordan Norberto allowed a run in the seventh, but it was an unearned run, on an error by Willie Bloomquist. It was one of three made by the Diamondbacks today. Heilman was responsible for one on a pickoff throw, and Tony Abreu commited the third. Kam Mickolio pitched a scoreless eighth, but David Hernandez joined the home-run parade, allowing a long-ball in the ninth, completing the scoring. A decent 7:2 K:BB ratio for our pitching staff, almost the same as the 7:1 inflicted on our hitters (though the walk we got was an intentional one to Henry Blanco).

We took the lead in the first, on an RBI single from Russell Branyan, scoring Chris Young. We then tied the game at three in the fifth. Kelly Johnson made it a one-run game with a solo shot to right, and Ryan Roberts then leveled things, driving in Branyan with a single, though Roberts was thrown out trying to reach second-base. Branyan, Gerardo Parra and Abreu each had two hits for the Diamondbacks, but Abreu was also caught stealing. Depending on whether or not the team stats have been updated, that might mean we now have more failures than successes in that department this spring...

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