PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 11: Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 11, 2012 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The phrase "curate's egg" is used to mean something that's a mix of good and bad - originally, the insinuation was that, as a whole, it was worthless due to the bad, but that aspect has largely been lost, and it's the simpler meaning that it can be applied to today's game. The good would include a) the fact that we won, b) three really good innings from Daniel Hudson, and c) coming back from three runs down. The bad would mostly be Craig Breslow and Brad Ziegler, who each allowed three hits and three runs in an inning apiece, not what you expect from those we hope to be key cogs in our bullpen.
Still, it remains early days, and even if this one would count as a defeat at the five-inning i.e. normal starter mark, the final score does improve Arizona's Cactus League record to 3-5-1.
Daniel Hudson was, literally, perfect. He faced nine Padres and retired them all, three by strikeout and it only took him 30 pitches to get through those three innings, with only nine balls. Definitely a huge improvement on his first outing, where he allowed four hints and three runs in two frames. He said afterward that the difference was better command, especially on the inside part of the plate. "I was getting it in there pretty good. Not necessarily for strikes, but close enough to where I was making them aware that I was hitting that spot today."
And he left with a 3-0 lead, as the Diamondbacks, for once, took it out on the opposition's starting pitcher, rather than the other way around. Tim Stauffer was tagged for five hits, a walk and three earned runs without recording an out in the third, the big blow a two-run shot coming off the bat of Homerin' Henry Blanco. It could perhaps even have been more, but for Lyle Overbay grounding into a double-play with the bases loaded, allowing San Diego to escape the third without further damage.
That turned out to be a bit of a turning point, as it was the Padres' turn to tee off, on the principle of "anyone but Hudson". Breslow came in, and the first four batters suddenly remembered how to play the game, all reaching base, including a two-run homer of their own, off the bat of former D-back Orlando Hudson. Another RBI made it a tied game, and things got no better for Ziegler in the fifth. He got the first two outs easily enough, but it took him five attempts to get that pesky third out, and three more San Diego runners crossed the plate before he did so. It had gone from 3-0 to 3-6 in two innings, and the resultant sighing was long and hard...
The middle innings were scoreless for both sides, with Jason Lane and Charlie Brewer each allowing a hit in their inning of work, but posting a zero. The eighth saw another well-known face now clad in the Padres' colors, with Micah Owings pitching for them. He was charged with two runs, to bring Arizona within striking distance, though both runs were unearned, Arizona's leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock reaching on an error by the San Diego short-stop. Brett Lorin pitched a perfect bottom half for us, setting the stage for another patented Diamondbacks comeback.
After the first out, there were back-to-back singles by Marc Krauss and Ryan Wheeler were followed by a walk to Adam Eaton, and another single, from Pollock, tied the game up. The Padres pitcher then uncorked a wild pitch, scored not only Good Wheeler, but because the "pitcher pouts and doesn’t field home", according to NASCAR, Eaton was able to score all the way from second, which must have pleased Gibby. That insurance run proved crucial, as Jonathan Albaladejo once again saw his first pitch leave the park, but he recovered after putting the tying run in scoring position with one out, and notched the save.
Kirk Gibson, however, remained unimpressed with the team's play overall, spring training or not.
"We haven't played very well. We just haven't had good at-bats, I'll just leave it at that. The other teams have out executed us: pitching, hitting, everything. So we certainly have room for improvement... We know that if we don't play well in the spring it doesn't mean anything, yet to me we do want to play good, period. You always want to play good. People are coming out to see us play good, we want to play well."
And tomorrow, that would be me and Mrs. SnakePit coming out to Goodyear to see the Diamondbacks play good, and the game will also be on television, so you can keep an eye out for us there. Joe Saunders starts for Arizona, with Zach Kroenke, Joe Martinez, and Bryan Shaw perhaps also taking the mound. A lightish thread, NASCARbernet and txzona leading the way, with an appropriate British tie for third between myself and hotclaws. Also taking part were: shoewizard, Bryn21, 4 Corners Fan, blue bulldog, Dan Strittmatter, SongBird, imstillhungry95, PR151, kishi and diamondfacts.