Yesterday, the Diamondbacks pitchers were feeling in a generous mood, handing out eight walks to the A's hitters - Oakland took full advantage on their way to an easy victory. Today, mostly thanks to Jarrod Parker, the A's pitchers were even more generous, walking nine Arizona batters. However, we weren't able to convert those into runs with quite the same efficiency, and a nice late-inning comeback came to an unfortunate end when the tying run was picked off first base, one out before the end of the ninth inning. Rubbing salt into the wound, former Diamondback and first-round draft pick Parker got the W at Phoenix Muni.
You can't normally expect to get away with walking seven batters in 3.2 innings, as Jarrod Parker did today. Indeed, it's not the kind of outing you see often in the regular season at all. Indeed, over the past three years, only seven starters have walked that many in less than four innings: curiously, most of those have an Arizona connection, as they include Dustin Nippert, Randy Johnson and Dontrelle Willis, who managed it no less than three times, including this start for the D-backs against the Yankees. Since the franchise came into being, only ten pitchers have done in games their team have won, though none got the decision, of course.
But spring training is a good deal more forgiving, and the Arizona hitters were particularly so this afternoon. For instance, two on, one out in the second? Lyle Overbay grounds into a double-play. Justin Upton repeated that inning-ending medicine in the next frame, after Gerardo Parra had the only Diamondback hit with a runner in scoring position, to get Arizona onto the board. And three more walks in the fourth led merely to an RBI ground-out off the bat of Ryan Roberts. That was it until the eighth, when Cody Ransom homered, a two-run shot, and Paul Goldschmidt went yard with one out in the ninth to bring us within one.
Adam Eaton then singled, to put the tying run on base for Arizona, and then got picked off. I suspect the disgusted Tweet which followed was not unrelated:
Whoever said focus on the process and not the result...ugh...I don't know whether to slap or hug em..— Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) March 19, 2012
Can only sympathize, as John McDonald grounded out harmless to send Arizona to back-to-back defeats against Oakland, though at least this one was a little closer than yesterday's meltdown. Josh Collmenter did struggle again, and in terms of spring results, he's not doing much to justify Kirk Gibson's complete confidence in him being a member of the 2012 rotation. Three starts in, probably half way through his pre-season outings, and Collmenter's ERA is a brisk 14.14, with opponents hitting him at a .387 clip. Wade Miley followed, allowing a lead-off home-run to Brandon Allen but then settling down, and his spring ERA of 3.60 is a good deal more impressive.
After the game, Collmenter blamed his lack of control. "I didn't make some pitches when I needed to. Just pitches up instead of down in the zone. When I'm throwing down in the zone my other stuff plays off of that so that's really the big key for me and I haven't been able to do that consistently... "I'm still making pitches. It's just a matter of executing them over and over again. It's something I will work on in the bullpen session and take it into next time." Gibson wasn't concerned "We shut him down so he's a little behind. He'll be fine... It seemed like maybe he didn't have his fastball release today. It's something we'll get on this next session and get him out front a little more."
Brad Ziegler and Mike Zagurski tidied things up and kept things close for the D-backs, but the problem was more the offensive struggles, Gibson saying afterward: "We've got to get better in our approach. We get chances we need to work on our approach. We need to hit better pitches. You hit their pitches you get yourself in trouble." Eaton had a couple of hits - he has five hits in his last 10 at-bats, with two triples and a double - and Goldschmidt reached base safely twice, on a hit and a walk.
Parker found himself sent to Triple-A after the game, so there's that. Brisk enough GDT, at almost 150 comments - not bad, given we were reliant on dodgy audio and an even more flaky Gameday feed. Bcawz beat out myself and txzona, with a special shout-out to rookie grimmy01, who came in fourth in their first Gameday Thread. Also taking part this afternoon were: Clefo, diamondfacts, PR151, LiamNeeson, hotclaws, snakecharmer, blue bulldog, SongBird, SenSurround and 4 Corners Fan.
Oh, well. Tomorrow's another day. And not just another day, because it's Bauerday!!! What, fomenting Bauermania? Guilty as charged, m;lud. He and Patrick Corbin will be starting against the Giants at SRF tomorrow, with the roles reversed. That means Bauer will get to make the start, with Corbin in the bullpen, throwing eleven billion pitches in a simulated game. What? That was just Bauer? Sheesh. Pitchers these days... Anyway, should be fun to see two of our top prospects going against major-league hitters, so join us for that one.