You might be forgiven for thinking that you were at the wrong sport this afternoon at Salt River Fields, as Arizona and Milwaukee played to a scoreless tie. It apparently sapped both teams so much, they couldn't even be bothered to play the traditional extra Cactus League inning, despite another SRF record crowd, this time of 12,579 - four more than the previous high. Daniel Hudson and a trio of Diamondbacks relievers held the Brewers to five hits, but the offense were equally as unproductive, despite a bevy of chances.
The 0-0 tie is not something you see these days in major-league baseball, where games will be played to a finish, pretty much regardless of the situation. This wasn't necessarily always the case. The last 0-0 tie I could find happened at the end of the 1965 season when the Phillies and Mets went scoreless for 18 innings in the nightcap of a Saturday double-header. The game was called, I suspect largely because the teams were scheduled for another double-header on the Sunday; probably wise, since one of those went 13 frames, meaning over those two days, the clubs played a total of 49 innings against each other.
Probably fortunately, nothing quite so marathonesque took place today. However, there were a number of good pitching performances for D-backs' fans to appreciate, particularly Hudson. He lowered his spring ERA to 2.57 with five shutout innings. He allowed two hits, both singles, and a walk while striking out four. Hudson has been getting stronger as he goes: that ERA includes his first outing where he allowed three runs in two innings. Since then, his numbers have been stellar: over three outings, it sits at the following impressive line:
Hudson: 12 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, 1.50 ERA
The rest of the Arizona arms in afternoon action, were almost as astounding. David Hernandez kept his numbers moving the right direction with a scoreless sixth, on a hit and a strikeout - he has adjusted his position on the rubber this spring, and likes the new location. Charles Brewer followed with two zeroes of his own, dropping the right-hander's spring ERA to 1.29. And Jensen Lewis finished off the shut-out with a perfect ninth, which puts him in the :five scoreless spring innings" club, alongside founder member Brett Lorin. It's certainly a marked contrast for Lewis to last spring, where he gave up 13 hits in 5.2 innings while with Cleveland and had an ERA close to 16.
Unfortunately, the offense were unable to take advantage of a number of opportunities, going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They did enjoy some success against the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo, though most of the seven hits he allowed were groundballs that found their way through the infield, according to reports. The only extra-base hit was by Aaron Hill, leading off the fourth, and he suffered exactly the same fate as all twelve Arizona base-runners this afternoon: stranded on the base-paths.
Probably our best chance came in the third. Singles by Gerardo Parra and Geoff Blum put men on the corners for the home team with one out, but Lyle Overbay grounded into a double-play and the chance evaporated. If it seems like we've been doing a lot of that... It's because we have. No team in the Cactus League has grounded into more double plays than the Diamondbacks thus far. There was another twin killing in the eighth, yesterday's hero A.J. Pollock lining into one that saw Ryan LaPensee doubled off second base. Hill had two hits and a walk, with Blum and Chris Young each getting a couple of knocks.
Exactly 200 - that's two 0-0, appropriately enough - comments in the Gameday Thread, which included discussion of the Nationals' apparent ongoing interest in our outfielders. Bcawz led all posters with 63 comments, ahead of SongBird and txzona. Also taking part: diamondfacts, Clefo, grimmy01, azshadowwalker, chubias, NASCARbernet, LiamNeeson, Jim McLennan, PR151, blank_38, Shawnwck and asteroid. Tomorrow's an off-day for Arizona, so we'll see what non-game activities we can find to amuse you.