This afternoon's Gameday tidbit, showcasing the Cubs' use of cloning technology.
While there may be issues with the spring training numbers put up by #3-5 in the Diamondbacks rotation, the front two appear to be progressing serenely towards their starts against the Giants in a week or two. Today, it was Ian Kennedy making his penultimate appearance before Opening Day at Chase, and he became the first Arizona starter to go seven innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks, and we beat a split-squad from the north side of Chicago by the score of 3-2.From the Diamondbacks' side at least, this could well have been seen as a blueprint for Opening Day in a number of ways. In both positions and batting order, the starting line-up has the feeling of close proximity to what Kirk Gibson will run out there a week Friday, with the possible exception of Ryan Roberts replacing Geoff Blum. The frequency with which Willie Bloomquist is at the top of the order suggests that we're going to see him there, even if neither his career numbers (on-base percentage of .317, both last year and lifetime) nor his spring ones (11-for-49 with one walk, for a .216 OBP) make him an apparently good candidate.
As GuruB pointed out in the Gameday Thread, the pitching, too, had the feel of what we hope to see in the regular season. Kennedy went seven strong, turns the lead over to Takashi Saito, who holds it for the next frame, before J.J. Putz comes in and nails the door with a 1-2-3 ninth. The middle part of this equation was a little less impressive than that sentence made it sound, as Saito struggled again. He allowed two hits, hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch, putting the tying run in scoring position before he settled down and got a couple of groundouts to end the thread. He was pitching on back-to-back days for the first time, so we may want to avoid that when it counts.
I am happy to report that this afternoon's game at Salt River Fields was apparently entirely free of a) bees, and b) Diamondbacks' double-plays. The home team got on the board quickly, with some two-out work in the bottom of the first, when Justin Upton doubled, and Miguel Montero singled him across the plate. A Chris Young walk and Jason Kubel single then extended the inning, but Miggy was out at home on the throw. Back-to-back doubles by Aaron Hill and Upton extended the margin in the bottom of the third, and then Paul Goldschmidt smacked his third homer of spring, a solo shot with one out in the fourth.
Overall, as well as Upton's two doubles, which brought his Cactus League average up to exactly .300, Montero also had a couple of hits and is batting .303 in the preseason. A lightly-trafficked GDT this afternoon - should be more tomorrow afternoon, with that game being on Fox Sports Arizona. Bcawz pipped me by the odd comment in 49, with grimmy01 edging Clefo for third-place. Also taking part: NASCARbernet, txzona, Baja F1, PR151, Gildo, Bauer47, and GuruB. We'll be back in GDT action tomorrow afternoon, for that televisual treat, as Daniel Hudson starts for us against the Rockies.