They say, if you want to win, you have to avoid letting your opponents put up a crooked number. This afternoon in Surprise, the Diamondbacks did that, mostly be letting the Royals plow through crooked numbers and on back to the straight ones.
After the first three men went down in order, there was probably one at-bat this afternoon where the Diamondbacks had a chance of making this a contest. They had clawed their way back from a five-run deficit, to pull within one, and they had Rod Barajas, representing the tying run, on third-based, with only one out in the fourth. However, John McDonald swung and missed entirely three consecutive change-ups and Adam Eaton grounded out, stranding the runner at third. We sent one batter over the minimum to the plate over the last five and two-third innings. Barajas had a pair of hits, DH Mark Teahen a hit and a walk, and Paul Goldschmidt drew two free passes.
Meanwhile, the Royals averaged two runs per inning: the sixteen allowed hasn't been surpassed by the opposition in a spring game since the infamous 24-9 drubbing (also, coincidentally, at the hands of the Royals) in March 2010, where Brian Anderson hit for the cycle by the middle of the fourth inning, and Arizona trailed by twenty-one runs at one point. Gerardo Parra is the only survivor in the organization from that Diamondbacks team, though Blaine Boyer, who allowed three runs in his inning of work, appeared in this afternoon's contest, for the Royals, pitching a perfect seventh. Conversely, Kila Ka'aihue had two hits and three RBI for Kansas City on the previous occasion.
The struggles of our pitchers began early, with Randall Delgado not exactly making a good impression, in his debut as a Diamondback. After Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin, his rivals for the last rotation spot, had shown their stuff, Delgado pretty much stalled his engine on the grid. He gave up hits to five consecutive Royals' hitters after retiring the first batter faced, and it doesn't seem like they were bloops and seeing-eye singles either. The words "line drive" and "sharp line drive" appeared rather too often on Gameday for comfort, even though it was his first game of spring training. He allowed six hits in his single inning, leading to five runs, all but one earned.
The rest of the pitching was a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good? Joe Paterson - whatever happened to him - pitched a clean second inning. Eric Smith did the same in the sixth. And Euby de la Rosa struck out two in his hitless seventh. The bad? Prospect Chase Anderson looked pretty good in his first frame, as txzona pointed out, touching 94 mph (though that was according to Gameday, so take some salt with that). His second? Four runs allowed, on four hits and a walk. The part of Aaron Harang was played by Steve Garrison, who isn't even a non-roster invitee as far as I can tell. Garrison gave up a grand-slam and solo homer in the fifth.
This was definitely the kind of game you forget, and write off by muttering "It's only spring training" under your breath. In addition to the woeful pitching, there were errors by Gerardo Parra and Matt Davidson, and it seems by reports that some of the Royals' hits could just as easily have been scored as Diamondbacks errors. Willie Bloomquist got his first TOOTBLAN of the year, challenging the arm of Frenchie and trying to stretch a single into a double, with predictable results. About the only good news to come from this one, was that the late scratching of Miguel Montero with a splinter in his thumb doesn't appear serious:
I'm good guys it was little inflammation nothing serious !!! I hope to play tomorrow— miguel montero (@miggymont26) February 25, 2013
Tomorrow is a split-squad game. Half the squad will stay at Salt River Fields to take on the A's, and half will travel to Tempe Diablo and face the Angels. I believe the scheduled starting pitchers are Josh Collmenter and David Holmberg respectively, but I'm not certain. The latter game is also scheduled to be on MLB Network, with what looks like an hour's delay, though I see the dreaded phrase "local blackouts apply". Not sure if that's aimed more at the Angels or not, but if so, we'll probably run the gameday thread off the TV version of the gane, so no spoilers by request, please!