Tyler Skaggs was better dead than Red this afternoon. - Rich Pilling
Who the heck is Conrad Flynn? He was the man brought in by the Diamondbacks to pitch the ninth inning and protect a flimsy one-run lead against the Reds in Goodyear this afternoon. Can he save it? Yes, he can!
Flynn was originally a Mariners pick out of high-school in 2007, but didn't sign with them. He went to Tulane instead, but wasn't drafted - he signed with the D-backs in June 2011. He had an interesting season last year, appearing at A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A levels, startling 11 games in all, and appearing in another 12 out of the bullpen. The results were a bit mixed - a 5.89 ERA overall - but given he probably spent as much time packing his bags as practicing his pitches, I guess we should cut him some slack. DAn reported on his emergency April start for Reno. So, now you know...
Overall,. it was probably close to the best pitched game by the Diamondbacks this year. While the five runs allowed was more than in the 9-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday, two of the runs this afternoon were unearned. A rare John McDonald gaffe in the second inning allowed Cincinnati to get on the board, and a two-base error by Brad Snyder in the seventh inning led to another run. Paul Goldschmidt also committed an error and, while we're growling grumpily about things we'd rather not see, Gerardo Parra was responsible for the Diamondbacks daily TOOTBLAN, being thrown out stealing second in the fifth inning.
It was Ian Kennedy's first start of the Cactus League, and it seemed to go reasonably well. The unearned run, courtesy of McDonald, was the only damage he sustained in two innings, as he gave up two hits and walked none. Four of his six outs came on the ground, with one fly ball and a strikeout. He threw a total of 34 pitches, 20 for strikes. However, Tyler Skaggs' spring struggles continued, as he was unable to get throw the third, facing seven better and retiring only two - he allowed three hits and two walks. That bring his spring line to an unimpressive seven hits over 2.1 IP, resulting in seven runs, five earned. That #5 spot seems to be receding from his grasp.
There was better work from Eric Smith, who struck out three of the five batters he faced, in 1.1 hitless innings, and Charles Brewer, who worked three frames, scattering three hits and a walk, with one strikeout and an unearned run to show for it. He has yet to allow an earned run in five spring frames. The eighth and ninth innings were worked by Eury de la Rosa and Flynn: each put two men on base, but managed to strand the tying run on second-base on both occasions. The final tally for the Arizona pitching staff today was ten hits and five walks, with seven strikeouts, a wild-pitch, a balk (both by Skaggs) and a hit batter.
The offense also managed ten hits, and it was a good day for Willie Bloomquist and Gerardo Parra, who combined to go 6-for-7, with two runs scored and four driven in. Bloomquist's spring average is up to .538, having gone 7-for-13 so far, and Parra isn't far behind, hitting .417 (5-for-12). They got things started early for the Diamondbacks, Bloomquist doubling and Parra driving him in with a single; the same pair were involved in the fifth, as back to back run-scoring singles helped Arizona recover from 4-1 down. Parra's third RBI single of the day gave us the lead in the seventh, and Goldschmidt drove in the sixth and final run, with another single immediately after that.
The win brings the Diamondbacks' record back to .500, with three wins, three defeats and a tie. Tomorrow, as the calendar turns to March, we face the Cubs at Hohokam for the last time, because they'll be moving to their shiny new stadium in 2014. Trevor Cahill gets the start for Arizona, with Patrick Corbin also scheduled to pitch, and build on his very solid first appearance, where he struck out four over two innings.