A plethora of baseball to discuss with the D-backs playing two games, and we're also getting under way in the World Baseball Classic as far as Team America are concerned. Let's begin at Salt River Fields, since that's where I'm writing. This half of the Diamondbacks roster played a good game against a Rockies line-up that looked not far off full strength, but came up just short, losing by the margin of 4-3. Josh Collmenter started for Arizona, and had a good outing, allowing two runs over four innings on four hits; one of those hits, which came around to score, was an infield squibber by the Colorado catcher, so was certainly unlucky for Josh, He walked none and struck out one.
Brad Ziegler followed with a typically Ziegleresque inning [is that a word? It certainly should be. Especially if I'm playing Scrabble], consisting of a strikeout and two groundouts, but Matt Reynolds struggled, giving up three hits which led to a pair of Rockies runs. Only one of those hits was to a left-hander, admittedly, but one left the park, as Dexter Fowler took the very first pitch of the inning and deposited it onto the grass in left-field. Eddie Bonine had a perfect seventh, which was so quick he was sent out for the eighth. That didn't go quite as well, with two hits and a walk, but he was helped by The Player Formerly Known As Good Wheeler, TOOTBLANing his way into a pick-off.
Breland Almadova may only have been playing because of injuries, WBC absences and the split-squad game, but he certainly made the most of his opportunity, reaching base safely three times, with a pair of hits and a walk, and also stealing a base. Nick Ahmed also took advantage of a surprise start, being a later replacement for Aaron Hill, who was still feeling under the weather with a stomach bug. Ahmed had three hits, including a triple, and he scored two runs, capitalizing alertly on a wild pitch in the fifth and a passed ball in the seventh to do so. However, after reaching the third with one out in the ninth, representing the tying run, he was stranded there.
The rest of the offense saw Kila Ka`aihue get a hit and a walk, though his defense did look pretty shaky at first, on at least one occasion. Rod Barajas drove in our first run, with a second-inning double, and there was a decent K:BB ratio of 7:4. We had our chances, we just couldn't do an awful lot with them, Arizona going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
On the other side of the valley, the Mariners were the opponents for the balance of the roster. Things went just a little better there, with Arizona coming out on top of extremely-rich starter Felix Hernandez and Seattle, by a 5-4 margin. Eric Hinske got the Diamondbacks on the board first, homering off Hernandez with one out in the second, and it was another long-ball that did almost all the rest of the damage,. Walks to Paul Goldschmidt and Alfredo Marte were followed by Mark Teahen going long, though King Felix had departed the mound for the start of that inning. Goldschmidt completed the scoring with an RBI single in the fifth: his OBP this spring is still well above .500.
That made the score 5-1 to Arizona, and Patrick Corbin had a good outing on the mound for us. He allowed one run over four innings, on four hits and no walks, with a pair of strikeouts. One of those came on a 95 mph fastball that Kendry Morales took for a called strike in the first, and it took Corbin only five pitches to get through the second inning. Corbin had maybe lost a step or two by the fourth inning, when he gave up a run on two hits, with nothing above 93 mph, but the outing still brought his spring ERA down to 4.50, and he has looked solid in all but one of his Cactus League appearances.
Chase Anderson entered the game to replace Corbin in the fifth, and immediately hit trouble. He allowed hits to each of the first three batters, and two runs scored before he recorded an out. However, he settled down thereafter, giving up one hit, no walks and three strikeouts over the rest of his three innings. Tony Sipp worked a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout, but Eric Smith made things interesting with two outs in the ninth and a two-run lead. Before he finally closed things out, he'd allowed a double, thrown a wild pitch, and suffered a run-scoring error that put the tying run on base.
Ollie Linton, coming in as a mid-inning replacement for Adam Eaton, won the "Making the most of his chance" award in this contest, going 2-for-2, to become the only Diamondback here with a multi-hit afternoon. However, he also provided our Daily TOOTBLAN being picked off-base. Teahen walked in addition to his bomb, but this half of the Arizona roster did strike out 13 times on the days, compared to five walks. Tomorrow, it's just the one game - an evening contest against the Brewers at Salt River Fields, with Randall Delgado and Charles Brewer anchoring the pitching staff for that one.