USA TODAY Sports
It wasn't a good day for either Diamondbacks starting pitcher today. Ian Kennedy left the game after being hit on the leg, and Tyler Skaggs allowed five runs in less than three innings.
We should probably start at the end, as the Diamondbacks managed to make the score a great deal more respectable than it was in garbage time. Through eight innings, the board showed 10-1 in favor of San Diego: after managing only four hits over the eight frames, we almost doubled the tally - and a great deal more productively - in the ninth. Arizona scored five times there to redress the balance, at least somewhat. Rossmel Perez drove in the first run, Didi Gregorius got his first home-run as a Diamondback with a three-run shot, and a wild pitch brought home another tally for the visiting team.
That was in sharp contrast to the early progress, as we were one-hit by Tyson Ross over 5.1 innings. Who the hell is Tyson Ross? Turns out he came from the A's to the Padres in a trade last November. Hope we don't see him again. Because all we could manage today was a double to lead off the fourth inning by Gerardo Parra - which was, inevitably, stranded there. Parra also drove in our only run before the ninth, with a homer, and walked, continuing his torrid pace since coming back from the WBC. All three games in which he has played have been multi-hit ones, Parra going 6-for-8 with two doubles, two homers and five runs driven in.
Gregorius went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs driven in. Admittedly, it's only spring training, an extremely small sample size applies and this afternoon's output came later on, against the Padres' lesser pitchers. But he's 5-for-12 with a pair of home-runs so far. That's encouraging for someone who only turned 23 last month and whose offense was often described disparagingly, to the extent of him being "no-hit". Will it play once the Cactus League games become more serious? That's obviously a huge question, but the very early signs are... Well, let's go with "not hopeless," and leave it at that.
Our pitching today, on the other hand? Ian Kennedy took the mound first, and immediately allowed a lead-off double, which came around to score on a sacrifice fly. He did settle down, retiring eight of the next nine batters faced after the double, and was helped by Rod Barajas throwing out a runner. [Yes, Virginia: this apparently did happen. I'm waiting until I see video of this remarkable feat before I can fully commit to believing it, however] The fourth was not so good. Walk, two-run homer, solo homer, and then a smash back to the mound that caught Kennedy on the leg. He left the game with a contusion below the knee, but it's not considered to be serious.
Tyler Skaggs came in to replace him, tidied up the fourth, and posted a zero in the fifth, stranding a runner at third after Martin Prado threw the ball away on a bunt, for a two-base error. He did allow a run in the sixth, on back-to-back doubles, but it was the seventh where things really fell apart for Skaggs. There, he faced five batters, and walked four of them: Bo Schultz came in to bail him out, but after getting a strikeout promptly gave up a grand-slam. That bloated Skaggs's final line to 2.2 innings, three hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Only two of the five runs allowed were earned, thanks to Perez dropping a foul pop-up earlier, but still: not a good day for his fifth starter chances.
J.J. Putz worked a scoreless eighth for Arizona, but it was not a good day for the pitching, who allowed double-digits for the first time since the 14-6 pounding at the hands of the Reds on February 27. More walks (six) than strikeouts (five), plus three home-runs allowed, though they weren't helped by the errors. Nor was the offense helped by their base-running: A.J. Pollock got himself picked off first, and Adam Eaton was caught stealing, though Parra was successful in this department. But outside of Parra, there wasn't much to cheer about this afternoon, in front of an 8,526 crowd at Peoria.
Tomorrow, sees a split-squad day for us, with half the team being lucky enough to head down the I-10 to Tucson for a charity game against the Dodgers, with Patrick Corbin the tentative starter there. The other half get to stay at Salt River Fields, celebrate St. Patrick's Day and
drink heavily face the Mariners. I think it's Trevor Cahill who is scheduled for that one.