USA Today Sports
It's down to two, but there can be only one: fifth starter, that is. We saw Patrick Corbin yesterday; today, it was time for Randall Delgado to strut his stuff. Could he keep up?
- Beating of the Dodgers: check
- On consecutive days: double check
- Raising of the D-backs spring record to .500: check
- Irritating the whiny Vin Scully Twidiot: check
Yep, a thoroughly satisfactory afternoon at Chase, ending a day which saw the field for the fifth starter's spot both shrink in number, and perhaps pulled a little closer. For, while Randall Delgado's line was respectable rather than impressive - two runs over five innings on six hits - it seems to have been one of those days where the pitcher was better than his numbers might indicate. Looks like two of those hits were fortuitous infield squibbers, which contributed to one of the runs - and, it appears, the runner there should have been thrown out at the plate too, if Montero had held on to a throw to the plate.
It leaves the two contenders for the fifth spot with the following spring lines:
Corbin: 14.2 IP, 20 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 15 K, 3.68 ERA
Delgado: 12 IP, 18 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5.25 ERA
I think it's probably still advantage Corbin, with two starts likely left for each man, but Delgado's last couple of outings have been distinctly more impressive: as Battle Moses pointed out on Twitter, the team could go with him having more major-league experience.. As the de facto sixth starter, whoever loses is almost certainly going to see action this year anyway.
After Delgado, Matt Reynolds took over for an extended outing, throwing two innings, and didn't do much to impress: he allowed four hits and a run, didn't strike out any of the nine batters he faced, and as we'll see, was bailed out from a worse afternoon by his defense. It was an all-lefty bullpen, as the eighth and ninth innings were pitched by fellow left-handers Tony Sipp and Joe Paterson respectively, who each put up a zero on one hit. While Paterson probably hasn't done enough to replace either alternative, we saw from his experience last year, how short a leash can be for left-handed relievers (2.2 innings, in his case), so Reynolds needs to improve from his current 8.59 ERA.
We were actually outhit by the Dodgers, 12-11, and they had far more chances with runners in scoring position, but didn't do as much with them. Adam Eaton went 2-for-2, but his afternoon ended after the RBI triple in the third. Apparently, Gibson said he just decided to give Spanky the rest of the day off, but those who were there said Eaton left the field alongside Ken Crenshaw, which doesn't seem like the normal method of delivering a, "Well done, hit the showers" message. Still, being always the optimist, I'm prepared to believe he's fine, until solid information proves otherwise.
The other nine hits came from nine different people, but it's worth noting Paul Goldschmidt got his first home-run of the 2013 season. It has been a while coming, but knew it'd show up eventually. A good day on defense, with Eaton catching Andre Ethier jogging slowly back to first on a fly ball and nailing him there, Seems like Ethier forgot history, and consequently was doomed to repeat it. But that probably wasn't even the best play of the afternoon, as we have an early contender for Diamondbacks play of the year. It may only be spring training, but check out Evan Marzilli's diving catch in the sixth inning, which certainly saved a run, given there were two outs and a runner on second.
[The embedding is being a bit flaky, so if you can't get the above to play, here's the link]
Pitcher Reynolds needs to buy Mr. Marzilli a steak dinner tonight, I think. Three wins in a row for the D-backs pulls us up to a record of 11-11 in Cactus League play, with two ties and one rain-out. Looks like an all PHX-LA sportsfest today, I believe it's Coyotes-Kings and Suns-Lakers tonight too, so hopefully this will set the tone for an Arizona sweep. Tomorrow, it's back to Salt River Fields and - goddamn, them again? - the Padres, for the third time in four days. It's almost like the old days in Tucson, when it seemed we'd play no-one but the Rockies and White Sox for weeks at a time. Not sure who'll pitch for us, might be Josh Collmenter, looking back at the calendar.
Netherilands vs. the Dominican Republic kicks off shortly too, so please feel free to chat about that game as it progresses.