The first order of business was Wade Miley's final start, which was set to determine whether or not he was able to take his scheduled spot in the rotation - the fourth game of the season, next Friday, in Milwaukee. Hard to say whether this afternoon's outing counts as "able" or not. Health doesn't seem to be a particular question, as Miley went six innings and threw just shy of a hundred pitches, which is where you'd want to be before the season starts. But in terms of effectiveness? Nine hits, two walks and four runs, all earned, stands in sharp contrast - emphasis on "sharp" - to, say, Patrick Corbin's outing last night.
Still, all indications are that he will pitch against the Brewers, though there's no firm indication as yet, whether it will be as indicated above - there's a chance he and Corbin (announced as our fifth starter a little while ago) could flip-flop spots and let Miley work on Saturday, to give him a whole week between outings. It hasn't been the best of springs for Miley, between the dead arm issue and general ineffectiveness. He ends spring with 13.1 innings of "official" work, a 7.43 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 8:6. For a pitcher whose control is normally excellent - his walk rate last year was about one every 5.3 innings, that was definitely underwhelming.
Randall Delgado followed, and hammered the final nail into his candidature for an Opening Day rotation spot. He allowed three hits and two walks, without a strikeout, in his 2.1 inning stint, and was charged with three runs, all earned, boosting his pre-season ERA to 7.45. Admittedly, he wasn't helped by Heath Bell allowing both runners he inherited to score, as well as two more of his own, as four of the six batters Bell faced got hits, with his ERA ending spring slightly north of eight. Still, better to have this kind of pitching now, rather than in the coming months. Am I right? I said: AM I RIGHT? Thank you.
Meanwhile, our offense seemed already to be looking toward Monday's more important contest. At least, I certainly hope that's the case, because there is no legitimate reason why we should be one-hit over six innings by Homer Bailey, a pitcher who, though he enjoyed a good 2012., has a career ERA+ of 93. He struck out seven and walked one Diamondback, and the only runner to pass first base was Cliff Pennington, who got the only hit off Bailey with one out in the third inning, and was then bunted over by Miley, to be stranded there. The other five innings. Arizona went down in order.
We didn't do much better against the Reds bullpen, though we actually put the first two men on base in the ninth inning, on singles by Jake Lamb and Eric Hinske. However, a foul out to the catcher by Eric Chavez, then a Wil Nieves double-play, completed the shutout. Hopefully, it'll be the last time we see one of these at Chase for a good while. Having managed one run in 18 innings here over the past couple of days, I trust our offense will show up here soon, apparently being stuck on the I-10 from Salt River Fields. Here's to the next recap I do being a good deal more positive, in both tone and content - for it's next stop, Opening Day!