"This is why you always check ticketstub and stubhub for tickets" - blank_38
While the pitching was very good tonight, Tyler Skaggs and Ian Kennedy each throwing three shutout innings, the first run allowed by Brad Ziegler this year proved crucial. The D-backs managed only four hits, and were blanked by Mexico at Salt River Fields.
Ian Kennedy was the starter for the Diamondbacks, and had a solid outing, posting three shutout innings on two hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. Admittedly, he got some significant help from the Mexicans, who came down with a case of Montezuma's Revenge i.e. a bad case of the runs. After putting two on with one out in the third, they managed to contrive a play I'd not seen before, managing to get both runners picked off on the same play. Kennedy got the lead-runner off second, and after he was tagged, Cliff Pennington alertly flipped the ball to John McDonald, who tagged the trail runner as he tried to advance from first. Double TOOTBLAN?
However, the Diamondbacks hitters were having no more success against the Mexican pitchers - and there was a different one of those every inning. Through five innings, Arizona had managed only a single hit; A.J. Pollock singled in the second. There were some walks, but also an ocelot of strikeouts: seven of the first 11 outs recorded by Arizona, came as a result of the K, 12 in total, and about three-quarters of those were caught looking. Paul Goldschmidt had a particularly bad evening: while he did walk in the first, he then struck out his next two at-bats, failed to dig out throws to first on a couple of occasions, and committed an error.
After a scoreless fourth by Putz, the fifth brought in Brad Ziegler, who did something he hadn't done this spring - allowed a ball to be hit to the outfield. In fact, two of them, sandwiching a ground-out that advanced the runner to second, so the latter one resulted in the deadlock being broken, Mexico taking the lead 1-0. After that, the visiting team loaded the bases thanks to a couple of gaffes by the Arizona infield: Cliff Pennington tripped over his own feet trying to shovel the ball to second, and on the next batter, Goldschmidt's throw down to second hit the runner in the back. Bases loaded, one out: Ziegler calmly generated his third double-play ball: this one was safely converted.
Tyler Skaggs came in and initially had his best outing of the spring, working two scoreless innings, with no walks, three strikeouts and just the one hit. That was over the head of Tony Campana, with the ball then ballooning back over his head off the wall, and turning into a triple. However, Skaggs responded in fine style, striking out the next two batters to strand the runner there. The third was trickier, with a pair of singles and a walk, to load them up with one out: a couple of foul-outs kept it a one-run game. Can't complain about a final line of 3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 R - Nick Piecoro reports that Skaggs's fastball was getting there at up to 94 mph.
The offense was still struggling: Pennington singled to lead off the sixth, but that was followed with three consecutive looking K's. Alfredo Marte got the third hit of the night, doubling to the wall in right-center with one out in the eighth. Mark Teahen followed with a walk, but Josh Wilson struck out, and Nick Ahmed grounded out. Charles Brewer worked a scoreless ninth on a couple of hits, helped by another MexiTOOTBLAN, on a failed squeeze play. Tony Campana singled with one out, and it was fun to see him on the basepaths, though with a left-hander on the mound, it was always going to be tough, and he was out on a force.
Tuffy Gosewisch got into one, but it dies in the cool evening air and found the glove of the Mexican left-fielder to end a disappointing night for the Arizona offense. Still, the pitching was definitely a positive, with Kennedy and Skaggs both looking good. A fun GDT too, with 370 comments: soco cracked three figures, Clefo fell just short, and I was in 3rd. Also present: AzDbackfanInDc, BattleMoses, Bryan J. Boltik, Dallas D'Back Fan, DbackCardsFan, GuruB, John Baragona, PR151, blank_38, deerhaven, imstillhungry95, mrssoco, snakecharmer and txzona. It's back to Cactus League action tomorrow, afternoon with the Royals (FRENCHIE!) coming to Talking Stick.