Though, to be honest, if we'd won this won, it would have been a rather empty and meaningless victory, dependent entirely on our B-squad beating up on the Cubs B-squad. For Arizona trailed 6-0 in the middle of the sixth inning, and only three of our dozen hits this afternoon came off the bats of those who started the game for us. Bronson Arroyo got his work in, but Brad Ziegler was torched for four runs and retired only one of six batters faced. With his spring ERA finishing at a meaty 16.20, this is one of those occasions where we definitely hope bad numbers are indeed totally meaningless, rather than a sign of some underlying issue.
Arroyo ended his day after 4.2 innings, having thrown 77 pitches, 52 for strikes. Bronson scattered six hits and a walk, with a pair of K's, but you'd be pushed to suggest he was being hit hard by the Cubs. He was charged with two runs, both earned, and appears to be ready for action next Thursday against the Giants. Joe Thatcher LOOGY'd his way out of the fifth and after Ziegler's meltdown, Willy Paredes and Addison Reed worked 2.2 scoreless. Enrique Burgos was the ninth-inning villain, not retiring a batter of the three faced. Josh Collmenter came into the resulting bases-loaded, no out jam, and allowed all three inherited runners to score on a hit and a sac fly, but no more.
As noted above, the Diamondbacks offense was largely stifled in the early going by Jason Hammel, and had only managed five hits through two innings, on singles by Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt. Six runs down as they came to plate in the sixth, things looked bleak, but Arizona got two back on RBI singles by Cliff Pennington and Henry Blanco. The floodgates really opened in seventh, as Arizona batted around, sending ten to the plate and scoring six times. The big play was after two runs were in, with the bases still loaded and no outs. A potential double-play ball was botched by the Cubs, who failed to touch second and threw wide of first, allowing two runs to score.
That play was reviewed at the request of the Cubs, but allowed to stand - later in the same inning, the D-backs appealed a play, with a different result. Rudy Flores (mentioned just this morning) came up with the bases loaded again, and smacked a single to left-center. Cliff Pennington trotted home, and Brandon Jacobs tried to score all the way from second, but was initially called out at the plate. However, Gibson requested it be reviewed, and after consultation, the decision was reversed, allowing the second run to score. Also of note in this regard:
Based on today: @MLB decision to show play in question on stadium video board while review is underway greatly enhances fan experience.— Steve Berthiaume (@BertDbacks) March 29, 2014
As you'd expect, a good day for the B-roster. Pennington had two hits and two RBI, while Tony Campana did what he does, getting three hits, scoring twice and stealing a base, and was credited with an outfield assist, nailing a runner at second. There was also errors on Mark Trumbo and Henry Blanco. The former was the result of a throw home hitting the runner, and the latter was a catcher intereference call, not something you see every day. 16,526 in attendance at Chase: I think there will probably be a few more than that, the next time we convene for Monday's game against the Giants!
Roster news is seeping out as I type, but I think that deserves a separate post.