Record: 3-4. Change on 2013: -1/2.
I was curious how far Brandon McCarthy would go, considering he had gone four innings in his Cactus League debut last week, but it was announced today he wouldn't be one of the starters in Australia. The answer was, a bit further, as he went five frames, though largely quick ones. With the help of a caught stealing and a double-play, he only faced two over the minimum, just one more than last time. [The CS was particularly useful, as it was followed by what would likely have been an RBI double, by former D-back Collin Cowgill] McCarthy was certainly a ground-ball machine, with a mere one fly-ball out recorded. He scattered three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
With regard to the CS, that let us see the replay process in action for the first time. It came in the second inning, after a one-out single, when the runner tried to take second. The throw down to Aaron Hill from Bobby Wilson was high, but Hill made a leaping grab to snare the ball and came down to apply the tag. Or did he? The Angels manager trotted out, discussed it with the umpire, and a review was then ordered. The decision stood, but between the discussion and the review, it did seem to delay things: I'd have said it would make sense for the manager to be able to argue OR ask for a review, not argue THEN ask for a review. I'm sure MLB is also watching.
The scoreless tie was broken in the sixth, a technically but not-exactly unearned run charged to Eury de la Rosa. He retired the right-hander faced to open the innings, but then walked the next guy, and a wild pickoff throw over to Paul Goldschmidt allowed the runner to gallop all the way to third. A shallow fly-ball to right-field allowed the runner to come home and beat the throw. I was surprised how weak the firing of the Parrazooka was, until I realized it wasn't actually Parra out there, but Ender Inciarte. Whatever his skills - and legging out a bunt single in the third certainly showed excellent speed - Inciarte's arm doesn't appear to be one of them.
After a scoreless seventh, when Ryan Rowland-Smith worked his way around a lead-off double, there was a distinct sense of deja vu in the eighth, with regard to how the Angels scored their second run. Again, there was a runner on first, this time after a two-out single. This time, it was Marcos Mateo's time to uncork a wild pick-off throw, again well to the second-base side of new first baseman Jon Griffin, and once more the runner was able to advance two bags. He then scored the second unearned run of the day on a bunt single. I think we know what our pitchers will be doing tomorrow morning at Salt River Fields.
Meanwhile, the offense wasn't exactly covering itself in glory, either. The Diamondbacks didn't get a ball safely out of the infield until Tyler Bortnick's single with one out in the ninth; the sole prior hits were Inciarte's bunt and an infield single to third, with one out in the second, by Martin Prado. Our only walk came with two outs in the eighth, courtesy of Jon Griffin, and Socrates Brito putting a charge in one to the warning track was otherwise as good as it got for us. At least this meant it was a quick and crisply-played game - at least until things slowed to a crawl in the ninth, when the Angels added three hits and a run off Jake Barrett.
The Diamondbacks half was also kinda interesting, as we scored twice and got the tying run in scoring position. After Bortnick singled and stole second, Brito singled (having apparently done a nice job of selling a swinging strike three as a foul tip!), and and we finally got on the board courtesy of a Nick Ahmed. sac. fly. Rudy Flores then came close to tying the game, banging the ball high off the center-field wall, having to settle for an RBI double. However, Brandon Jacobs went down swinging, to end the game one hit short of a D-backs comeback,
We'll be back at Salt River Fields in a few hours, for the night-cap against the Rockies, which sees Archie Bradley take the field for the first time. Weather permitting, though that looks fine at this point.