Well, it looks like Halsey has all but tied up the last spot in the rotation, after the spontaneous self-destruction of Oscar Villarreal, who allowed seven runs on eight hits in just three innings against the Padres on Sunday in Yuma. That half of our split-squad served up plenty of batting practice pitching, and we went down by the NFL-like score of 17-9 in Yuma. Mike Gosling has one more start, today, but it looks to be over. Halsey is the man and Villarreal is headed for the bullpen, though his performances so far don't justify even that.
Not quite sure why Lance Cormier has been written out of the picture so far: 7 hits, one walk in 7.2 innings), yet no-one seems to be mentioning him at all any more. But as the Banana pointed out, with surprising astuteness for that journal, if Halsey does get the job, it makes the Big Unit trade look much better - we effectively exchanged our #1 pitcher for two starting pitchers and a U-Haul of cash. Mind you, I'm not all that convinced by Halsey, who has allowed 12 hits and 5 walks in 13 innings, which isn't great, and could certainly have led to a great deal more than four earned runs.
Also, something brought up in the comments by William K: the lefty bullpen battle. Which would you rather have as a reliever?
Player A: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 R, 1 ER
Player B: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 1 B, 5 R, 3 ER
Not hard, is it? But A is Shane Nance, B is Randy Choate, and it's B who will almost certainly be in the bullpen come Opening Day. I hope this isn't the shape of late-innings blowups to come: we had quite enough of those last season, thankyouverymuch.
Back at Yuma, Mike Schultz got clobbered for seven runs in 2/3 of an innings, but wasn't helped by our defense, and only three were earned (errors to DeRenne and Schultz himself - I always reckon unearned runs due to a pitcher's fielding mistake should be counted as earned...). Casey Daigle, Bill White and Mark Freed also pitched: I will be perfectly honest and confess to having not heard of the last two. I suspect the journalist covering the game was already on the 3:10 from Yuma, and made some names up to complete the box-score. Alex Frazier, Doug Devore and Juan Brito had two hits apiece
Meanwhile, in Tucson, Vazquez was in sparkling form, retiring the first 16 Mariners he faced, before tiring in the seventh. The bullpen couldn't bale him out, as Seattle sent eleven men up and scored seven runs, including a grand slam off Koplove. We came back with four in the bottom of the innings, and got the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, after which the game was called. Cruz, Ball (who? Yep, as above, more of the joy to be had from late spring split-squad matchups is people you've hardly heard of, having multi-hit games!) and Clark all had two hits apiece, with Cruz and Glaus hitting back-to-back homers off Jamie Moyer in the fourth.
Heroes and Zeroes
Hitting (min. 20 AB)
Pitching (min. 5 IP)
Tolar, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
Lyon, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER
Halsey, 13.0 IP, 12 H, 4 ER
Ortiz, 10.2 IP, 16 H (+ 6 BB), 8 ER
Webb, 14 IP, 18 H (+ 6 BB), 11 ER
Villarreal, 8.2 IP, 15 H, 13 ER