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Hump Day of Spring Training

We're about half-way through Spring Training now, and the number of at-bats, while still on the road to Meaningful, are at least no longer driving down the Main Street of Utterly Meaningless. Leading the charge for our hitters are Byrnes and Callaspo, both batting .450 or more thus far. Byrnes has caught fire in the past week and is 12-for-26 this spring; he has also gritted his teeth and taken three walks. His shadow, Scott Hairston, has come on greatly this week too, and has shown his power, with 24 total bases in 25 at-bats. Callaspo is batting .500, 14-for-28; Spring Training or not, that's impressive, and if he keeps anything like that up, he'll be a real steal.

Currently, five of our starting eight are batting .333 or better, which is an encouraging sign as far as our offense goes. The exceptions are perhaps worth noting, and are as follows. Chris Young is .267 (8-for-30, and has only two walks and one RBI to his name, which kinda puts a damper on any plans involving him batting leadoff or cleanup. Chris Snyder is 3-for-14, and thus lags his rival Miguel Montero (9-for-19) by quite some way so far. And largely un-noticed, Chad Tracy has just three hits in his first 21 at-bats, though is tied for the team lead with six walks.

Thus far, Micah Owings is probably the most impressive pitcher: seven innings, four hits, one run and eight K's. But Nippert has the same number of innings, hits and runs allowed - and the other main candidates for the #5 spot, Eveland and EdGon, are not doing badly...or, at least, weren't until EdGon's implosion earlier today. More on that in a moment, and I don't think it damaged his chances too greatly. Most of our main rotation members have been kept out of the public eye so far. Obviously, Johnson hasn't thrown in a game, but Hernandez 2.0, Webb, and Davis have only pitched 15.1 innings between them in 'proper' contests to date - and some disturbing news means that one member of that trio won't be seen, probably for another week.

For Brandon Webb has tweaked his neck, and will miss his anticipated Saturday start against the White Sox. Everyone is playing it down, and reckon he'll be back to normal by the next start - he says, "I think it should be fine by then. Hopefully it won't set me back too far... I really don't have full range of motion, so I haven't been able to throw my pens, so I guess we're kind of playing it day by day. Hopefully we'll be able to play some catch before too long." Not exactly the words you want to hear coming from our ace, the #1 pitcher in the National League...

The bullpen concerns me. Julio (five shutout innings, on two hits) has been the only reliable arm, which perhaps makes me less inclined to trade him. Though it's been kinda hard to tell with our plethora of starters vacuuming up much of the playing time. Medders and Valverde have hardly got started; Cruz (6 H and 4 BB in 6 IP) and Slaten (11 H, 2 BB, 5 IP) have been up and down; Lyon and Pena (both 5 H, 2 BB, in 5 and 6 IP respectively) maybe a little better. Those who might have seized the chance, like Bajenaru or Daigle, have been beaten like a Tom Tancredo piñata on Cinco de Mayo.

Today in particular. a bit of a slug-fest erupted in Tucson today. Well, on and off: the Rangers and Diamondbacks combined for 27 runs...but twelve of the 17 half-innings played resulted in a zero. The Rangers scored nine runs in one burst, off Edgar Gonzalez and Casey Daigle - and still lost, because the Diamondbacks went one better, scoring ten in the sixth, to turn a 9-5 deficit into a 15-9 lead, capped by a grand-slam from Clark. Texas added a field, three runs in the seventh off Jeff Bajenaru [who is looking unlikely to lose his Least Significant Diamondback ranking any time soon], but Tony Peña was perfect over the final two frames for the save. Brandon Medders was also solid, allowing one hit and fanning three in his two innings.

And it had been going so well too for EdGon. Through three innings, he'd allowed no runs on three hits, striking out five. However, in the bottom of the third, he led off, singled, came around to score and then batted again to make the third out. It really seemed to throw his concentration off, as he faced four hitters in the next inning, and retired none of them - that included a home run to Sammy Sosa. Daigle was no better, being tagged for five runs on four hits and two walks. Despite all the scoring, we only had eleven hits, with Callaspo and Hudson getting two each, atop the order.

Probably no significant general update tomorrow, since we'll be at the game tomorrow night; illustrated report on that to follow, of course. We'll get to see EnGon and Eveland, with Carrasco and Julio also slated to appear. We will, of course, be wearing our co-ordinated D-back jerseys, though I might skip that in the strip-club beforehand. Though Mrs. SnakePit has suggested taking a pic there, giving a Borat-style thumbs up, sandwiched between two of their "artistes". That is why I love the woman. :-)

Speaking of blogging hours [as I was right at the beginning of the previous paragraph, y'know, before I got distracted!], was pleased to hear today we're getting some new employees, so that might reduce the "would you mind logging in early?" requests. However, on the other hand, somewhat startling to discover, late this afternoon, that I was the second-longest tenured of the ten or so employees present. 'Cos I've been there four months. But there should be a review of Chasing October up, since the makers were kind enough to send me a screener. Off to watch it now...