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Diamondbacks 6, Giants 11 - The Devil you (don't) know

I was just sending an email to a customer of ours on the bead side of things, who's in Tasmania, and I suddenly realised that just about the only thing I know about the place is the Tasmanian Devil, from those old Warner Bros cartoons. I'm sure it's a very nice place, but I think the tourism industry there has likely been harmed by a perception that the island is infested with gibbering monsters that buzz-saw their way through trees. Chuck Jones has a lot to answer for - and it's not the first time. I remember seeing my first coyote after moving to Arizona: I was surprised it wasn't flicking through an Acme catalog, with rocket-powered skates strapped to its feet. I am still to see my first roadrunner; if it doesn't leave a trail of smoke behind it as it runs, I'll be very disappointed.

Friday night, and so I'll keep this one relatively short, as Mrs. SnakePit and I will be indulging in a crap DVD double-bill, and we need to get that started before too much longer. Another day, another defeat for the D-backs, as we fall 11-6 to the Giants, despite putting out what looks suspiciously like a full-strength lineup. Brandon Webb got smoked for 11 hits in 4.2 innings, but professed to be pleased; he was working mostly on locating his fastball. "Maybe I'll reevaluate during the season if I'm getting hit like this. But right now, we're just trying to get some work in, get my pitch count up, get the innings in, which I did today."

Not much success for the rest of the pitchers either: Cruz got the loss despite striking out four in 1.1 innings, thanks to two walks and a hit. Qualls was the only pitcher to escaped unscathed, with a 1-2-3 seventh, but the Giants were clearly in safari mode - intent on bagging Lyons - taking our new closer for four hits and three runs in his inning of work. Insert obvious spring excuses here, but our Cactus League ERA is now the wrong side of six. About the only saving graces are that we're leading the National League in strikeouts with 132 in 157 innings, and it's not as if the rest of the division are posting shutouts - the Padres' ERA is at 5.97, the Rockies' 5.33 and the Giants 7.09. Only the Dodgers (4.65) are doing much and they play in Florida, which is less hitter-friendly.

The batters were a bit better, getting ten hits, including a pair for Byrnes and a bases-clearing double for Bonifacio. Drew and Upton each had a hit and a walk, with the latter getting two RBI as well. We scored four times in the sixth to tie the game at six, but Cruz immediately handed back the lead, and we didn't add anything to our tally down the stretch. The defeat drops the D-backs to 6-11, and Arizona is now seriously in danger of our first losing spring since 2004, when we went 14-17. Last year, we led the Cactus League, going 20-12 - interesting to compare results for the NL teams, beside how they performed in April once the season started.

       APR   SPRING   DIFF
ATL   .640    .600     +40
MIL   .640    .433    +207
NYM   .625    .364    +261
ARI   .593    .625     -32
LAD   .577    .515     +62
SFG   .543    .469     +84
SDP   .500    .563     -63
PIT   .500    .414     +86
FLA   .480    .433     +47
CIN   .480    .600    -120
PHI   .440    .379     +61
STL   .417    .615    -198
HOU   .417    .621    -204
CHC   .417    .567    -150
COL   .385    .520    -135
WSN   .346    .393     -47

There. I feel much better after that, since it appears there was little or no correlation between spring training performance and results after Opening Day. However, most eye-witness reports seems to suggest the Diamondbacks play has been pretty sluggish this month. Though they looked pretty decent the game I saw them play down in Tucson, that was back when they were capable of winning, and they haven't done much of that lately. Here's to them extending my record to 2-0 this spring, with a victory behind Randy tomorrow. But before that, another week has gone by, so time to update the heroes and villains of spring training to date. First the pitchers, then the hitters; all stats are up to and including March 14:

  • Chris Burke: .394/.487/.818 in 33 AB
  • Chris Snyder: .417/.517/.958 in 24 AB
  • Jesus Merchan: .522/.560/.696 in 23 AB
  • Chris Young: .229/.325/.371 in 35 AB
  • Trot Nixon: .179/.294/.357 in 28 AB
  • Robby Hammock: .154/.241/.269 in 26 AB
  • Edgar Gonzalez: 5 H, 0 BB, 1 ER in 7 IP
  • Yusmeiro Petit: 8 H, 2 ER, 11 K in 7.1 IP
  • Conner Robertson: 4 H, 1BB, 1 ER in 6 IP
  • Dustin Nippert: 9 H, 8 BB, 6 ER in 5.1 IP
  • Brandon Lyon: 11 H, 0 K, 7 ER in 5 IP
  • Micah Owings: 12 H, 8 BB, 8 ER in 6.1 IP

Today's comment starter Yesterday's one was greeted with an uncomfortable silence and foot-shuffling, until foulpole's recent comment bravely broke the ice - but it seems I am the only person who has ever been in this kind of situation. Either I am dysfunctional, or you're too embarrassed to 'fess up. :-) On that front, it has been agreed that I am not attending the service, and will be picked up by Mrs. SnakePit after it's over. This is for the best, I think, and we'll all be more comfortable as a result. Something less controversial for today, I think. The National League East; has the Mets' acquisition of Santana pushed them back over the top, or will the Phillies repeat? And should the rest of the division even bother showing up?