Apparently, according to Ben, I have "gotten a little wordy." Not quite sure what he means by that: this is, after all, a blog - and much as it might be amusing to have posts consisting entirely of stick figure reenactments of spring training games, I fear the novelty of it would wear off swiftly. I will admit that it has been kinda tough over the past month: I'm basically writing about games which no-one has seen, and without any significant conflicts upon which I can hang a few posts. Let's face it, the question of whether Trot Nixon is the 25th man on the roster or not, has hardly kept me awake at nights, and is not the stuff of which deathless prose is made.
However, in deference to his criticisms, I will keep this...less wordy. Diamondbacks win, 11-8. See you tomorrow.
What? You want more than that? Sheesh. Some people... :-)
Is anyone else already fed up of the Rockies? That's five times we've played them already this spring, with a sixth to follow on Saturday - that'll decide the Cactus League series, since it's currently split 2-2, with the first game ending in a tie. Mind you, tomorrow, we'll be playing the White Sox for the seventh time in a month, including a day of split-squad games where we faced them twice, in two separate countries. However, at least we won't be facing them another eighteen times in the regular season.
Let's actually start elsewhere, on the practice fields behind Tucson Electric Park, where Randy Johnson pitched, away from the Rockies, against some White Sox prospects. The results weren't brilliant - nine hits and five runs in 3.1 innings - but Johnson was working on his change-up, which he's looking to use as an alternate off-speed pitch, alongside his slider. The Big Unit said, "Of all the Spring Training starts I've made, I actually physically felt the best today. The results may not have been there, which is OK because I didn't care about the results. I was giving up base hits, but I was throwing three straight changeups. My opportunity to work on things now is critical because I don't have very many starts left." Next start will be in Tucson, April, 3 for the Sidewinders first game - it's thought he'll make two rehab appearances there before rejoining the team.
Replacing Johnson against Colorado was Hector Ambriz, though I think few people would be expecting much. Five hits, two homers, two walks? That would be about it, even if five K's in four innings isn't bad. Dustin Nippert followed. As did three hits, two walks and two more earned runs in his inning. "I think I like it here in Tucson," he said afterwards. "On the whole, I'd rather not be with the major-league team." Ok: I made that up. It's just phenomenally frustrating to see someone like Nippert, who can pitch, struggle like this. But the promise shown in his last outing - where he retired three straight batters to strand the tying run on third - evaporated. It seems that the Petit Unit is "under strong consideration" for Johnson"s spot. This would keep EdGon in the bullpen, and mean Nippert or Medders would get waived: on spring training performances, it's no contest, though obviously other factors come into play.
At the plate, plenty of hits to go around. Alex Romero had three hits, two RBI and, I was particularly pleased to notice, also threw Troyboy out at the plate. Chris Snyder was, perhaps, even better: five plate-appearances, and he reached safely every time, on three hits and two walks. driving in two runs and throwing out a base-stealer as well. Drew, Reynolds and Burke each had a pair of knocks, and even Trot Nixon had a hit and two walks. Say what you like about the performances of our starting pitchers this spring - and "they've got their work in" is about as kind as I can be - the offense has been productive. Five of our starters are hitting .316 or better: Upton (.316), Young (.333), Hudson (.346), Jackson (.349)...and who had Chris Snyder (.390 and 5 HR) in the 'Best Hitting Diamondback' pool? Ojeda and Burke are also above .300.
Finally, the Hardball Times posted my Five Questions: Arizona Diamondbacks. Be amusing to look back on that at the end of the season and see how accurate - or not - I've been. Hopefully, I'll have done a little better than the 2006 version - not, I should stress, written by me. There, the fifth question was "Does this team stand a chance at winning the West any time soon?" The answer was, "Not with the current state of the pitching staff." Of course, we all know what happened the following year, don't we? Must give points to the writer for predicting, "By 2008, the team should be positioned to field a lineup of high-upside talent at a relatively low cost, thereby allowing significant resources to be directed to upgrading the starting rotation behind Webb." However, they're all lost, and then some, by adding, "and then, probably Nippert." Oh, how the mighty are fallen...