Just to clarify the subject line - split-squad days do not make for easy to read headlines - half of the Diamondbacks beat the White Sox 7-6 today, but the other half lost heavily to the A's, going down 11-3. Let's start with the latter game, as interest was focussed on the first 'proper' appearance this spring of Max Scherzer. Unfortunately, as well as one blue eye and one brown one, it seems that Max came away with a black eye from this afternoon's encounter, allowing five first inning runs and retiring only two of the seven batters he faced before his pitch-count kicked in, after 36 pitches.
He wasn't helped by making the first of Arizona's three errors on the day [Josh Wilson and John Hester were also tagged], a wild throw home on a slow roller to his left with the bases-loaded, that allowed two runs to score. He also walked in a run, but seems that only one of the three hits he allowed was anything like well-hit, the others being a chopper off the glove of Josh Whitesell at first, and a broken-bat blooper. According to one scout at the game, Scherzer's pitches were being clocked on the gun as high as 94 mph, so no real issues there, given he's a few weeks behind his rotation colleagues. Here's what he had to say about his outing after leaving the game:
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620
Having been dumped in a 5-0 hole by the end of the first, hard for the Diamondbacks to come back. And they didn't. The bullpen, in the shape of Peña, Yusmeiro Petit [two more scoreless innings] and Juan Gutierrez, did keep Oakland from adding on until the sixth. However, Gutierrez allowed four runs in his second innings of work to put the game out of reach - Billy Bucker got the last couple of outs there, and then took things the rest of the way. He gave up two runs on three hits, including a home-run to former Arizona prospect Aaron Cunningham [we got him from the White Sox for Danny Richat, and sent him to Oakland in the Haren trade], leading off the seventh.
The offense didn't do much, the highlight probably being the plate discipline of Whitesell, who had the majority of the team's five walks. Hester had a double and a single, and there were RBI doubles for Evan Frey and Wilson, though the latter was also caught stealing third-base. Though it probably has to be said, while Oakland put out close to their best eight on the field, even the starting lineup for the Diamondbacks at Phoenix Muni was very much the B-squad, with only Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds assured of spots, even on the 25-man roster, for Opening Day. Matt Williams and Jay Bell were apparently the base coaches!
Most of the big boys were down in Tucson, though it was the unknown Ollie Linton - borrowed for the day from the minor-league camp, to make up numbers - who scored the winning run, coming home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the tenth to defeat the White Sox. Dan Haren got the start for Arizona, and had a very solid outing, going 4.2 innings in only 52 pitches, and allowing only one run on four hits; he walked none and had three strikeouts. Said Haren, "Kind of a funky first inning...but after that I felt real good. My fastball command was there. I let a few pitches go there in the fifth inning. I let a few fastballs go, which I really hadn't done yet."
Doug Slaten (1.1 scoreless innings, with two hits) followed, and the Diamondbacks then showed off top prospect Jarrod Parker, who pitched a scoreless seventh. At this point,, Arizona looked to be cruising, with a 6-1 lead, but that margin was entirely coughed up in the final two frames. Scott Schoeneweis and Jon Rauch each allowed three hits and a walk, allowing two and three runs respectively, with a triple off the latter in the ninth tying the score at six. Abe Woody restored order, posting a zero and getting the win despite two hits and a walk in the tenth.
Arizona were outhit significantly by Chicago, 15-9, but did have the only home-run, a two-run shot in the fifth by Ryan Roberts, who also had another hit and ended the day with three RBI. Tony Clark had two hits, though was thrown out by quite some distance trying to stretch the first one into a double. The Diamondbacks' big inning was a fourth run seventh, which included runs driven in by Roberts, Brandon Watson, Trent Oeltjen and Mark Hallberg. Looking at the box-score, seems that Eric Byrnes made his spring debut, going 0-for-1 with a walk. However, it also says he was playing 1B, so I'm not sure how seriously to take that.
Random grab-bag of stories in the shape of a link-dump, to finish this off:
- Big Unit to miss start with sore arm
- Daron Sutton has an interview with Melvin on cutting down the K's.
- Steve Gilbert also talks to our manager, on what's he's seen this spring.
- Gonzo could join team - in off-field role, I hasten to add.
- New deal for Drew unlikely
Team USA just scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to stave off elimination by defeating Puerto Rico. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was fixed. :-)