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Diamondbacks 9, Angels 3: Haren follows Webb's lead

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With ten days left to go before the first meaningful game, it's good to see our players - and the front of our starting rotation especially - apparently rounding into the form we hope to see. Dan Haren became the first Diamondbacks pitcher to go seven innings this afternoon, allowing only two hits and one run, as Arizona rolled to an emphatic victory over the Angels. He walked none, and struck out ten Angels. Said Haren, "The last inning going out there I could tell that I hadn't been in the seventh inning before. I doubt I go and get to 100 pitches next time out. I think I'd be smarter to hold back and save a little for the season." True: but after a series of outings where about all we had to hang onto was "Spring training stats are meaningless," I'm sure most AZ fans are relieved by the past couple of games.

Meanwhile, the offense did their part, after going down in order during the first, and falling behind on a solo homer to Brandon Wood in the top of the second. Arizona responded immediately with four hits and a walk in the bottom half, which drove in three runs - including two RBI for Haren, who helped his own cause with a single. In the third, the Diamondbacks switched from running the bases to trotting casually round then, as Mark Reynolds swatted a three-run homer and Gerardo Parra then added a solo shot, one out later. We added two more in the eighth, on RBI hits by Parra and Alex Romero - the latter, I now want to call 'The Mexican Waiver,' regardless of the fact he's actually Venezuelan.

The Diamondbacks clubbed sixteen hits in total. Parra went 3-for-3 and got a free pass too; Reynolds had two hits and a walk; Augie Ojeda and Miguel Montero a pair apiece; even Haren had a walk in addition to his two-run knock. That all helped to render the two runs allowed by Juan Gutierrez in the ninth, after a scoreless eighth by Slaten, no more than a trivial footnote. Conor Jackson was caught stealing second, while Josh Whitesell made a ninth-inning error, and Eric Byrnes and Ojeda hit into double-plays. But it would be churlish to quibble, since this was one of our most impressive performances of spring so far, even if I can't say I recognized many names in the Angels startling line-up - they must have got lost in the Marana Triangle, on the way down to Tucson...

Met with Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and a bunch of other folks, tonight at Monti's in Tempe, for steak and chat - a thoroughly-pleasant time was had there [it appears it's not just us who are amused by Jon Coutlangus's name, and we can also bond with Cubs fans on our mutual love for Augie Ojeda]. I didn't realize Al just had a book published, Cubs by the Numbers, of which he was one of the co-writers. If it's half as interesting as talking to him, even I will have to buy a copy. I should mention that my new book, D-backs by the Numbers, will be published just as soon as I can work out what to do with the rest of the postage-stamp...

New on the SnakePit front. We will be a good deal more gloriously illustrated this year, as our lords and master in SB Nation have come to a deal with AP, where we can get to use 100% legal, fully licensed photos from them. Editors will find a tool integrated - hopefully before Opening Day - to allow easy browsing and insertion of such things, along with tools for cropping, etc. I've been reluctant to basically pirate such content before [LolBacks excepted], and my photo skills [and access] are...somewhat limited, shall we say, so this is definitely a massive step forward. There will, however, always be room for St. Penelope, naturally...

If you've got some time, please pop over to Tangotiger's site, because he's looking for projections on how much playing time the various Diamondbacks on the roster will get. It'll take about ten minutes, and the more people do so, the more accurate the eventual numbers will be. And an interesting piece on The Hardball Times, suggesting that The Franchise Value Bubble is Poised to Pop: "most franchises are “worth” perhaps a quarter of the sticker price they might have brought in 2006." Hey, Jeff! I'll buy that Diamondbacks stake you've got to sell - just let me just check down the back of the sofa for investment capital... Oh, and you should keep an eye out for the Fox Sports Arizona promo Mrs. SnakePit and I shot on April 1st - no kidding - which is apparently when it's going to be screened. I'll try and figure out some way to embed it here on the day!

Tomorrow, there'll be an article co-written with Sky from Beyond the Box-Score, looking at the potential Diamondbacks' line-up, but otherwise, consider this a warning that things might be kinda quiet, at least from me, this weekend. I've to go into work tomorrow morning, and we're out of the house entirely most of Sunday - rather unlike our usual weekend sloth. Truth be told, we'll be sleeping with the enemy them - we're off to see the new Dodgers' facility at Camelback Ranch, and see the Padres game. Of course, in keeping with local tradition, we'll show up in the middle of the third inning, and leave before the end of the seventh... We then have our Peelander-Z show at the Trunk Space on Sunday night, so a busy day is in prospect.