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Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 10: Rauch = Ouch

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MLB Florida and Arizona Spring Training - SB Nation

Arizona lost by the odd run in nineteen, thanks largely to a spectacularly miserable outing by Jon Rauch, who retired just one of the six batters he faced, with all the others coming around to score as part of a six-run Dodger sixth inning. This makes the Cactus League line for our illustrated man, the following:
    Rauch: 7.1 IP, 15 H, 3 HR, 7 BB, 4 K, 13 ER, 15.95 ERA

"Well done! You must get up very early," to quote Eddie Izzard. That's the worst ERA of any pitcher this spring with as many innings pitched. Freddy Garcia of the Mets comes closest: his ERA is 16.71, but has only seven IP].

I can't say I feel in the slightest bit comfortable about him acting as a set-up man for Chad Qualls. On the basis of this spring, the only way he'll be passing a save opportunity to Qualls, is if Rauch comes in with a seven-run lead... But Bob Melvin seemed fairly adamant Jon the Giant will be pitching in such a role: “Based on his history, I think we’re pretty much locked into that. Maybe not the eighth inning, maybe the seventh, but one of our last three guys. To this point, nothing’s changed. Tony [Peña] gave up some hits yesterday, too.” While that's true, his spring K:BB ratio has been 9:1, rather than Rauch's 4:7.

Billy Buckner got the start, and sealed a spot in the bullpen, with 3.2 innings of work that was okay, rather than massively impressive: he allowed five hits, including a home-run, and a walk, which resulted in three runs, two earned. Both of the latter came in the fourth, on a first pitch homer, followed by a double and a single; a Chris Young error led to an unearned run for LA in the third. However, it was announced after the game that Bobby Korecky and Leo Rosales have been sent to Reno, and so the remaining spots in the bullpen are going - as predicted yesterday - to Buckner, Yusmeiro Petit, the sucky but intriguing Juan Gutierrez [and his 96 mph, out of options fastball] plus last year's LOOGY of choice for the Diamondbacks, Doug Slaten.

Buckner's stay, however, may be short-lived since he has minor-league options remaining, and we will need to clear a roster spot for Max Scherzer on April 14th. Though Slaten's spring ERA is worse and he also has options, Doug has pitched much better since adjusting his arm angle - and Bob Melvin has said a lot about the additional options a second lefty provides. Especially when you have someone like Scott Schoeneweis, who appears to be only good at getting left-handed hitters out. On the other hand, it appears Buckner spent the off-season training with a UFC friend. So I don't think I would want to be the one to tell him he's being sent down to Triple-A...

Rosales and Korecky got a final workout today before their departure, combining to throw 3.2 innings and allow only one earned run. The latter got tagged with the loss, but was somewhat unlucky to do so, having pitched two innings of no-hit ball. However, looks like our defensive ineptitude struck again, with an unearned run letting the Dodgers score the eventual winning running in the top of the ninth. Arizona made three errors today: in addition to the one by Young, Luke Carlin and Mark Reynolds also contributed. It was the last-named's seventh of spring; I couldn't find any stats, but I'd be surprised if that isn't the most in the Cactus League, by quite a long way.

Felipe Lopez had a good day at the top of the order, getting three hits and a walk, though was also caught stealing. Behind him, Eric Byrnes had a pair of doubles, while Young had a hit and a walk, and Alex Romero worked two free passes. Meanwhile, Brandon Webb got in his final start of the pre-season in a minor-league game. He pitched into the fifth inning, giving up five hits (none for extra bases) and no walks, allowing one run, with three stirkeouts - Webb's pitch count was reported as 57. It with great joy that I write the following words: the next time we see Webb take the mound, it'll be on Opening Day. Yes, folks: we are now that close...