Another lack-luster performance from the Diamondbacks pitchers this afternoon, Seth Etherton allowing six hits, two walks and seven runs without being able to pitch two innings, as he replaced Doug Davis. In his defense, he was not helped by...well, the defense, as three of those runs were unearned. On the other hand, he was responsible for one of the four Arizona gaffes which made their way into the score-book, so will hardly be pointing fingers at Josh Wilson, Ryan Roberts or Bobby Korecky, the perpetrators of the other three errors.
The offense does deserve credit, however, for clawing their way back from a 7-1 deficit after the second inning, and actually managed to tie the game at seven by the time the healthy 11,062 crowd were singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame [though if our experience last Sunday is anything to go by, you'd be lucky to get anything more than a bar or two out of a Spring Training crowd] Justin Upton and Roberts led the parade with two hits and a walk apiece, while there were also two hits for Mark Reynolds and Tony Clark, plus a hit and a walk apiece for John Hester and Chris Roberson. Reynolds does, however, get a black mark for overtaking the preceding runner on the basepaths, resulting in an out.
No home-runs though, and that's a power-outage which is becoming something of a concern. Excluding the two Mexican games (though we only had one there, courtesy of Special K), the team has only four homers in a total of 326 spring training at-bats to date - and half of those are off the bats of people not expected to make the Opening Day Roster, in Roberson and Josh Whitesell. However, in the team's defense, they have been giving a lot of at-bats to the minor players: thus far, the top six for AB are Roberts, Evan Frey, Roberson, Wilson, Whitesell and Brandon Watson. Felipe Lopez has a dozen at-bats so far; Chad Tracy only ten. However, that's probably a result of the extended spring, and now we're four weeks from Opening Day, lineups should start to look more familiar, and play for longer.
Any hope of a stirring comeback, however, ended in the bottom of the seventh. After Etherton had departed, the Diamondbacks' bullpen had been solid: Brooke Brown, Chad Qualls, Billy Buckner and Daniel Schlereth, combining for 4.1 scoreless innings, albeit of somewhat varying quality. Buckner was likely the pick of the bunch, bouncing back from a stomach virus that has sidelined him the past couple of days [was the trip to Mexico involved?], by retiring six of the seven hitters he faced, though Schelerth and Qualls each gave up two hits in their inning.
Interestingly, it seems that both Buckner and Jon Rauch are working on a cut fastball: the latter says the aim is to induce groundballs when needed, a useful arsenal in hitter-friendly parks like Chase and Coors. But Korecky rendered the whole thing moot, thanks to a wretched seventh, though from what i can tell, he basically died by the sacrifice bunt: after singles to the first two men put men on the corners, the Mariners bunted with their next three hitters, two of whom came away with RBI singles, on which everyone was safe. He ended up allowing four runs on three hits and no walks, facing eight batters. Leo Rosales followed with a 1-2-3 ninth, though it was too late for Arizona to comeback again. Here are the boxscores for the Diamondbacks:
|Whitesell, J, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||2||3||.294|
|Wilson, Jo, SS||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.389|
|Korecky (L, 0-1)||1.0||3||4||4||0||1||0||22.50|