These may be meaningless games, but you wouldn't know it in Tucson this afternoon, as things got a bit heated between the Mariners and Diamondbacks. What was touted as a pitching duel between opposing aces, in the shape of Dan Haren and Cliff Lee turned into a rout, as Arizona kicked Seattle ass in the box-score. And it almost happened in a more literal sense on the park, as Chris Snyder nearly got into it with the Mariners' starter, Cliff Lee, after the latter sent a pitch up and in on Snyder - perhaps in payback for an earlier incident.
Still, easy for Arizona to take the moral high ground on this one, as they cruised to another victory, meaning it's now been an entire week and eight games since they tasted defeat. In the light of AJ Hinch's comments when spring opened, about how "everything counts and helps build toward winning or losing," this is certainly an encouraging streak, spring training or not. Details, and the judges' scorecards, after the jump.
The Bark in the Park [as I've lamely decided to name it] started in the first, when Lee was covering home on an RBI single by Chris Young, and got tangled up on the play with Snyder, the on-deck hitter, who was in the same area, telling Mark Reynolds to slide. Lee tripped over Snyder and words were exchanged between the pair. Next time up, Lee sent a pitch over Snyder's head. The batter was not amused, took several steps towards the mound, and the benches and bullpen cleared, though without any actual violence. Lee, naturally, proclaimed innocence:
I was trying to go inside and a couple got away from me. The guy hitting got mad, came toward the mound and I got thrown out of the game in the process. That’s it in a nutshell...I had been trying to go inside all day and it was kind of leaking back on the plate. I had one more out and one more inning. I was just really making sure I got in on the righties. The first one was maybe eight or nine inches off the plate and second one really got away from me. I think I overthrew that one a little bit. It happens...
Chris Snyder, needless to say, begged to differ, saying he thought Lee threw at him deliberately: "He went in on the first pitch and the next one was at my head," and that was why he stepped towards the mound. "You try standing in there having a ball thrown at your head," our catcher suggested. He also discussed the earlier incident: "He got me good. He Charlie horsed my leg. I felt it every time I squatted. He hit me in the leg and threw a ball at me. He’s up 2-nothing on me. He got me better than anybody coming around third." Fortunately, the Mariners aren't on our inter-league schedule this year. Might make for an interesting World Series though...
After cooler heads prevailed, Lee was ejected, and Snyder got the last word, hitting an RBI double off the new pitcher, the run going on to Lee's line. The pitcher might have been lucky. Snyder is a big MMA fan, and took up Muay Thai a couple of seasons ago to help with his conditioning. And, of course, there's the famous neo-fractured testicle in 2008, where Snyder took a ricocOn the pheted baseball to the crotch in 2008, and stayed in the game, finishing out the inning behind the plate. Personally, Snyder is perhaps the guy on the Diamondbacks roster with whom I'd least want to get into a rumble.
Though in the past week or so, opposing pitchers dare to tangle with just about any of the Diamondbacks' offensive members at their peril. Today, it was the Mariners' turn get chewed up and spat out by the Sedona Red buzz-saw, as we hammered out nineteen hits, nine with men in scoring position, leading to thirteen runs. Leading the charge was Chris Young, who homered and singled, driving in four runs, and Adam LaRoche had another good day, going 3-for-3 and driving in a pair. Mark Reynolds reached safely three times, on two hits and a walk, and also had two RBI, while Jeff Bailey and Snyder each had a pair of knocks.
On the pitching side, Dan Haren allowed one run in four innings of work. He perhaps wasn't at his sharpest, allowing four hits and two walks, but struck out three. He also worked out of danger nicely in the fourth, after loading the bases with no-one out: he allowed a sacrifice fly for Seattle's only tally off him, but then got an shallow pop-up, followed by a groundout, to end the frame. Through the first eight innings, the Mariners were 0-for-11 with men in scoring position: while, on the whole, I'd rather we didn't let them get into scoring position, it's certainly better to leave 'em there.
After Haren, Clay Zavada allowed a couple of base-runners, but pitched a scoreless fifth, while Juan Gutierrez continued his impressive form with a perfect sixth. Zack Kroenke allowed a solo shot to Corey Patterson with one out in the seventh, but that was it. Roque Mercedes kept his pristine ERA, despite a hit and a walk in the eighth, but Jose Marte struggled to preserve the fragile, er, eleven-run lead handed to him in the ninth. He failed to retire any of the four batters faced, and had to be rescued with the bases loaded and one in by Jason Urquidez. "Rescue" did consist of two more hits and a walk, but the three runs which resulted simply made the scoreline less embarrassing.
Boxscores are below. I think the main news of the day has largely been covered elsewhere, e.g. the signings of Mark Reynolds and Kris Benson, to contracts of varying import. I'll just add Nick Piecoro reports that Arizona watched "highly touted" Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo work out in Tucson today. A $3.1m deal for the 16-year old Mateo with St. Louis fell through last September over alleged problems with his vision. Piecoro suggest it’s evidence the team are more open to working with Latin American prospects, an area from which they have previously largely stayed away.
|Roberts, R, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.200|
|Drew, S, SS||2||1||1||1||0||0||1||.455|
|Bailey, J, 1B||2||2||2||0||0||0||0||.545|
|Upton, J, RF||3||0||1||0||0||1||2||.364|
|Deeds, D, PR-RF||2||3||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Reynolds, M, 3B||3||3||2||2||1||0||0||.227|
|LaRoche, Ad, 1B||3||2||3||2||0||0||0||.476|
|Young, C, DH||3||1||2||4||0||0||1||.346|
|Rogers, E, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||.200|
|Macias, D, CF||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||.217|
2B: Snyder (1, Kelley), Bailey, J (1, French), Reynolds, M (2, French), Ryal (2, French).
HR: Young, C (2, 5th inning off Kelley, 2 on, 0 out).
TB: Drew, S; Bailey, J 3; Upton, J; Deeds, D; Reynolds, M 3; Hester; LaRoche, Ad 3; Young, C 5; Ryal 2; Coughlin; Snyder 3; Macias, D; Frey.
RBI: LaRoche, Ad 2 (7), Young, C 4 (8), Drew, S (6), Snyder (4), Reynolds, M 2 (2), Ryal (8), Hester (1).
2-out RBI: LaRoche, Ad; Young, C; Snyder; Hester.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Snyder 2; Upton, J; Macias, D; Wald; Rogers, E 2.
SF: Drew, S.
Team RISP: 9-for-17.
Team LOB: 9.
|Haren (W, 1-0)||4.0||4||1||1||2||3||0||1.04|
|Zavada (H, 2)||1.0||1||0||0||1||2||0||4.91|