Finally. After what seems like an eternity of the foreplay that is preseason baseball - but was only actually 33 games - the Diamondbacks are ready. A rest-day tomorrow, and we will then be sending our best players to take the field, rather than a guy who has never faced batters above the Double-A level. And they will be playing all nine innings - rather than, as today, hitting the showers from the third frame on.
On this basis, it's kinda hard to care too much about the result this afternoon. It's a bit like the exams I took in my last year of school, after having already been accepted into college: going through the motions in a perfunctory manner, rather than with any real sense of urgency or importance. Whatever details I can be bothered to muster, can be found after the jump.
Barry Enright allowed all six runs in his 4.2 innings of work. He looked fine through the first couple of innings, but then got stuck in a mire of his own making in the third, as the Cubs sent eight men to the plate - though none of them managed anything more than a single. The inning included an RBI infield hit and a wild pitch, but Enright's final line was not helped by Josh Ellis, who replaced him with two down in the fifth, and allowed both inherited runners, on first and second when he arrived, to score before getting the final out.
After that, the A-bullpen proved effective against the B-Cubs, allowing one hit in four innings, a lead-off double against Aaron Heilman in the ninth being the only knock. Jordan Norberto celebrated his arrival on the 25-man roster with a four-pitch walk to the first batter faced. After the next one lined into a double-play, he repeated the swift freebie to another batter, before getting a strike-out to end the inning. I suspect Norberto may provoke a good deal of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth in the fiery furnace this summer.
Seven hits for the Diamondbacks. While the starting line-up certainly looked somewhat familiar, everyone but Chris Snyder got replaced after two plate-appearances, which started in the bottom of the third-inning. There was a moment of nervousness because the first one lifted was Conor Jackson, who took a pitch off the arm following his second time up. However, it became clear subsequently that his removal was not the result of an injury, but just a regularly-scheduled replacement. Kelly Johnson was the only player to reach base more than once, with a single and a walk; Mark Reynolds had the team's only extra-base hit, a one-out double in the second.
The 25th spot on the roster was decided before the game and Ken Levine will be delighted to hear that "unidentified Diamondback," Ryan Roberts, will not be troubling him, at least not initially - instead,. it's Rusty Ryal who will be helping to fulfill Arizona's quota of "Things that start with R". According to AJ Hinch, a number of factors played into the decision, but specifically mentioned, "The way that Rusty swings the bat and that he has made himself a viable option at multiple defensive positions." Ryal he was not surprised - "Shocked is more the right word."
Even the Gameday Thread was quiet, barely reaching 10% of the number finally reached last night. New prospect JoeStock made an impact in his first Gameday Thread, leading all posters, while myself and 'charmer tied for second-place, a couple of ticks back. Also present: Wailord, NASCARbernet, GuruB, kishi, AJforAZ, pygalgia, dima1109, Wimb, brian custer, G.O.B. and soco. Suspect the next GDT might well be a good bit busier! Y'know, because this time, it counts...
I'll wrap up spring training tomorrow, with a look at the heroes and villains of spring training overall. But mostly, I'll be packing the bags in preparation for Monday's departure. Gonna be a fun week!