Tonight's headline is for Clefo, who requested an Andrew Lloyd-Webber reference. Though I might be mistaken there, I was kinda skim-reading. It's a homage to Zach Duke, who had to leave this evening's leg of the double-header against the Rockies, after getting smoked on his pitching hand by a come-backer off the bat of Charlie Blackmon. It's the kind of incident which perhaps makes one appreciate a little more, the point of the pitching depth that we acquired over the winter.
Beyond the jump, details of both that 5-3 defeat, and this afternoon's 6-4 loss to the Brewers - which sink Arizona's Cactus League record to 5-14. Are we having fun yet?
After the past few outings, I guess we Aaron Heilman "only" giving up four runs in four innings is an improvement. However, like Wade Miley yesterday, Heilman didn't exactly come out at a gallop: the first four Brewers all reached, and two had scored by the time Aaron recorded his first out - though as it was an outfield assist to get the runner going first-to-third, he didn't actually have much to do with it. Heilman did settle down, but the third inning was rough, thanks to a two-run homer from Casey McGehee, after Heilman hit Prince Fielder. I blame the gravitational well for that, personally. Final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 ER, 0 K, and his spring ERA is 5.25 - good by Arizona starter standard, but...
The Arizona offense had kept us in the game, also scoring four runs through the front five innings. Russell Branyan singled home Stephen Drew in the first, and a two-run Tony Abreu homer in the second gave Arizona the lead. They extended it to 4-2 on a Branyan homer, but that was it for run-scoring in the afternoon. Branyan and Miguel Montero each had good afternoons, with three hits apiece. The former has been having a very solid spring, at the plate, anyway: He's hitting .464 (13-for-28), with six extra-base hits - his 24 total bases and 1.357 OPS leads all Diamondbacks (min 20 PAs), going into this evening's contest. But will he make the roster?
That seems to be a possibility. Kirk Gibson told reporters today that they could perhaps use someone like Branyan or Wily Mo Pena as a late-inning power-bat. "That’s a possibility that we would have a guy on our club kind of like that. A veteran guy that can influence the game when we need somebody to drive the ball. Even in a perfect spot, earlier in the game with a couple of guys on when we’re looking to take our pitcher out -- somebody that can pound the ball like that." Of course, quite what that would mean for the roster remains to be seen, but it doesn't sound good for Ryan Roberts or Brandon Allen. Unless we DFA Xavier Nady and use them in left?
The rest of the Arizona pitching wasn't awful, but wasn't brilliant either. They allowed two runs over four innings, on six hits and a walk, with a total of three strikeouts. Micah Owings worked one frame, posting a zero despite two baserunners. Esmerling Vasquez took the loss, allowing Milwaukee the go-ahead run on three hits - though he did a nice job, getting out of the second-and-third, no outs jam this created, without further damage. Kevin Mulvey pitched the last two frames, giving up a run on two hits. No errors for the D-backs or Brewers, and neither team attempted a stolen base either.
Not quite E-less baseball by Arizona in the night-cap, as Geoff Blum committed an error on the first Colorado batter of the evening [they were the 'home' team, so that was the bottom of the first]. That runner came around to score, and things might have been worse, but for Chris Young and Duke combining to nail Troy-boy at the plate, as he tried to score from first. The second frame started off the same way - another error by Blum, and the next batter ended Duke's night, after only seven batters, on a ball which Nick Piecoro described as "smoked" on Twitter - it seems Zach just couldn't get out of the way. However, Nick reports Duke is "very optimistic" that it's nothing serious.
Pressed into service sooner than expected, Jarrod Parker did well. He cleaned up the two on, no out jam left behind, though did load the bases on a walk, before getting the third out. His second frame was even more impressive, retiring the side in order, including a pair of strikeouts, with Mileywitzki staring at strike three. Kam Mickolio was also impressive, striking out the side around a walk - that was seven K's in total for our pitchers, through the front four innings.
Mike Hampton couldn't add to the tally in the fifth, but did post a zero. I suspect the injury to Duke is why he was left in for a second frame - even though he never even worked a full inning in the majors last year. And the wheels fell off completely in the sixth, as he allowed four hits and a wild pitch while getting the first two outs. Yonata Ortage relieved in typical bullpen style (Arizons 2010 version), giving the Rockies back the lead, as both inherited runners scored before he got out of the frame. Joe Paterson had a good seventh, getting two K's versus a single, and Josh Collmenter went one better in the eighth, fanning two of three batters faced - 13 strikeouts total in eight IP.
On offense, a Young sacrifice fly gave Arizona the lead with one out in the first, and after the Rockies had leveled things in their half, Henry Blanco gave us the advantage back in the fifth, uncorking his first long-ball of spring. Young then doubled the lead, with an RBI double in the following frame, but as noted, Colorado came back. After falling behind 5-3, we did get the tying run on base in the seventh, only for Cody Ransom to come up empty. We repeated that with one out in the ninth, but Brandon Allen and A.J. Pollock left him there. Young and Willie Bloomquist each had two hits, while Roberts had a knock and one of our two walks.
A quick reminder that tomorrow's game is on television, so we will have a Gameday Thread, providing someone remembers to post it. Maybe we can stop the losing streak at five. And with that, we're off to watch Battle For Los Angeles. Note, not Battle: Los Angeles - far too much shakicam there for Mrs. SnakePit - but the SyFy/Asylum mockbuster instead. Happy Saturday night, folks. Oh, and every time I see footage of the Japanese quake, I want to start humming the Cloverfield theme. Does that make me a bad person?