Armando Galarraga muddied the starting pitcher picture, producing a quality start for the Diamondbacks down in Tucson, as they faced the Dodgers this afternoon. It was the second Christina Taylor Green charity game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, and was played in rather less tornado-esque conditions than the first, with winds a relatively zephyr-like 16 mph, less than half that recorded during the original. A crowd of 10,820 were on hand to see the Diamondbacks pull out a comeback victory, scoring six unanswered runs to beat the Dodgers 6-3, and improve their spring record to 10-21.
"I need to get out of the first inning. I just need to be aggressive, because after the first inning I've been getting into a rhythm." So said Galarraga the other day, and he did that, retiring the Dodgers in order, then getting the first two batters in the second as well. However, that difficult third out proved elusive; it took Galarraga four attempts to get it, by which time Los Angeles had scored twice. They added another run in the third, but our pitcher finished strong, retiring the last eleven faced. His final line of three runs on five hits in six innings, with no walks and two strikeouts, was certainly decent - but was it decent enough? He has one more start, and I think a decsion might go to the wire.
The rest of the way, the ball was handed to Tyler Skaggs, who followed up his impressive debut with another good outing, allowing one hit and no walks, over three scoreless innings, striking out two. That gives him a total of six shutout frames, on three hits, no walks and six K's. Even though this was a half-strength Dodger squad [literally - the other half face the Mariners in the valley tonight], it was still an impressive showing, from a kid who is still a teenager, not turning twenty until July. I think it'll be a lot of fun to follow his progress through our system over the next couple of years.
The offense did well, getting a total of 13 hits, but were probably helped by Dodgers' starter Tim Redding having to leave in the fourth inning, because of lower back pain on his right side. He'd done well in the front three, holding Arizona scoreless, but was greeted in the fourth by a Chris Young single and Juan Miranda home-run, cutting the deficit to one run. One batter later, he was gone, and that forced the amusingly-named Rubby de La Rosa into an extended stint. A three-run seventh proved his undoing, with a bunt from Skaggs, a Ryan Roberts double and Gerardo Parra single each driving in a run.
Paul Goldschmidt completed the scoring with a solo shot in the eighth, off a name Arizona fans might recognize - Oscar Villarreal. He pitched for us from 2003-05, before being dealt to Atlanta in the Johnny Estrada trade; he hasn't been in the majors since 2008, but is trying to make it back as a Dodger. Anyhoo... Two hits apiece for Roberts and Parra, but shortstop Cody Ransom was the offensive star, going 3-for-3, though he did also make an error. And Justin Upton was caught stealing for the sixth time in seven attempts. U R Doin It Rong, Justin...
Good news on at least one injury front, with J.J. Putz reporting no back pain after his bullpen session today. Kirk Gibson said, "He threw fine. Everything went well. Nothing bad at all. Doesn't feel it at all." Next step will be another outing on Sunday, but it's not clear whether this will be in the game against the Royals, or on a back field. It seems kinda weird to have our closer have retired exactly four batters this spring, and we're still discussing the possibility of him being ready for Opening Day. I know he said he didn't need many outings to be ready, but c'mon...
I'll be back later, with a recap of this evening's game against the White Sox.