After Paul "Solid" Goldschmidt came off the bench with two outs in the ninth, and gave the Diamondbacks the lead with a pinch-hit RBI double, it looked more than possible that Arizona might be about to pick up the victory in Peoria this afternoon. However, such optimism had reckoned without the efforts of reliever Brian Sweeney. The jury may still be out on whether Jesus can hit a curve-ball - but the Padres' Jesus Guzman clearly had no problems with the 82 mph, belt-high slider Sweeney delivered, depositing it over the fence in right for a three-run, walk-off homer. The Diamondbacks record in Cactus League play is now 2-6.
All of Arizona's starters gave up at least one hit per inning, totaling 15 allowed over 8.1 frames. Walks once again outnumbered strikeouts, 3-2, bringing our K:BB ratio this spring to a mediocre 37:30, which is probably driving Kevin Towers mad. Daniel Hudson was first to the mound for Arizona, and allowed four hits and two walks over his two innings. The bulk of those came in a first which saw three hits, a walk, a runner thrown out at the plate on a relay from Wily Mo Pena to Ryan Roberts to Henry Blanco, a run-scoring error on the next play by Roberts, and Hudson finally escape the inning with the bases loaded.
Zach Kroenke was first out of the bullpen, but the lefty gave up a couple of hits and an earned run, so didn't do too much to improve his ranking in the LOOGY standings. After him came Jarrod Parker, for two frames this time: he told Steve Gilbert afterward he was "Definitely a lot more comfortable. I relaxed a little bit. I threw a little less in the 'pen. Going two innings, I wanted to get through the two clean and stay with a good energy level the whole time." It's probably worth going into his outing a bit further - it looks like the Peoria Sports Complex has the full pitch-f/X system in place, as MLB Gameday has full stats, including speed and pitch-location, for today's game.
To the first batter faced, his fastball was at 91-92 mph, but Parker warmed up subsequently, getting up as high as 95 mph subsequently, so there doesn't seem to be any problem with his velocity. It took him 13 pitches against fours batter to get through the fourth,. allowing a double with one out. Parker was slightly more extended in the fifth, which required 18 pitches, against to four batters, thanks to a two-out single. Of the 31 pitches thrown in total, the vast majority (25) were fastballs. Jarrod also tossed up four curveballs, in the 74-76 mph range, and a couple of sliders, at 81 and 82 mph, to Nick Hundley.
After that, Kam Mickolio came close to pitching a clean inning, allowing only a two-out single, while Esmerling Vasquez saw his chances of a roster spot take a hit in the seventh. Another inning, another earned run on two hits for Vasquez, who has given up five along with a hit batter in three appearances. That will do nothing to enhance his chances in the American Idol competition which is our bullpen. Carlos Rosa escaped a jam in the eighth, putting men on the corners with one out, and was in line for the W, thanks to Goldschmidt's hit - until Sweeney put an end to those hopes.
The Diamondbacks were solidly outhit this afternoon, 15-7, though we are fractionally ahead overall after the first eight games, having got 82 hits while allowing 80. Ryan Roberts continued his good spring, with a hit and two walks. I know it's a tiny sample size, but he has gone 8-for-12 with seven walks, for a slash line of .667/.789/.833. Put another way, he could now go 0-for-18 with no walks, and still have an OBP over .400. Little wonder GM Kevin Towers said of our tattooed utility guy yesterday, "He's played real well and he's been focused and he's done everything that we've asked If I had to pick one guy out that I've been most impressed with, it's been him."
Justin Upton added a couple of hits, driving in two runs. His 12 total bases are tied with Goldschmidt for the team lead, and he has started off spring strongly, going 7-for-16 with three extra-base hits, though has yet to draw any walks. Today, it looked like Roberts and Juan Miranda were atttempting to corner the market there; the latter showed good plate discipline,. picking up three free passes, and has five for the spring, second to Roberts. While he has only gone 2-for-9, an OBP of .500 is pretty satisfactory. At the other end are Cole Gillespie and Tony Abreu: the former is 1-for-10 with five K's, the latter 4-for-19 with no walks or extra-base hits.
It's the Padres again tomorrow: Ian Kennedy, Mike Hampton and Juan Gutierrez.are among the scheduled pitchers for Arizona.