A brisk two hours and 28 minutes is all it took for the Diamondbacks to dispose of the other half of Chicago this afternoon at Salt River Fields, in front of another record, sellout crowd [It might have been 12,559 or 12,599, depending on whether you believe Steve Gilbert's Twitter or MLB Gameday, respectively. Given how flaky the latter has been, I'm putting my faith in Mr. Gilbert. #InSteveWeTrust] Daniel Hudson struck out the side in the first, and the bullpen worked five scoreless innings to give Arizona their first consecutive wins in the 2012 Cactus League campaign. Their record is now 5-9, which looks a sight more respectable than it was on Thursday morning...
Hudson started for Arizona, and carved up the top of the White Sox order like a honeybaked ham, getting their leadoff guy looking, and the next two batters swinging, for an impeccable start to the game. The second inning was not quite as crisp, but Hudson would have got away with it, if it hadn't been for
you meddling kids the opposing pitcher, who delivered a two-run single with two outs. However, normal service was resumed, Huddy retiring the last seven batters faced, to end the day with a line of four innings pitched, with two runs allowed on two hits and a walk plus a hit batter, with an impressive six punch-outs.
The pitchers that followed were hardly any less impressive, holding Chicago to two hits and a walk, while posting five more zeroes. Mike Zagurski allowed a two-out walk, but the runner was erased by Miguel Montero and Rusty Ryal, and Takashi Saito struck out one and allowed on hit in the sixth. The pick of the relief crop was likely Charles Brewer, who followed in Hudson's foot-steps by striking out three consecutive White Sox hitters, and four overall in his two innings, with a ground-ball single to left the only base-runner permitted. Brad Ziegler closed things out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, to get the save.
The offense wasn't quite as productive as yesterday, picking up six hits, only a couple more than Chicago. However, they got big hits when they needed them, and took advantage of some defensive indifference by the visitors. In the first inning, Geoff Blum drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single to give us the lead. Then, after the White Sox had tied it up, Gerardo Parra reached on an error, advanced to third on another error following a Chris Young single, and Paul Goldschmidt drove them both in with a triple down the left-field line. The Diamondbacks had only one hit thereafter, an Adam Eaton triple with two outs in the sixth.
No-one reached double figures in the Gameday Thread, so this will be a "no award" day. You'd think people had better things to do than stare at a dubiously-accurate application on a Friday afternoon. Sheesh. Tomorrow, the team heads out to Surprise (surprise!) to take on the Rangers. It'll be Joe Saunders first start since he took a sharp rap on the shin at Goodyear, forcing his first-inning removal, so hopefully all will be well there.
Witnessed an intense Stephen Drew workout today. Hard sprinting. Lots of starting and stopping. Resistance band running. Looked solid.— Grace and Sutton(@dbacksbooth) March 16, 2012
That's good to hear, though when asked, Sutton reckoned Drew's return would still be the first half of May, meaning he'd miss 30 games or so. On the other side, Nick Piecoro points out earlier in the wee how much Drew hasn't yet done: "He hasn't even hit outside of a batting cage. He hasn't run at full speed. He hasn't tried to slide. He hasn't run the bases, hasn't accelerated or decelerated at game speed." Based on Sutton's comment, it seem the last may have been addressed, but patience is key. Much as we want Drew [and Bloomquist + McDonald's mediocre numbers this spring don't dampen that ardor[, rushing back too soon and doing more damage would be worse.