Meh. I think enthusiasm for this one largely waned after Joe Saunders allowed three runs in the third, putting the Chicago White Sox 4-0 up. It seems so long ago as well: it was last night, surely there's no-one about who still cares about such a distant event in baseball history? But guess I'd better get used to it, since I'll be doing the same thing tomorrow for this evening's game, SnakePitSpringFest. Call this recap spring training for spring training.
So... There were some hits. Arizona scored some runs. They also conceded some. Which is an improvement over Wednesday's 0-0 tie, I suppose.
Joe Saunders' spring ERA did go down. Just. However, after allowing four runs in four innings last night, it still sits at a meaty 9.31, with probably two starts left before Opening Day. Joe has been tagged for 20 hits in 9.2 innings, with a K:BB ratio of 6:5. Does any of this sound familiar? It should, since Saunders struggled mightily last spring as well, to the point where his spot in the the Arizona rotation was called into question by Kirk Gibson at an even later stage in Cactus League play, Kirk Gibson saying, "He’s competing for one of the last two spots." Numbers were similarly poor, or even worse: a 12.46 ERA in 17.1 innings, with equally anemic K:BB numbers, at 10:9.
I don't think there's quite the same doubt over the rotation this year, and Saunders' stats aren't even the worst among our likely starting five, with Josh Collmenter's ERA, well into the teens. [I was going to insert an R. Kelly reference for that, but the SB Nation legal adviser standing behind me started coughing up blood all over the keyboard]. While Saunders' season ended up being pretty solid, it is perhaps worth noting that he got off to a slow start, with an ERA that was still over five at the middle of May. Be interesting to see whether or not the pattern is repeated in 2012.
After Saunders, Brett Lorin took the mound, and hit the first road-bump of his season, giving up three hits in his two innings, including an two-run inside-the-park home-run allowed to A.J. Pierzynski. The ball deflected off the top of the wall in center and ended up way over in right, to the obvious and unprepared surprise of Justin Upton. You can see the whole play unfold here, and one trusts J-Up won't be caught quite as napping during the regular season. Said Pierzynski of his first inside-the-parker, "I saw [Sox 3rd-base coach] Joe waving me, and when I hit third, Blummer was like, 'You gotta go, tubby." Ah, spring training.
Young had put Arizona in the board in the top of the previous inning, smacking his third home-run, and continues a fine spring in which he is hitting .429. Joe Paterson and Bryan Shaw took the game the rest of the way, each posting zeroes, though Paterson's inning included two hits and a walk. A.J. Pollock got Arizona's final run with a long ball of his own in the seventh. Geoff Blum reached base three times, with a hit and a couple of walks, while Aaron Hill picked up a couple of hits. Ryan Roberts had a hit and a walk, and Miguel Montero worked himself a couple of free passes, meaning he has as many walks as K's this spring.
No particularly dominating performances in the Gameday Thread, with 14 commentors combining for 123 comments. jjwaltrip was the leader, being the only one to reach 20, with asteroid and NASCARbernet - at the risk of repeating myself - well into the teens... Also present: Clefo, Ridster09, SongBird, Jim McLennan, Dallas D'Back Fan, snakecharmer, mrssoco, Rockkstarr12, soco, txzona and PR151. We'll be back in action tonight, going to SRF for the game against the Royals, which sees Trevor Cahill taking the mound, and Tyler Skaggs scheduled to follow him there. Eye-witness report and pics on that tomorrow morning(ish...).