Sellout crowd of 11,064 today at Salt River Fields. It's #Dbacks 12th sellout this spring surpassing last year's mark of 11.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) March 29, 2012
There's something kinda odd about this. Because this "sellout crowd" is actually some 1,500 people less than have been present at Salt River Fields for other D-backs games. Take SnakePitSpringFest, for example: another "sellout", but on that occasion, the crowd was 12,513. Do they count as sold out, if all the seats are full, regardless of the numbers on the grass? Inquiring minds want to know... [Edit: and now they do...]
Oh, and a baseball game happened.
Tyler Skaggs took the mound for Arizona, with Trevor Cahill getting his worrk in on the back fields instead. Skagg's numbers haven't been the best of our prospects this spring, to say the least, but as blue bulldog pointed out, that's not necessarily of any relevance. It is also true that Skaggs' ERA was bloated by a horrible first outing, in which he seemed to be overthrowing and suffered control issues as a result, walking four batters in less than an inning. After today's game, he has since thrown 13.2 innings with a more respectable 4.61 ERA. Better yet, his K:BB ratio in that time is 15:3, largely against major-league hitters. Not bad for a 20-year old kid.
Today, our young left-hander worked 4.2 innings, scattering six hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. One run crossed the plate in both the third and fourth innings. The latter driven in by victim of the Pit, Ryan Spilborghs, and the former was perhaps the shakiest moment, as Skaggs loaded the bases, before getting Andy LaRoche to strike out swinging. He also finished the day strong, fanning Carlos Santana for his last batter of the day, being lifted for Takashi Saito - no apparent injury, it just looked like he'd reached his pitch-count for the afternoon, having faced a total of 22 batters.
There was an unfortunate start to the game for the Indians, as they lost their starting pitcher before he retired a batter. He strained his right hamstring trying to field a ball off the bat of Willie Bloomquist, and had to be removed from the game. He was replaced by
former Dbacks pitching coach Bryan Price, and Arizona got on the board in the second inning, on three consecutive singles by Miguel Montero, Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt. A pair of sacrifice flies then brought Young around to score, Gerardo Parra getting the RBI.
The Diamondbacks then blew the game open the next time up, courtesy of Miggy's first home-run of spring. It was a three-run shot, preceded by an Aaron Hill double and walk to Justin Upton - Montero deposited a 2-2 pitch to the top of the batter's eye in center. Our catcher had two hits, getting his spring average up to .343, while Goldschmidt reached twice, on a hit and a walk. However, we were outhit overall by Cleveland, the margin being 9-13, and somehow, Aaron Hill managed to ground into a double-play with no-one on first. Willie Bloomquist was on second, and ended up out at third: Gameday is unclear on the details...
The Indians clawed their way back from the deficit that resulted, with single tallies off Brett Lorin and Mike Zagurski in the sixth and sevent. David Hernandez and Jensen Lewis finished things off, the latter notching his seventh successive scoreless inning of spring. However, it wasn't enough to spare him, the team announcing after the game that Lewis has been reassigned to Reno; outfielder Adam Eaton was also told his spring fling is over, and will be reporting to Double-A Mobile.
Bcawz led all posters in the Gameday Thread, providing a useful play-by-play for those whose employers have seen fit to block mlb.com... Clefo and NASCARbernet were the only others to get past ten, but also taking part were: grimmy01, blue bulldog, SenSurround, txzona, diannaheikkilacrna, Jim McLennan, Baja F1, rfffr, Shawnwck, Marc Fournier, jjwaltrip and Britback. Got a reply back from Steve in regard to the attendance:
@kennokishi @AZSnakepit ~ Don't forget about standing room only tickets. That I believe accounts for the difference.— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) March 29, 2012
Interestingly, the official capacity of Salt River Fields, per Wikipedia, is only 11,000, so technically, any attendance over that is a "sell out". That capacity is clearly more of a guideline than an actual limit, as the team's average crowd this spring has been well above that - 11,662, the highest in the Major Leagues. The team just announced this afternoon that the total complex attendance is now 359,326 - with six games left there, that has already set a new Cactus League record for a two-team park, breaking the record set there last year. It's clear there has been no sophomore slump experienced in this department.
It's off to Tempe for Arizona tomorrow afternoon, as they head to Diablo to take on the Angels there. We will actually be seeing one of the members of the rotation, Josh Collmenter getting the start for the D-backs.