The trip to Salt River Fields was enhanced by the discovery of an entrance that allows you to reach the event parking section without having to pay: woo-hoo! That's $5 saved. The incident with the hat delayed us only slightly, and we got into the park to see Trevor Cahill get out of the inning, after putting the first two on base, with a lead-off double and a hit batter. We made our way around to the left-field berm, where we'd arranged to meet Al, from Bleed Cubbie Blue, and his friend Miriam. With hindsight, our vague meet-up plan of "we'll be highish up on the left-field berm", probably could have been a little more explicit.
But who knew a Monday afternoon game would be a complete sell-out? Or that there would be more than, say, three people wearing Cubs gear there? Still, the wonders of modern technology provided the answer, and with a little texting and the old-fashioned standby of "waving furiously", we located them, and the precious patch of empty turf beside them, which Al had been defending furiously against all-comers [I hadn't realized that you could take a flamethrower into the ballpark. Who knew?] We unfolded our cushions, removed the snacks illicitly smuggled into the ballpark, and I yanked my trousers up, three pounds of trail mix having left then hanging lower than I like.
Meanwhile, Cahill was looking pretty decent, striking out the Cubs in the second and, in the end, allowing one run on three hits over his four innings of work. He walked none, and struck out five batters though did uncork a wild pitch, as well as the previously mentioned HBP. The Cubs did get on the board first, in the top of the third, but the D-backs came back immediately, Cahill (possessor of a career .132 OBP) drawing a walk and Adam Eaton following up with his second home-run of the season. Aaron Hill doubled, and Paul Goldschmidt added an RBI single, but gave us our Daily TOOTBLAN by trying to stretch it into a double [great throw from the CF though].
Hill had to leave the game after his hit: according to Steve Gilbert, he has been battling a stomach bug, and I suspect legging out a double might not have been the best thing for a wobbly tummy! Nick Ahmed took over for him at second. The teams traded solo, one out homers in the fifth inning. Eury De La Rosa gave it up for the D-backs, embarrassingly enough, to the Cubs' starter Jeff Samardzija - though having been discussing with Al whether we should use the DH in the NL, this was a point against his argument that pitchers can't hit! Didi Gregorius got his first long-ball as a D-back, and since Al says, Samardzija will be the Cubs Opening Day starter, it was a good effort.
That made the score 4-2 to the D-backs after five, and was pretty much the high point of the game, because David Holmberg did not have a good day, to put it mildly. He faced 11 batters, and could retire just four of them, the others reaching on five hits, a walk and a hit batter. He started well enough, getting Cuban prospect Jorge Soler and Alfonso Soriano to strike out swinging. But he couldn't get the third out and a two-run homer ensued. The seventh inning was even more disastrous, as five of the six Cubs faced reached base, before Holmberg was pulled with three runs in, two on and one out. Rommie Lewis mopped up, stranding both inherited runners.
The D-backs got one run back on an RBI single by Chris Owings in the last of the seventh, but that was it - albeit, it seemed from our vantage positions in left field, not exactly helped by some questionable calls from the first-base umpire. [He appears to have been wearing blue for a reason, shall we say...] Bryan Woodall and Bo Schultz pitched scoreless innings for Arizona, but the major excitement as far as we were concerned, was seeing Tuffy Gosewisch, and getting to explain to Al + Miriam why we were so enamored of his truly baseball-appropriate name. The loss dropped Arizona to 6-9, and we still haven't won consecutive games this month.
Mrs. SnakePit insists I also insert a condemnatory paragraph about the Wild Noodles concession at SRF. After making her wait for 10 minutes while a supposedly "fresh" batch of noodles were cooked up, what she was provided with was so incredibly salty and slimey, the noodles were entirely inedible. The staff absolutely refused to exchange or do anything about it, so if you're going to the park, we'd strongly recommend giving them a wide berth. Wild Noodles? Vile Noodles, more like... Still, I enjoyed the garlic knots we picked up from Crust, next door. And it looks like we must have been close to Steve Berthiaume, comparing his Tweeted picture to ours up top...
Amazing weather here at @saltriverfields Feeling the Burm with #Dbacks fans in LF!! twitter.com/BertDbacks/sta…— Steve Berthiaume (@BertDbacks) March 11, 2013
It's back to Salt River Fields again tomorrow afternoon, but we'll technically be the visiting team, as we take on the Colorado Rockies. It was going to be Wade Miley, but he has been scratched with bicep tightness - more on that in the recap tomorrow morning. He has been replaced by Josh Collmenter. It's a split-squad day, so the team will also be playing the Mariners up in Peoria, with Patrick Corbin starting there.