Overall, this was one a game that the D-backs probably would have been better defaulting. One of the feeds I follow on Twitter is World War 2 Tweets from 1941, and I think fewer casualties were reported there tonight, than from Salt River Fields. I'm simply going to embed what I saw scrolling up my feed as we watched Hell. Please note: this is not me just taking the lazy way out of recapping a meaningless end of spring training game. Well, not entirely....
Oh, boy. Now Willie Bloomquist is out of the game. Walked gingerly off the field after he fouled a ball back.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) March 27, 2013
Marte now playing LF for the D-backs in the T5-Kubel has left the game but no word on why— Kyndra de St. Aubin (@Kyndra620) March 27, 2013
Dear god - will someone please think of the children? Who will survive, and what will be left of them? This didn't feel so much like a baseball game, as an installment in The Hunger Games: all it needed was Claudius Templesmith replacing Steve Berthiaume on commentary. But let's leap forward and see what is the latest information is on these three:
- Aaron Hill. Let's start with the good news. Hill was removed for precautionary reasons after being hit on the pinkie. It didn't need any X-rays, he says he feels fine and fully expects to be in the line-up tomorrow.
- Willie Bloomquist: Not so good here. He left the dugout with a trainer, to go to the clubhouse, and the injury was described as a "right oblique strain." He apparently didn't feel a "pop," but there will be an MRI tomorrow to assess the damage. Good job we've still got John McDo... Er, never mind.
- Jason Kubel: Kyndra de St Aubin reported, "he banged his knee Sunday & ankle giving out on him since then. 2 might be related w/ nerve damage issue from surgery in '04," but added that Kubel is "not real concerned about it...just being cautious during spring."
Ok. With all that out of the way, what of the game? Ian Kennedy looked pretty damn impressive, facing only two batters over the minimum through 6.2 scoreless innings. He allowed a lead-off single, and then uncorked a wild pitch and a Miguel Montero passed ball, but stranded the runner at third, and allowed just one more hit, another single, and a walk. He retired 12 in a row, and 18 of 19 between that first hit and a bunt single that opened the seventh inning: the runner reached second on a Montero error, was bunted to third, but a shallow fly out kept him there, and ended Kennedy's night - Brad Ziegler got the final out of the frame.
Admittedly, the Diamondbacks had as much trouble against Jered Weaver, also being held to two hits and a walk by him, over seven scoreless innings. The Angels took the lead in the eighth, after a double and RBI single off Heath Bell, but he escaped further damage, with the help of confirmed backup catcher Wil Nieves. He showed off the defensive prowess which got him the job by gunning down two base-runners during the innings. Former Diamondback Trent Oeltjen was the second of these, ending the frame. J.J. Putz closed things out with a perfect ninth, striking out two.
In between Bell and Putz, however, Arizona did all their damage. They scored seven in the bottom of the eighth, and that was giving the Angels and out, Cliff Pennington providing the daily TOOTBLAN by getting picked off second base. Eric Chavez got things started, homering with one out to tie things up. However, the rest of the damage was done with two outs, as six consecutive Diamondbacks reached base and scored, before A.J. Pollock performed the unenviable feat of making the first and last outs, both on fly-balls to center. Alfredo Marte had the big blow in every sense, a three-run homer; Eric Hinske had a two-run double and a Wil Nieves single helped the other run home.
An economic performance by Arizona, scoring seven runs on seven hits. Bloomquist's replacement Pennington had two of those, with Gerardo Parra walking twice and also stealing a base, with everything else scattered around the team. It was a sellout at Salt River Fields - though with about six hundred less present than for our sellout on Sunday [derisive sniff]. The victory pushed the Diamondbacks record this spring to 15-14, the first time we've been above .500 for quite some time, and means we've won seven of the last ten games. Yeah, it's only spring, but still... Better to finish strong.
Tomorrow is the last SRF game, against the Giants, with WBC hero [Americans not included] Nelson Figueroa due to start. I imagine, with it being against a divisional opponent, Trevor Cahill will get his work in on the back fields, instead of facing hitters from a team he'll likely face four or five times in the season.