Though he took the loss again, Trevor Cahill didn't seem to pitch that badly. From what I could see on TV, his pitches seemed to have plenty of life, and he was generally keeping the ball down. He allowed his share of hits, certainly, but most of them seemed to be ground balls that got through the infield, rather than line-drives into the gaps, as had been happening earlier in spring. Also worth noting: a ground-out to air-out ratio of 9:1 for Cahill tonight. Still a few control issues though, with three walks over his six innings, scattering eight hits and striking out five. He was charged with three runs, giving up single tallies to Chicago in the first, fifth and sixth innings.
Oliver Perez, J.J. Put z and Will Harris took things the rest of the way, with three scoreless innings of relief. Perez looked best, with a perfect frame in the seventh. Putz worked around a couple of base-runners in the eighth, and Harris allowed a two-out walk, then picked the runner off first to face the minimum in that inning as well, and struck out a couple of batters too. With a spot in the bullpen apparently opening up for Harris, albeit for a reason he'd probably rather not have, it's good to see him continuing his solid spring, with an ERA now down below two, and I think that excludes his scoreless work in Sydney.
The starting position players did very little to write home about. It took Arizona until the fourth inning to manage their first hit off former Diamondback Edwin Jackson, Aaron Hill singling with one out. There was better in the fifth, with hits by Miguel Montero and Didi Gregorius, plus a walk by A.J. Pollock, but there was a double-play off the bat of Mark Trumbo in the middle there, and the inning came to nothing as Cahill grounded out. Martin Prado singled in the seventh, but it was then Montero's turn to hit into a double-play. Gregorius had a pair of hits, and there were probably a couple of cases where we were robbed by good Cubs defense.
After seven innings of futility, the bats finally made noise in the eighth, with two outs and the backup roster in effect. Cliff Pennington spanked the ball down the right-field line, for a triple. Evan Marzilli then ended the shutout with a double over the head of the center fielder, and Mike Jacobs walked, to put the tying run on base for Arizona. Aaron Cunningham also walked, loading the bases and bringing up Lord Tuffy of Gosewisch, but he struck out to end the inning. We put two on in the ninth, via a Didi infield hit and Chris Owings getting hit on the helmet (by a curveball, and he kinda ducked into it, so no damage done), but Pennington grounded out to end the game.
The final meaningless game of 2013 takes place tomorrow afternoon, again at Chase and again against the Chicago Cubs. Bronson Arroyo will be on the mound for Arizona: if it seems like a while since we've seen him, that'd be because it is...