Record 12-4-1. Change on 2015: +2.
This match pitted the team with the best record in the Cactus League, against the team with the worst record, but based on the final score, you wouldn't know which was which. The Diamondbacks imploded utterly, and embarrassingly, this was a spring game broadcast nationally on ESPN, as well as in front of a sold-out Mesa crowd. I noted in the preview the unusual presence of non-roster invitee Brett Hayes as starting catcher. I don't know whether or not he was responsible for calling the pitches tonight, but whoever it was probably wants to re-evaluate their strategy. Because it clearly wasn't working, Arizona being tagged for a pre-season high fifteen runs.
Archie Bradley set the tone for this one early, with an outing which appears to have solidified Robbie Ray's grip on the fifth rotation spot, setting Bradley's spring back considerably. He only lasted one out into the third inning, the result of a 37-pitch first frame which saw five of the first six Cubs batters who came to home-plate, also cross it. That was the result of a walk and four hits, all of them for extra bases. While Bradley recovered with a 1-2-3 second, two walks and an RBI double in the third ended his night. The final line was an ugly six runs over 2.1 innings, on five hits and three walks, with a trio of strikeouts.
After Joey Krehbiel mopped up the rest of the third, there wasn't much better luck for our potential set-up and closer, as Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard both had their issues. Brad did at least get through his inning of work, despite allowing two runs on two more extra-base hits. But Clippard only retired one of five Cubs faced, allowing a walk, hitting a batter, then giving up a double and a triple. He was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning. Daniel Hudson allowed a solo home-run in the sixth, and Chicago finished the inning with an eleven-run cushion. Curiously, to that point, every one of the Cubs' ten hits had been for extra bases.
Not much to add otherwise. No Diamondbacks pitcher recorded more than two outs without conceding a run, Keith Hessler performing mop-up duty with a four-hit two run bottom of the eighth. In terms of pure number hits, we weren't disgraced, only going down 14-10. But in terms of extra-base hits, the Cubs clobbered the D-backs 11-2, with a Gabby Guerrero double and Jean Segura home-run our only contributions, each responsible for diving in a run. Segura and Paul Goldschmidt also stole a base, but bright spots this evening were hard to find. We even lost Matt Reynolds with what looks like a ribcage strain or something. He'll be evaluated tomorrow.
I'll leave the final word on this one to tonight's starting pitcher:
The sun will come out tomorrow. Back at it in the AM— Archie Bradley (@ArchieBradley7) March 18, 2016
Tomorrow., it's a game against the Dodgers at Salt River, with Zack Godley gettng his start. Which probably means he is not in the rotation, as we are pointedly keeping starting pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray on the back fields for their starts...