Record 22-7-3. Change on 2015: +6.5
Things looked pretty dire for the Diamondbacks, as Shelby Miller looked distinctly underwhelming and the Athletics pounded their way out to a 7-0 lead after four innings this afternoon. But a six-run fifth for Arizona pulled them back into the game, and they continued to pile on, capped off by a two-run homer from Chad Oberacker in the 8th inning. Don't worry - I must admit I'd never heard of him before either: It's not surprising, as Chad had exactly one previous at-bat in his career with this organization, on March 22, That's because he was selected - ironically, from the A's - in the third round of the Rule 5 draft (Triple-A portion) in December, Welcome to Arizona, Mr. Oberacker.
It was just one of 15 hits pounded out this afternoon by the Diamondbacks. Phil Gosselin led the way, with three hits and five RBI, including a bases-clearing triple in that fifth inning. Welington Castillo then followed immediately with his fourth home-run of spring. Rickie Weeks' Jr went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored, while Jean Segura, Jake Lamb and Tuffy Gosewisch all each reached base safely twice, on a hit and a walk. While there's some argument that we feasted on lesser pitchers, it's worth noting we scored six runs on eight hits in 1.2 innings from their closer Sean Doolittle and Ryan Dull, also expected to be part of the Oakland bullpen next week.
Shelby Miller also pitched. It didn't go very well. Can we leave it at that?
Things went rather better thereafter, though Enrique Burgos struggled in the sixth inning, given up two runs on a home-run and pair of walks. That may have set him back in the very tight race for the last spot (or spots, if Josh Collmenter is unavailable) in the bullpen. However, his ERA is still only 3.24, which is not terrible. Silvino Bracho worked 1.2 scoreless innings of one-hit ball, with three strikeouts, however, and with his spring ERA now 1.42,. he may have an edge. Brad Ziegler worked a scoreless fifth, and Nick Sarianides loaded the bases in the ninth on a hit and two walks, but also struck out the side to pick up a save at the end of this roller-coaster disguised as a game.
The Diamondbacks will wrap up Cactus League action tomorrow, with a game against the Rockies at Salt River Fields. Once again, it's an early start, with a 12:10pm first pitch. I think Braden Shipley is scheduled to start there, in the place of Patrick Corbin. Arizona is assured of the notional Cactus League crown, being four games in front of the next-best Angels. but will lose the overall spring crown to the Nationals, who have been an even more incandescent 18-4 over in Florida.