Record: 5-3-1. Change on 2015: 0.
In 2015, Zack Greinke left 86.5% of the baserunners he allowed on base. That was the highest percentage by any qualifying pitcher in the the majors since Pedro Martinez stranded 86.6% in 2000 for the Red Sox. Last year, across all pitchers, the average was only 72.9%, and that gap is one of the reasons Grienke is generally thought unlikely to be as great in 2016 as he was last year [though his figures for the three seasons since moving to LA have all been significantly above average, 80.8%, 79.7% and 86.6%]. Is there a skill to stranding base-runners? Somewhat. High-K pitchers tend to be better at it, but beyond that? Harder to say.
However, this afternoon was perhaps a glimpse - albeit with the usual small sample warning! - of what Greinke can do. After a clean first inning, and also retiring the first batter in the second, three consecutive singles then loaded the bags with Padres. Concern? Zack laughs in the face of such things, as he promptly dialed-up an infield fly and a groundout to escape the threat and leave San Diego scoreless. A one-out single in the third was promptly erased by a double play, and Greinke's day was over, having joined Robbie Ray in throwing five scoreless innings to start his spring. Today's outing required only 38 pitches from Zack, 24 of them for strikes. No K's, but no walkes either.
Tyler Wagner followed Greinke out, and vultured his second win of the pre-season, allowing one run over his three innings of work, on three hits and a walk with one strikeout. The latter were, for some reason, hard to come by for Diamondbacks pitchers, who managed only a pair of K's this afternoon. The other was by Andrew Chafin, but he struggled in his second inning of work, failing to retire any of the four batters faced, three of whom scored. He had to be bailed out by Keith Hessler, who got a key double-play, after San Diego had put the tying run on base with no outs in the eighth. Sam LeCure worked a scoreless ninth.
Once again, however, the batters had their hitting boots on. If there were free tacos in play during the pre-season, the team would have delivered them in seven out of the nine games played by Arizona thus far. All told, in their nine Cactus League games, they have scored 56 times, which is ten more runs than at the corresponding point in 2015. Yes, it's still meaningless spring training. After being held scoreless through four, Arizona brought five across in the fifth: Brandon Drury had a two-run homer, Chris Owings an RBI single, and Paul Goldschmidt a sacrifice fly, with the final run scoring on a wild pitch.
Otherwise, multi-hit games for several of the players generally seen as lower in the pecking order this afternoon. Two hits apiece for Chris Herrmann (DHing today), Joaquin Arias, Zach Borenstein and Jason Bourgeois. There were also three stolen-bases: Bourgeois had one, while Socrates Brito and Owings pulled off a double-steal in that fifth, setting the table for Goldy's sac. fly. Tomorrow, we face again the other side we took on in Tuesday's double-header, the D-backs heading over to Tempe Diablo for a return game against the Angels. Shelby Miller will be the starter there, though I note the posted line-up is still Yasmany Tomas free...