The second and final World Baseball Classic warm-up game took place at Salt River Fields, in front of a smaller than usual weekend crowd of 7,551. Perhaps it was the fact the opponents weren’t known until relatively late, or perhaps the Dutch national team wasn’t much of a draw. Certainly, the Diamondbacks line-up didn’t appear to be taking it too seriously, with the majority not likely to be troubling the Opening Day roster. Outside of starting pitcher Zack Greinke, there was Chris Owings, Chris Iannetta and Daniel Descalso, and that was it. But it didn’t seem to matter: Arizona scored in each of the first six innings, to turn this one into a blow out.
From the D-backs’ perspective the main thing was seeing Zack Greinke take the mound, and there were some positive signs in an outing that lasted five innings. He allowed one run on six hits, with no walks and two strikeouts, but had some more velocity, reaching 93 mph according to Nick Piecoro. Zack said afterward, "It was a little bit better than last start. It would be nice to have a big jump to where it was a lot better. But each start has been a little better so far... I'd like for it to be better. For sure. But I guess solid. All the pitches could be crisper. Location could be a little better. I feel pretty good out there, for the most part. But not quite where I want it to be."
This was mostly a day for the offense, however, who feasted on a line-up of Dutch pitching with about as much depth as their country, and reached double-digit runs in the fourth inning. Kristopher Negron got two hits and a walk; Descalso had two hits, driving in a pair, and stole a base, as did Jason Pridie; Owings had his first home-run
of spring against WBC teams starting with an N; Stewart Ijames went deep; and Oswaldo Arcia + Jake Goebbert each singled and walked, the latter also getting three RBI. Even Greinke got in on the act, driving in a run with a single, in the first game for the D-backs this spring where the pitchers have stepped into the batter’s box.
It was, as ever, a lot of fun sitting with a bevy of various SnakePitters, yelling geo-political non sequiturs at the Dutch team. Those in attendance, or swinging by to say hello, included edbigghead (whose birthday it was, resulting in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday led by the beer vendor), Turambar, BattleMoses, Emilylovesthedbacks, shoewizard, asteroid + Mr asteroid, and good to see them all for the first time this year. We had to bail after the seventh as Mrs. Snakepit-in-law was beginning to wilt - though fortunately, our seats were out of the sun [all hail, edbigghead for that], or we’d likely have been gone a great deal earlier ourselves!
It’s back to regular Cactus League action tomorrow, with the D-backs heading over to the SnakePit Towers side of town, and Goodyear, to take on the Cleveland Indians. Patrick Corbin gets the start. I’m off to watch Team USA in a winner-take-all match against the Dominican Republic. But since they inexplicably managed to leave Paul Goldschmidt out of the line-up, I think I may be cheering for the DR...