Record: 5-7. Change on 2017: -1.
Another solid pitching performance this evening at Peoria from Matt Koch and most of our relievers, and the offense took advantage of some particularly inept San Diego play to put up six runs in the seventh. It was a game which was briskly played through the front five and half innings, and then ground to a complete halt. The final running time was 3:32, and I’m pretty sure than only about 10% of the announced 4,857 were still there by the time the final out was recorded. We were among them. We, in the case of this evening, being SnakePitters including myself and Mrs. SnakePit, imstillhungry95, edbigghead, Keegan Thompson, Turambar and the host of loud fans known as the Brute Squad.
The evening had started with Happy Hour at Hooters across the street from the stadium (above), before moving to the park. Took a little while to get in: I don’t recall there being metal detectors at the gates for spring training before, and presume this is, sadly, part of MLB mandated security policies these days. But it’s a nice, compact little park, with the walk from the car-park to our seats seeming a lot shorter than at Salt River Fields. However, do have to say, the concessions felt kinda blandly uninteresting in comparison: if I hadn’t already had my fill of chicken wings, the choices on offer here would have done much to tempt my palate.
Our pitching continued to bounce-back, extending their scoreless streak to 14 innings before finally cracking. Matt Koch started, and delivered two solid frames in his quest perhaps to secure the position of #6 in our rotation. The scoreless streak looked it might be over early, after he put the first two men on in his second inning of work, but Koch worked out of trouble, highlighted in particular by his impressive snag of a Padres’ bunt attempt which popped up (below), with runners on the corners and one out. He allowed two hits and a walk. Silvino Bracho and Fernando Salas followed, each striking out a pair and allowing a hit in their frame: Bracho now has seven strikeouts in four spring innings.
Arizona got on the board in the second, fifth and sixth. A two-out single by Cesar Puello in the second was followed by Rey Fuentes banging an RBI triple to right field, opening the scoring for the Diamondbacks. In the fifth, plate discipline proved key, as our hitters drew three walks, the last to Chris Herrmann with the bases loaded. All told, the D-backs picked up TEN walks tonight, and have 57 for the pre-season. The resulting K:BB of 1.74 is second-best in all baseball this spring, trailing only the Yankees (1.58). Fuentes’s wheels in the sixth led to a run: he legged out an infield hit, took second on a wild pitch, then forced a throwing error as he stole third, allowing him to cross home plate for our third run.
Andrew Chafin worked a scoreless fifth, but the shutout ended in the sixth off Jake Barrett, mostly due to some sloppy Arizona defense. Ildemaro Vargas bobbled a hard ground-ball, then threw wide of first, though it was scored as an infield hit. One out later, Christian Walker committed an actual error, trying to start a double-play, putting men on 1st + 3rd with one out. An RBI single put the Padres on the board with men still on the corners, though further damage was averted with some nice work. Barrett got a K for the second out, as the man on first tried to steal. Herrmann threw to second, and the runner on third came home; Jack Reinheimer alertly fired back to Herrmann, who applied the tag.
The wheels then completely came off San Diego’s pitchers in the seventh, Arizona scoring four runs on a single. Three walks pushed across the run, and the incoming Padres’ pitcher did not deal well with the bases-loaded situation he inherited. Three pitches later, he had balked and thrown a pair of wild pitches, emptying the bags. Jack Reinheimer added a two-run triple before the third out was recorded, and the D-backs had a 9-1 lead. Socrates Brito banged a solo home-run in the eighth (above), as Michael Blazek got three K’s in his 1.1 innings. Kris Medlen was roughed up for a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth, and had to be bailed out by Jared Miller who recorded the final two outs.
The Diamondbacks scored their ten runs on only nine hits, thanks to the abundance of free passes - nine walks and a hit batter - handed out by the Padres tonight. Ketel Marte kept his bat on his shoulder, going 0-for-0 with three walks, while Herrmann had two walks in addition to his hit. Brito had a walk in addition to his home-run, and Fuentes got a pair of hits, in addition to his stolen base. All told, a very solid performance: the pitchers did their part too, striking out 13 Padres while giving up only three walks. A great night, with some great company, and some heckling which showed edbigghead is already in regular-season form. :)