Good evening friends. Don’t mind me as I dust off the cobwebs and stretch out my recapping fingers. I promise I won’t be this terrible all season. Shall we get to it?
The Arizona Diamondbacks faced the San Diego Padres this evening at Salt River Fields in what will be their final evening game there this Spring Training. We’re that close meaningful baseball. Being as close as it is to the season, neither team opted to use a starting pitcher projected to be in the rotation as to not give a divisional opponent an additional look. Torey Lovullo went with Matt Andriese who will likely make the team in the long relief role, and Andy Green tabbed southpaw Nick Margevicius, who spent last season in Single A, for the Padres.
Arizona scored a single run in each of the first three innings to give them an early 3-0 lead. David Peralta had the first hit of the game in the bottom of the first, a line double down the right field line and was subsequently driven in on a sac fly by Wilmer Flores after stealing third base. Ketel Marte, starting at second base this evening, led off the bottom of the second with a double of his own later scoring on an outfield single from pitcher Matt Andriese. Arizona’s third and final run of the game came across when Eduardo Escobar scored all the way from first base on a single to center from Steven Souza Jr. Escobar rounded second base hard, and it appeared that center fielder Franchy Cordero believed he could make the out at third. He took his eye off the ball for a brief moment allowing it to roll under his glove, and Tony Perezchica kept his windmill going for Escobar to score.
D’backs fans also received their first televised look of newcomer Adam Jones in Arizona colors for the first time tonight. His time at the plate was uneventful going 0-3, but I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t more interested in his defense in center field. He had a handful of baseballs hit his way during his time in the field, enough so to give us a tiny glimpse of his defensive capability in center. In fact, the very first hitter of the game, Ian Kinsler, flew out to Jones to kick things off. Jones had to range a whopping 3-5 steps to his right to make the play, and smiled at Peralta as if to say, “How was that?” Jones’ next opportunity came in the final out of the second when Hunter Renfroe hit a deep fly ball to center. It hung in the air long enough for Jones to comfortably track it down at the wall. Now this might just me being critical, but Jones did allow the pitcher to hit a double over his head in the third. It could have been because he was playing shallow, but I’d like to think that Dyson could have made the play with his speed. It’s something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
San Diego began clawing their way back into this contest from the fifth inning forward scoring four unanswered runs. D’backs starter Matt Andriese was chased from the game having completed 4 1⁄3 frames allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out three. His first two innings were rather painless having retired all six batters faced, he set down the first eight to begin the game, but the Padres were able to get multiple men in scoring position from that point forward. Andriese was pulled from the game following a leadoff double from Franchy Cordero in the fifth, and he would become the Padres first run of the game. San Diego added two additional runs off of Rule 5 selection Nick Green in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game at three apiece. It’ll be interesting to see if Arizona finds a way to retain Green or if he will ultimately be returned to his original ball club, the New York Yankees.
With the game tied at three heading into the ninth inning, the umpires allowed the San Diego Dads to begin that frame with an automatic runner at second base. This was apparently agreed upon by the umpires and managers of each team prior to the start of the game. The minor leagues have already been putting a leadoff runner at second base, but that usually doesn’t occur until the tenth inning according to the Fox Sports Broadcast. It caught me off guard, but I was nonetheless eager to see the rule in action. As fate would have it, there was a wild pitch in the first at bat of the inning allowing that lead off “ghost runner” to advance to third base, and then brought home on a sacrifice fly. I think it’s safe to say most fans would have blown a gasket after that same sequence of events in the regular season because that run was the deciding factor in this one.
What was your opinion on the leadoff runner in a tie game to begin the ninth? Do you hate the direction Rob Manfred is taking the game? Were you happy to see that it brought a swift resolution to the contest?