Greetings from Wrigley!
It’s a gorgeous, sunny day in the windy city as the D-backs face the Chicago Cubs for the first time this season in an afternoon tilt at the oldest park in the National League. This is the second of five consecutive day games for the D-backs.
A few roster notes:
D-backs right-handed starter Kris Benson has been placed on the DL with a shoulder strain, and relief pitcher Leo Rosales has been placed on the DL with a foot sprain. While Rosales has been playing with some pain for the last week or so, this is something new for Benson. He has had some significant arm problems in his career, so here’s hoping Benson is OK.
To replace them on the roster, the D-backs have recalled right-hander Kevin Mulvey, who started some games for the club in September of last year, and have called up righty reliever Daniel Stange, who will make his Major League debut at some point in this series.
Here is D-backs Manager A.J. Hinch discussing the roster moves:
AJ Hinch Pre-game from Greg Salvatore on Vimeo.
Keep checking back here, as I’ll keep posting thoughts on D-backs/Cubs.
— A leadoff single for Kelly Johnson. After going hitless through the first 27 innings of the series against the Rockies, Johnson took lefty Franklin Morales deep for a go-ahead (and game-winning) home run.
— Cubs just took the lead on a Ryan Theriot single up the middle. It bounced off the mound and just past the glove of Johnson into center field, driving in Mike Fontenot, who was hit on the leg by a pitch.
— That run notwithstanding, Ian Kennedy looks good today. He’s through the third inning on only 34 pitches, 22 of them for strikes. He struck out Derek Lee in the first and the hot-hitting Geovanny Soto in the third.
— A leadoff walk for Justin Upton was followed by a walk for Mark Reynolds, followed by a three-run BOMB by Adam LaRoche to left-center field on a 3-1 pitch. Ted Lilly was starting to have some control problems, and when he came in with a get-me-over fastball, LaRoche made him pay with his third homer of the season. I believe I saw Adam’s family in the stands prior to the game, so they’ll certainly be happy. It’s 3-1, D-backs.
— Cole Gillespie, starting in left field today, took a slider that was out over the plate to left-center field for a double, the second double of his big league career. The Cubs fans, still booing from LaRoche’s home run at the time of the hit, only got louder as Alfonso Soriano misplayed the ball, eliminating any chance of a play at the bag on Gillespie.
— And they’re getting louder… Chris Snyder just launched one to left field for a two-run home run. It’s 5-1, D-backs.
— Kelly Johnson is 3-for-3 with a two-out single to right.
— Kennedy just got Lee swinging again, the third strikeout for the D-backs righty. After taxing the bullpen heavily over the past two days — Bob Howry is unavailable, according to Hinch, after throwing 4 2/3 innings in Colorado — I imagine it would sure be appreciated in the clubhouse if Kennedy can give the team seven or eight strong innings today. He’s giving himself a chancec, getting through four innings on 51 pitches (32 strikes). Lilly, for comparison, is at 82 and 47.
— A few thoughts from yesterday’s game, with info from STATS LLC: The last time two teams each came back from five-run deficits as the D-backs and Rockies both did on Wednesday was May 5, 2000. The Texas Rangers had a 5-0 lead on the Oakland Athletics through three innings, and Oakland came back to take a 10-7 lead in the sixth, and later led 15-10 through seven. The Rangers scored six in the eighth and one in the ninth to win that one 17-16. Some notable names that you probably haven’t thought of in years who homered in that game: Terrence Long, Frank Menechino and Adam Piatt. The Rangers, amazingly I think, only had one home run, a solo shot by Ivan Rodriguez, and only three total extra-base hits.
— …I interrupt these notes from yesterday to report that LaRoche just launched one even further than his last, blasting a home run out of the park in right field. It’s the 13th multi-homer game for him in his career, first of this season, and first since Sept. 15, 2009 against the Mets. It’s 6-1, D-backs heading to the bottom of the fifth.
— Back to yesterday, again thanks to STATS… the D-backs had a six-run lead, lost it, then came back from down five to win it. They were the first team to do that since the 1986 Texas Rangers, who did it against the Baltimore Orioles. Before that, no team had blown a six-run lead, then trailed by five, then won since 1901.
— I’m headed downstairs for a few to grab a hot dog and to see what this game looks like from the stands. Should be fun. I’ll post a photo.
— Oooh, before I go… La-La-La-LaRoche! He just knocked an RBI double to left-center field to make it 7-1, D-backs. It hit the wall and wasn’t more than a couple feet from being his third home run of the day.
— While I was downstairs getting the photo above (where my friends are sitting today), the D-backs tacked on six more runs. A lot of people leaving Wrigley early today after Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” in the seventh-inning stretch. It’s 13-1, D-backs as Ian Kennedy is still working in his eighth inning. It looks like Stange is warming up in the bullpen for what would be his Major League debut.
— Kosuke Fukudome just hit his first big league grand slam on a shot to left to make it 13-5. Frustrating for Kennedy, I imagine, after pitching so well in the first seven frames. Kennedy is still out there with two outs and pinch-hitter Xavier Nady at the plate.
— Stange now making his Major League debut for the D-backs. He’s wearing No. 52.
— Hinch on the win: “That was a good game for us, offensively, and Kennedy pitched really well. We put it all together today. Had a little at the end that wasn’t perfect, but we swung the bats with authority today. We were patient when we needed to be patient and aggressive when we needed to be aggressive. We hit mistakes and did damage.”
— Kennedy on his outing: “That gave our bullpen a rest, they’ve been working hard the last couple of days. Like every time, the plan was to get ahead and just let them mis-hit it and get themselves out. Snyder called a great game. We stuck to his game plan and he had a really good one going in. I just stuck to it.
— Johnson on Kennedy’s performance: “He pitched lights-out, he and Adam pretty much won that one for us. That’s two in a row for him, eight innings, and they both came at times when we needed them. We’ll take that any time out if it’s possible. He puts it where he wants and makes it really easy to play behind him. You see that fastball away and you know it’s going to be away. He’s going to throw it to the glove every time. It’s awesome.