Armando Galarraga is at least a name casual sports fans might recognize. He was that guy last season who was famously robbed of a perfect game thanks to a blown call on what should have been his 27th out. It was such a big deal that Galarraga partnered with the offending umpire, Jim Joyce, to co-author a book called, "Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History," which drops in June.
What does any of that have to do with Galarraga's debut as a Diamondbacks pitcher? Nothing, but it's still a really cool story and we will probably tell it a few hundred more times this year. Advance apologies issued, you've been warned.
Today Armando took the bump for the first time in his new Sedona Red Diamondback's uniform. He wasn't exactly perfect in his Spring Training start but being that it's Spring Training, he's not worried.
"I do feel good. I do feel good. I throw a lot of strike (21 strikes out of 30 total pitches). This is important for me right now. I was a little patient and a little too much not aggressive in the first inning, but I pick it up real quick so that's a good thing," Galarraga said after the game.
Overall, he was pleased despite giving up a leadoff single to Dexter Fowler who advance to third on a stolen base and error on the catch by the D-backs short stop, Geoff Blum. Fowler then scored off a wild pitch that Armando said slipped out of his hands. The next batter, Jonathan Herrera, tripled to right field and was knocked in a ground out by the third batter, Charlie Blackmon.
Blackmon's line drive whizzed by Galarraga's head and so of course, he instinctively reached for the ball with his bare hand. The ball grazed the outside of his finger and while he had it iced for precautionary reason's, it shouldn't be an issue. Still, not exactly the best decision to try and bare-hand a hard hit ball on your first start of Spring Training. But as they say, you can take the perfect game away from a guy, but you can't take the guy away for his search for perfection.
Galarraga threw a mix of fastballs and sliders. The slider was good in the first inning but great in the second, the pitcher said. In that inning after he had a chance to settle down, Galarraga induced two pop-ups, a groundball out, and gave up a hit.
His line for the game was three hits, one earned run, 30 pitches, 21 for strikes. Not horrible, but far from perfection.
Enright Is OK (Almost "alright", but we are saving that rhyme for the regular season)
Galarraga was followed by one of last year's shiny young arms, Barry Enright. Enright blasted on to the scene last season with 12 great starts where he didn't allow more than three earned runs in any game. But then his arm tired and his fastball lost some life and over his last five starts he gave up 23 earned runs in 25.2 innings of work. It wasn't pretty.
Enright is now locked in a death match for a spot on the starting rotation so each of these Spring Training starts should have a little extra meaning to him, but he claims they don't. He's just out there trying to do his thing, help the team, yadda, yadda.
Of course, it's easier saying that after throwing two innings and only giving up one hit and no walks.
Enright did fall behind two batters 3-0 in his first inning but in both cases he was able to work his way out of the jam. He said he was nibbling a bit too much. His second inning was much more direct -- he gave up a double but was much more aggressive in the zone.
The key focus for Barry this spring is to work on his changeup so he can throw that along with his two seam fast ball which is lively when he's right. He wants to be able to use both of those pitches to set up his slider. Last season he only threw the changeup 7.1 percent of the time compared to 14.6 for this slider, 12.4 for the curve and 65.9 for the fastball.
Enright is trying to trust the change-up more and throw it hard from the same arm slot as his fastball and not try and guide it in.
"When my changeup gets better, those are the outings I really throw well. I don't have to overexpose my slider. I can work off my fastball / changeup and throw those slider / curve balls later in counts. That's when I'm pretty efficient," Enright explained about his approach.
Rockies win, 5-4
The Diamondbacks lost the game to the Rockies thanks mostly to a poor seventh inning from relievers Esmerling Vasquez and Kam Mickolio who combined to give up three runs. Offensively, the D-backs didn't have any one star. Four guys drove in the four runs scored.
Young stud prospect Jarrod Parker saw his first action of the Cactus League after having his start pushed back due to hamstring soreness resulting from his Tommy John surgery. The site where they took some ligament from his leg to put in his elbow had bothered him a bit but it was only a minor set back.
The young gun showed both his great stuff and his youth as he walked three batters but still managed to get out of his one inning of work with no runs scored.
After striking out his first batter and getting another to ground out, Parker loaded up the bases in front of the always dangerous Troy Tulowitzki, but the kid with the "golden arm" managed to induce a fly ball to bail himself out.
For a much more thorough and entertaining recap of this game, visit AZ Snakepit.