Ian Kennedy has been named the Opening Day starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. By tradition, and in this case default, that makes him the "Ace" of the staff. On the other end of the game, J.J. Putz has been brought into town to close out games and provide a solid anchor for a bullpen that was historically bad last season.
Today's spring training performance by both guys hopefully isn't an indication of things to come.
Kennedy started the game with a quick and clean first inning, but gave up a lead off home run in the second followed by three singles. In the third inning he allowed a couple of more singles before being yanked. His line was three earned runs, eight hits, one walk, three and two thirds innings.
Kennedy said he was overthrowing his pitches and couldn't find his spots.
Putz started with two quick strikes and then fell apart. He said his arm felt fine and he was pleased that he was able to throw all his pitches and work on his arm stretch. He called it, "one of those days" and also said he was over-throwing a bit.
The D-backs closer went just one third of an inning, giving up two hits, three walks and four runs. He was "helped" along by the normally sure-handed center fielder Chris Young who miss played a ball in front of him. He attempted to slide into the catch but the ball bounced over his head and rolled to the wall for an inside the park home run (scored a single and an error).
The offense did come through with some fireworks, including a four-run fifth inning. Russell Branyan, Chris Young and Tony Abreu all singled ahead of Justin Upton's two-run blast.
Stephen Drew left the game after just one at-bat. He said he felt some discomfort in his mid-section after a throw across his body yesterday. He was lifted for precautionary reasons and is expected to be fine.
The D-backs fell to 5-16 for their spring training campaign with the 10-8 loss to the Angels.