Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson


Not All Alone Down in Dumps
April 11, 2008, 15:43
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today our Tucson Sidewinders are traveling to Fresno to start their first series away from home in this new year.  All I can say is that I hope they find their rhythm, their strokes, their pitching zones, their SOMETHING really soon…because right now the home team is playing an extraordinarily bad version of the game we know and love as “baseball.”  After looking so promising in front of the big Opening Day crowd with a solid win against the Sky Sox, our beloved Snakes have dropped seven consecutive games.  Oh sure, the last four were against an incredibly strong Salt Lake team – and in the first two of those games the Winders managed to keep close (they even had a lead once!) until the bullpen imploded on them and the boys lost in late innings – but the last two games of the series featured a Winder team that had imploded from head to toe.  No hitting…a variety of little-league-style errors…no starting pitching…  Not much to cheer about at all.  In fact, the only good news right now is that we DON’T have sole possession of the worst record in the PCL:  the Nashville Sounds (Brewers affiliate) are, surprisingly, in the same spot we are today:  1 and 7, .125.  Oh, and it might be good news that the Winders are facing the Fresno Grizzlies tonight:  they’re just a smidgen ahead of us in the standings with a 2 and 5 record…

William K has you covered on basic game day stats, so let me fill in some blanks and add my usual comments from the ballpark to bring you back up to speed.

Tuesday, April 8th…  Featured Randy Johnson on the mound for the Sidewinders in their first Two Dollar Tuesday of the season.  The paper indicated that The Unit felt much better about this rehab outing – and it was good enough to get him off our roster and back to the D-Backs.  Randy tossed six innings and gave up three earned runs (one was a solo homer) on three hits and a walk.  I think what made the outing so much better for him was the strikeout count:  he K’d seven!  Randy left with the Winders ahead, five to three…but then our relievers came in and each gave up three runs an inning, to hand Tucson a loss, seven to nine.  Our offense was on:  we had four guys go deep with the long ball!  One came off the bat of Matt Morgan.  It was Mo’s first HR of the season and may speak of good things to come from him this year (if Plum would just let him play).  Some of you may know how Mo struggled last year.  Essentially he spent the whole season continuing to rehab from a devastating injury that folks initially thought would be career-ending…but he persevered and Ryan Radtke reports Mo’s feeling much better this year (nearly pain-free…which is a bonus!)  BTW, Mo’s homer also happened in the Home Run Inning, so he won a fan Scratchers Tickets from the AZ Lottery with the dinger!  Ryan Radtke also announced that Dave Krynzel was released by the Winders to make room on the roster for new pitcher Jon Coutlangus.  Jon has since had his Sidewinder debut (and it wasn’t pretty).  I wish Krynz the best as he leaves us.  I was listening to this game at home, so don’t have much more to add from the evening though I was surprised to see that announced attendance was only 2,951.  Yes, that’s GREAT for a normal Tuesday (especially since it was a “real” attendance count without any padding), but a bit low for a Randy Johnson night… 

Wednesday, April 9th…  I didn’t work this game either, but went as a fan with some of the folks from my other job.  It was an absolutely freezing night (well, 64 in Tucson with a breeze IS downright chilly!) sitting there in the stands with a few hundred other die-hards (announced attendance of 1,320…but clearly not than many butts in seats) and even though I’d bundled up, I spent the entire evening shivering.  Most fans who’d come to the game didn’t stay long.  I’d been looking forward to sharing my passion for Winders’ baseball with the folks from work, but my boys embarrassed me.  Billy Buckner was – again – underwhelming in his second start and Plum tried out a new infield alignment that failed miserably.  There were some really astounding errors and the scorekeeper was generous to the fielders, I believe, by only charging Tucson with two errors in the game.  Tucson’s first “run” came in the sixth on a balk by the opposing pitcher.  Fortunately, the Snakes actually EARNED two runs after that…though they could in no way challenge the Bees, who put up 12 runs on 16 hits during the game.  D-Back catcher, Miguel Montero, braved out the cold as he watched the entire game as a fan.  Miguel was scheduled to join the Winders on this road trip as he rehabs an injury sustained in Spring Training.  It was nice to see Miggy back at TEP! 

Meanwhile, more roster moves…  Our RHP starter Matt Green went on the DL with elbow tenderness – Evan MacLane will move back into the rotation on this road trip in Matt’s place.  I hope E-Mac does well.  His performance this year has been a mixed bag.  And I know he struggled as a starter last year.  Hold your breath.  And prayer might be called for.  As expected, the D-Backs placed LHP starter Doug Davis on the DL for his cancer surgery/recovery.  The D-Backs recalled Jailen Peguero in DD’s place (though I’m sure Jailen won’t be starting for the D-Backs!).  And here’s some potential good news for Tucson!  It looks like we will not have to face former Winder, LHP Greg Smith, when we see Sacramento for the first time this season.  The Athletics purchased Greg’s contract from Sacramento!  Way to go, Greg!

Thursday, April 10th…  Over 3,700 thirsty fans faced the elements on another very chilly night at Tucson Electric Park to see the home team tank another game with the Salt Lake Bees.  Hey, the fans had beer…who cared what happened on the field!  Good thing, too.  Because the Winders got one run.  In the ninth.  Our pitchers gave up ten runs (on 14 hits).  BUT!  I got to work the game…shivered in the Gate B wind tunnel while taking tickets, then filled in a tad at Guest Relations (where there was heat!) and in the stands…even got to water the home plate umpire!  Otherwise, it was an evening we’d all rather forget. 

And so we’ll see how this road trip goes.  The team plays four in Fresno and four in Sacramento before returning to Tucson on Saturday, April 19th to face Fresno HERE.  Ya’ll plan to join us on the 19th!  We might stand a chance against the Grizzlies AND the first 1,500 fans (with paid admission) through the gate will receive a FREE t-shirt commemorating 40 years of Triple-A baseball in Tucson!  First pitch will be at 6:30 – gates open at 5:30.

And don’t forget to follow the team on the road!  You can catch Ryan Radtke‘s excellent play-by-play on local COOL 1450AM or in streaming audio off the Winder’s web site.  Tonight’s game will be at 7:05 – Ryan’ll kick off programming at 7pm.

(Disclaimer – this posting not reviewed/approved by the Sidewinders, Diamondbacks, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, SK Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)

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