Baseball is a funny game.
The Arizona Diamondbacks got to Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez and beat the Rockies in extra innings on Opening Day Friday, 7-6, then lost a pitcher's duel between excellent young starter Dan Hudson and eminently mediocre Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa Saturday, 3-1, before getting snowed out Sunday.
Over the course of 20 innings, the Diamondbacks showed serious potential for growth and entertainment, which makes New Times hopeful that this year's squad will be worthier of watching than last year's.
Ian Kennedy pitched well against the Rockies Friday, tossing six innings and giving up four runs, three earned, while striking out three and walking the same number. Kennedy could have gone longer and walked fewer batters, but it was a start he can be proud of. Justin Upton hit a three-run homer against Jimenez in the fifth.
Relief pitcher Juan Gutiérrez earned himself a blown save by giving up two runs in the seventh inning. The score remained tied until Gerardo Parra scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 11th for the win.
New Diamondbacks closer JJ Putz got his first save of the year in the bottom of the 11th.
De La Rosa and a succession of mediocre relievers shut the Diamondbacks down Saturday before the club rallied in the ninth. Even though the D'Backs came up short, Justin Upton singled to start the ninth inning and was followed by Chris Young, who put up one of the finer at-bats of the weekend.
Facing Rockies closer Huston Street, Young proved he can hit in the middle of the order by working a nine-pitch walk in a situation where he might've popped out on the second pitch or struck out on the third a year ago. That allowed Ryan Roberts to single Upton home before Street closed the contest out.
If Young can improve his plate discipline, he'll become a force to be reckoned with alongside Upton in his own right.
Hudson put up a quality start, which he will try and build on this weekend against the Cincinnati Reds.
Joe Saunders will be starting for the Diamondbacks against the Chicago Cubs tomorrow at beautiful Wrigley Field. That game is scheduled for an 11:20 am start. It'll be worth watching to see how Saunders does now that the games count. The lefthander from Falls Church, Virginia was terrible in spring training. Gibson called Saunders out by saying Saunders wasn't guaranteed a starting shot in the rotation about a week and a half ago, which was news to Saunders. Can the perfectly average Saunders prove himself to his manager?