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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Long, Slow Wait For The Regular Season: Diamondbacks 7, Angels 6

There's no way to sugarcoat this: the Angels relief corps blew a five-run lead. And it's not like it was some dude who'll spend his days praying for Scot Shields' surgically repaired knee to give way, either, but Matt Palmer, somebody who appears still likely to return to the 25-man roster. Based on his spring thus far, last year's savior spare part is this spring training's apparent candidate for Most Likely To Become A Cucurbita Maxima.

It wasn't as though things were horrible from the get-go; Palmer entered the game in the top of the fifth, giving up only a single and conveniently getting out of the frame in part thanks to Steven Drew erasing himself on the base paths. The sixth was rougher, with a solo blast to Mark Reynolds (okay, he does that), but also a walk to Miguel Montero, a player not exactly fond of the walk.

But it was the seventh that really proved Palmer's undoing, because he gave up hard-hit balls to Tony Abreu (double), Cole Gillespie (RBI triple), and Jose Macias (RBI single). After a fly out off the bat of Rusty Ryal for the inning's second out, he then failed to make an out against the next three batters. Granted, it was a warm-ish day (probably in the 80's by this time), but he looked as thoroughly and completely lost as I have ever seen a pitcher in my life. The walk at the end was the anti-cherry on top of this turd sundae.

Which is really too bad, because the Angels offense went to town against Ian Kennedy and Leo Rosales, pummeling both for six runs, all earned, four against a Kennedy who left the mound every bit as perplexed as Palmer would three frames later.

Will a pitcher, any relief pitcher, please answer the white courtesy phone?

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Here's hoping Palmer's Cinderella '09 doesn't prompt Mike to give him every chance to try and duplicate it this season. As it stands now, the Halo's have 11 pitchers that are a virtual lock to make the 25 man roster, so Palmer should only see some action in the event of an injury. Hopefully another AAA starter or reliever steps up when that time comes, because it seems Palmer turned into a pumpkin a long time ago.

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