Tuesday it was back to Camelback Ranch to see the team the Dodgers share the complex with, the Chicago White Sox as they hosted the Texas Rangers. The Sox scored all 10 runs in the first 3 innings as Doug Fister simply wasn’t sharp for the Rangers, leaving with one out in the third having allowed 7 runs on 10 hits and no walks. Yoan Moncada drove in three runs on two hits, backup catcher Kevan Smith went 2 for 2 before exiting with an ankle injury, and Adam Engel continued his hot streak in his drive to be the everday centerfielder, going 3 for 3 (6 for 6 in the two games I attended). Lucas Giolitto, acquired from the Nats in the Eaton trade, was very impressive, allowing just 2 singles over 6.1 innings of shutout ball while striking out 4 and walking none.
The Rangers continued their struggles at the plate the next day at home against the Cubs at Surprise as they faced former teammate Yu Darvish. Both teams had most of their starters in, and it went well for the Cubs against lefty Matt Moore, scoring 5 runs in the first three innings. With two out and two on in the second, Moore had Bryant fooled on a pitch for the 2nd strike, then Bryant fought off the next pitch before depositing a pitch into the left center field stands for a three run shot. Kyle Schwarber hit an opposite field homer in the 4th, and also showed tremendous range in LF, going all the way into center field to catch a fly ball. Both are good signs for Cubs fans. Darvish was dominant, going 6 innings, allowing 1 run on a Centeno homer, 3 hits, no walks and 7 strikeouts. Only Andrus and Gallo had hits besides the homer, and Moore left in the third after facing three batters and retiring none. His line was 8 hits 2 walks and 5 runs over 2+ innings of work. Odor turned a very nice double play on a smash by Schwarber, and Gallo twice made nice plays to his right at 1b.
Last night it was back to Salt River Field for my final game of the week to see the D-Backs host the Giants. Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall Of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, pitched three scoreless innings for the Giants. Matt Koch started for the D-Backs and gave up hits to the first 5 batters, starting with a leadoff homer by Joe Panik. Belt singled and McCutcheon followed with a two run shot. Buster Posey doubled, Longoria singled. Koch then got Crawford to groundout before striking out Pence and Jackson to hold it at 4-0. The D-Backs offense, with most of their starters in the game, couldn’t get anything going as they were shutout. They scored all of 1 run in the two games I attended Monday and last evening. Panik, Belt and Posey all had three hits for the Giants. Steven Souza Jr left the game in the 4th with a shoulder injury after a diving attempt on Belt’s double tipped off his glove. He is thought to have a shoulder strain and will undergo an MRI this morning.
So in a nutshell – Giolitto and Darvish were very strong, Adam Engel may have taken the White Sox CF job while the Rangers and Diamondbacks aren’t scoring runs or getting very strong pitching. The Giants regulars looked pretty impressive, but can they get the pitching to back it up in a very competitive NL West?