In baseball, more than any other sport, one particular player can physically will his team to victory. On this night, that player was Tim Hudson.
Sometimes, games mean more to one athlete than another. Tim Hudson had his ankle fractured horrifically to end his season last year (if you’re thinking of looking it up, please don’t), and he was on a mission to prove he is far from finished. Riding their new hired gun, the Giants shut out the D-Backs by a score of 2-0 and assured at the very least that they would be getting out of town with a split come tomorrow afternoon.
There was just never a moment during tonight’s game where there was a buzz in the ballpark that it seemed the Diamondbacks were poised to break through or do something of meaning. Of course, this may have been caused by the fact that Tim Hudson retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced, but for a wily veteran such as himself, that was no simple feat.
The lone glimmering spot in the batter’s box for Arizona tonight was Paul Goldschmidt’s double in the seventh inning, which extended his mirage of a hitting streak to 24 consecutive games. It should be noted that of all the ridiculous things that baseball does for numbers and statistics (the save, the win for a relief pitcher that may have given up the lead, defensive indifference, etc.), the extended hitting streak through the winter may take the cake. Not that it would be taken nearly as seriously as Joe DiMaggio’s legendary streak, but the thought that Goldschmidt could be mentioned in the same breath if he does continue to hit in every game is a laughable thought.
Hanging a loss on Trevor Cahill seems unfair, as he did not pitch a poor game by any stretch of the imagination. Angel Pagan and Michael Morse did him in on RBI hits in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively. Going for six extremely solid innings of work, Cahill was the hard luck loser, getting zero help from his mates on offense.
Since there are not many positives to draw from tonight’s game, we can coo and blush about the fact that the bullpen did not implode. Joe Thatcher, J.J. Putz and Ryan Rowland-Smith combined to pitch the final three innings of the game, only surrendering two combined hits and a walk.
Making his Arizona Diamondbacks debut tomorrow will be former Cincinnati Red Bronson Arroyo, as the team prepares for a 12:40 P.M. start time against the Giants. In his recent past, Arroyo has been a much more effective pitcher in the afternoon, opposed to nighttime, which should bode well for the D-Backs, as they will certainly be sending out a quirky looking lineup for the day game after a night game.
Taking the mound for the Giants is former Cy Young Award winner, and changeup connoisseur, Tim Lincecum. “The Freak” may not be back to his devastating former self, but he has shown in spurts that he can still be the pitcher that terrorized the National League for so many years.
Neither pitcher has overpowering stuff at this point in their career, so the game will be more of a test of wits than your typical game. Looking to avoid dropping to an unbecoming 1-5, the D-Backs look to split their home series opener tomorrow afternoon.