Micah in Seventh Heaven

Today the Arizona Diamondbacks face their National League Western Division nemesis the Colorado Rockies. This is the second time these two teams will have met this spring. The first game was February 28 and ended in a 5-5 tie which is kind of like taking your sister to the prom and giving her a good-night kiss. You had fun at the dance but it ended kind of creepy and will undoubtedly become a subject of conversation with your therapist. The starting pitcher for today’s contest is right-hander Micah Owings. This is Owings second start of the spring having started the game against Colorado earlier. During that contest he faced 10 batters in 2 innings allowing 2 runs on 2 hits with 2 walks and 2 strike-outs. If he keeps that up Micah is going to get a new nickname as people start calling him the “Deuce Coupe”. With Micah Owings his pitching is only part of the story.

With the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies both being National League West teams; the games are played under National League rules meaning the pitcher’s spot bats. That definitely works to Arizona’s advantage on days when Micah Owings is pitching. Owings collected a Silver Slugger award in 2007 as a rookie showing great plate discipline and some power. So when the Colorado Rockies requested that the teams play American League rules in their February 28 game to allow a Designated Hitter rather than the pitcher hitting you had to wonder what was up. Did they have more position players they wanted to evaluate or were they just trying to limit Micah’s at-bats? It seems too early in the spring to be playing mental games like this but given the history and the competitiveness of this rivalry you never know. Today’s contest won’t be quite the same. Owings will definitely be swinging a bat for this game. What is even more intriguing is how Bob Melvin positions his batting order. Word coming out of Tucson is that Melvin plans to move Owings up in the batting order to seventh to allow him more opportunities to drive in runs. Depending on how Owings does this may be a precursor to what we see during the regular season. St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa has in the past moved the pitcher’s spot to eighth but that was more of a defensive posturing so that the pitcher does not make the final out of the inning. In Arizona’s case this is a matter of taking advantage of a hitter who can pitch and inventing some offense. It’s a bold move and goes a long way to show what the organization thinks of Micah Owings talents. It will be interesting to see how it plays out this spring and through the regular season.

1 Comment

  1. Timing is of course everything. Shortly after posting this entry we learned that Micah Owings would be scratched from his start today due to “arm soreness”. Diamondbacks officials assure us that this is nothing to be concerned with and that this should not set him back from being prepared for his next start.

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