Going into Spring Training the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff had a set of priorities they wished to address with the team. Among those was the subject of defense. The Diamondbacks last season were atrocious in the field committing numerous errors that ultimately cost them games.
Some of these errors were attributed to the young and inexperienced players on the Diamondbacks roster. Others were simply a break down in concentration that led to mental lapses. Regardless of the reasons, the coaching staff was confident they could address this area and the team would be better in the field in 2010.
Over the first month of the season the coaches’ efforts seem to pay off. There are still games where the team commits its share of gaffes but overall the players appear to be more focused. Well, that was until today.
During the game with the Chicago Cubs, the Diamondbacks seemed to be holding their own. They had taken the first game of the series in dramatic fashion and had Rodrigo Lopez on the mound for game 2 of the series.
Through the first five innings the Diamondbacks led by a score of 4-2 and looked well on their way to another victory. In the Cubs half of the inning Chicago hit two singles by Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome to start the frame.
After Derrick Lee flied to right field the Cubs had runners at first and third with one out. A ground ball would get the Diamondbacks out of the inning. Instead Aramis Ramirez hit a pop fly in front of the pitcher’s mound. Lopez along with most of the Diamondbacks infield converged on the ball.
First baseman Adam LaRoche appeared to call for the ball but Lopez did not yield resulting in a collision and the ball fell to the ground loading the bases. Tyler Colvin came up and hit a sacrifice fly to center allowing Theriot to score.
Instead of being out of the inning, the Diamondbacks were forced to pitch to Alfonso Soriano who hit a home run giving the Cubs four runs in the inning. With that one inning the landscape of the game changed.
The Cubs would go on to win the game 11-5 snapping the Diamondbacks winning streak. Besides the muffed infield fly, the Diamondbacks committed two more errors in the game for a total of three.
It just goes to show that no matter how many drills you go through in Spring Training, it takes constant vigilance to maintain the high level of play required at the major league level. Hopefully the Diamondbacks will learn from the error of their ways and we will never have to speak of this game again.