Hello again Sports Fans from Phoenix AZ. Well week 1 is officially in the books and the Phoenix Desert Dogs emerge 2-3.
Since we had a little over a month off of baseball after the regular season everyone was clearly itching to get back onto the field and play. I was even wondering to myself about how it would be to face hitters again and how I could knock off some of the rust that might have accumulated since bullpen sessions can only get you so far. All I know is that we were all excited about getting back into a baseball routine. The atmosphere in the locker room went from being on practice day 1 like the first day of high school to that of college graduation on game day where you could feel the excitement in the air and the “get to know you curve” was completely out of the locker room.
Our first AFL game featured an outstanding pitching performance from Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks) who went 7 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, but in the end the Desert Dogs fell short falling 3-2 in 10 innings. With Max having experience in the “Big Leagues” it was nice to see first hand how he went about his business both on the field and in the dugout. I always like to talk to and take some mental notes from guys that have had experience at a higher level of baseball than me. They say you learn something new everyday.
The second game was held in Mesa which was the first of three road night games. Getting to the field at 4 and after batting practice, I was told by our pitching coach that I would definitely be pitching because that Oakland A’s front ofice personnel would be attending. I was immediately enthused to be given an opportunity to show what I can do, but hey that’s what this league is all about! I came into the game in the fifth inning with the Desert Dogs winning 5-4; it was nice to be able to come into the game with our team ahead and looking for our first win. I pitched a scoreless fifth giving up two hits while striking out two and helped the Desert Dogs earn their first win. The game was highlighted by catcher J.P Arencibia’s (Blue Jays) opposite field game winning homerun in the 5th inning that would have gone out of any stadium. I pitched again on Friday against the Scottsdale Scorpions and I ran into a little trouble in this inning, giving up one run on 3 hits but most importantly getting a groundball double play that helped limit the damage. Lefty reliever Daryl Harang came into the game and finished the inning by striking out the last batter.
The bats really came alive on Saturday and broke out with 9 runs on 13 hits; including Sean doolittle’s 2 homeruns en route to a 9-4 victory to collect our second win of the young season. The game was a 12:30 start, whch was great because we had plenty of time to get back home and catch up on some college football and also look forward to our off day on Sunday.
During the course of the past week away from the field we have had a lot of down time. Early in the week a few of my Oakland Teammates (Sean Doolittle, Andrew Carignan, and Jared Lansford) and I moved into a house that we rented in Scottsdale. Along with moving into our new place our week was filled with some workouts at our minor league facility, trips to Fashion Square Mall, and even playing some video games online with Desert Dogs teammates. But most importantly was watching my hometown Phillies take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.
Thanks again for checking in this week, see you at the ballpark!