Record: 17-11. Change on last season: +5
Okay, perhaps "blowout" is not quite the word, but it's the biggest margin of victory by Arizona since the opening series against the Cubs. So it's all relative - we'll take our blowouts where we can get them, thank you very much.
Brandon Webb improved to 4-0, with his first win since April 18; he's still matched his win total from his first twenty-two starts last season, when his fifth win didn't arrive until August 21. His control seemed off, with four walks in six innings, but he only allowed four hits, with two walks. The Giants took the lead in the fourth, though it could have been much worse, as the Giants lost two on the basepaths. Feliz was out trying to stretch a double into a triple, then Snyder picked Durham off first on a bounced changeup.
Then, in the bottom we blew this wide open (again, "blew" and "wide open" are used in relative terms!), scoring four runs thanks to Gonzo, Green, Cintron, Tracy, McCracken and Snyder getting consecutive 2-out hits. We seem to be getting a lot of those lately; but the closest stat I could find [men in scoring position with 2 out] has us at .242, which is 8th in the NL, right in the middle of the pack.
The bullpen held on, though it got pretty dicey: Lopez had to strike out Ray Durham with the bases loaded. We tacked on a couple more runs in the seventh, on an RBI single by Gonzalez - his third hit of the game (average now up to .346) - and an RBI groundout by Green, that should perhaps have been a double-play. Valverde looked good in his two innings however, lighting up the radar-gun. Good to have you back, Large Potato.
In many ways, the Giants remind me of us last year: best slugger out, closer on the DL, one good starting pitcher, woeful defense. We managed to hang around for the first month or so too - but then dropped off a cliff. The news Bonds' knee has now become infected (and his doctor is on five years probation for "unprofessional conduct" - a fine match for Bazza, then...) is not good. That six-game winning streak may turn out to be the highlight of the season for the Giants.
Speaking of ebbing away, only 21,367 at the game. Our home average is now at 27,338, down 12% on last year. News of our apparent turnaround does not appear to have reached the ticket-buying public as yet, or perhaps they're just more interested in the Suns inexorable march towards the NBA Championship. Currently, we'd be on pace for just 2.2 million or so, which would likely put us in the bottom half of the pack.
Heroes + Zeroes, Series 10: at home, vs. Giants
Gonzalez: 9-for-13, 5 runs
Halsey: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 ER
Clark: 3-for-6, 4 RBI
Bruney: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, loss
McCracken: 1-for-9, 2 GIDP
Ortiz: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 7 ER
In the comments (thanks to Enoch for the dugout show, before handing things over to me...), frienetic says, "Just wanted to point out that there's a piece by Mike Carminati over on Baseball Toaster about Brandon Lyon. Now I haven't actually gotten to see Lyon pitch, but it's sounded like recently, he's had a lot of 1-2-3 innings. Are the numbers skewed because of those two bad outings (the blow up against the Dodgers at the beginning of the year and the recent extra-inning loss to the Padres in a non-save situation)?"
I was writing up the pitching Heroes and Zeroes for the month last night and the .310 OBA Lyon has allowed stuck out like a sore thumb. Was surprised to find out that Tuesday's appearance against SF was actually the first, and only, "1-2-3" innings he's had all year. He's had a pair of "2-3" innings, where he got two outs and allowed no baserunners, but he's allowed hits - not just baserunners, actual hits - in 11 of 14 games.
With the bases empty, opponents are hitting .455; once they get on, Lyon bears down, cutting that to less than half (.222), but this doesn't seem like a recipe for long term success. His ERA is helped by four unearned runs, but his BABIP (batting average on balls in play - the higher it is, the "unluckier" a pitcher has been) isn't particularly bad. There are certainly warning signs of potential trouble here, but at least we have Valverde as a backup again.