Record: 52-48. Change on last season: +1. Pace: 84-78
Quote of the day: "We still had more opportunities today and at some point in time we've got to break out and score multiple runs. We peck away for one here, one there, it still puts a lot of pressure on the pitchers." -- Bob Melvin
More of the same: not much offense, but a sterling effort from our pitching staff, both starters and relief and that proved enough to get us through the game. As a result, what looked like a seriously disastrous road-trip early on, ended up with AZ going 3-4, which keeps them exactly as far back as they were when they started the trip a week ago. Given the Diamondbacks scored a mere nineteen runs over the seven games, it could certainly have gone a great deal worse.
All hail, in particular, the Petit Unit, who did what he does best: throws quality strikes. In six shutout innings, he allowed only three hits, walked none and struck out five. A phenomenal performance, and the Marlins must be kicking themselves for letting go of Petit - effectively trading him for Byung-Hung Kim. Did I mention that the kid is only twenty-two, and won't turn 23 until the off-season. My only concern is that he hasn't gone past six innings since his debut, though since he hasn't thrown more than 90 pitches in any outing, it's hard to tell if this is stamina-related or not.
Today, there were mitigating circumstances, as he had a bruised hand, suffered when knocking down a rocket liner off the bat of Theriot - though that did preserve the lead and the shutout so was a sacrifice worth making. However, it's his non-throwing hand, so he should be back in the rotation on Friday against the Braves. At this rate, it's going to be impossible to take him out when Randy comes back. There are at least two other pitchers in the rotation capable of learning from Petit, whose walks are still in single figures after 28.1 innings of work.
Given that, bit of a "damned with faint praise" in Chris Snyder's comment after the game: "He's a young Livan Hernandez." Insert O RLY? graphic here, though Snyder rapidly clarified his statement, as "He's going to locate, mix his pitches. He's going to throw any pitch at any time and keep guys off balance. More times than not you're not going to get a good pitch to hit." Ah, that's okay: I thought perhaps Chris meant that getting between Petit and the buffet-table was only for those with a death-wish. I do wonder how Chris knows what Hernandez 2.0 was like in his formative years: Snyder was still in high-school, while Livan pitched in Cuba at the time. No matter.
That continued the theme of the series overall: even though the Cubs were without Lee, they were still one of the hottest teams in baseball, so immense credit due to the D-backs pitching staff for restricting them to two runs over the weekend, and taking the series. Again, the bullpen were lights out, allowing only one hit and no walks over three innings of work: Pestileñce, War and Death fanned four and completed the four-hitter with Petit. I really can't say enough about those guys, plus Famine of course: I'd put them up against any other bullpen in baseball right now.
Not much offense, just enough: seven hits. We took the lead in the first on an RBI single from Reynolds, but that was it until Snyder homered, leading off the seventh. Jackson then completed the scoring with an RBI single later that inning. That was Snyder's eighth four-bagger: as noted in the comments, who expected us to reach Game #100 with Snyder having more homers than Tracy, Jackson, Drew and Quentin. He had two hits and a walk, continuing his recent good run: he's batting .333 (9-for-27) this month. Conor Jackson also reached safely three times, his second multihit game of the year.
Chris Young stole two bases, giving him 14 on the year. Between that and 15 homers, he has a shot at a 25/25 season, which would be a phenomenal feat. Only two players of his age (23) or younger have done that since 1988: Andruw Jones and some guy called Alex Rodriguez, both in 1999. I think they turned out okay, from what I hear. It's a very short list all-time: only nine young players have done it in baseball history, including Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, plus the father and son Bonds duo. Even dropping the standards to an eminently achievable 20/20 gives a list of only twenty players, David Wright and Grady Sizemore doing it last year.
Fun GameDay Thread: pretty quiet through the front few innings, as both pitchers proved on top of their game, then getting busier towards the end, as the tension mounted. DbacksSkins, singaporedbacksfan, DiamondbacksWIn, Wimb, Muu, icecoldmo, AZDarkKnight and kylerkenney were present. I notice the 'Is the season over?' question has been quietly swinging towards "Hell, no" after initially starting off pessimistically pointing to 'Yes'. I think we'll see what next week brings, and take things as they go from there.
Not really significant, but I was just over at Bleed Cubbie Blue, checking out what they had to say about the series. They've got an Amazon affiliate panel down the left-hand column, and it seems to work on what you've looked at at Amazon lately, with a skew for the referring site. Hence the first four titles it showed up for me were: Crazed Killers, Demented Deviants, Beastly Butchers and...er, The Cubs Fan's Guide to Happiness. Or maybe the first three titles are a sardonic comment on the fight that broke out in the stands at Wrigley Field this afternoon... [I should mention, before concerned readers call the FBI Serial Profiling Unit, that the first three are DVD multipacks put out by Brain Damage Films, for whom Mrs. SnakePit is VP of Media and Marketing]
Anyway, we pick up a game, thanks to the Dodgers and Padres both losing - the latter were shutout by J.D.Durbin, which is a name that might ring a bell. That's because he enjoyed one of the shortest, least effective careers in a D-backs uniform ever, earler this year: one game, 0.2 innings, seven earned runs. Now, here he is throwing a complete game shutout. Oh, well: can't win 'em all. Shame we've finished with the Phillies this season, I'd love to see a Petit vs. Durbin match-up...