Diamondbacks 4, Giants 2 - Bonus Baseball

Record: 14-5. Pace 119-43. Change on last season: +4

When I wrote, "Should be around for most of this one, though not sure if it'll be radio, TV or online," I forgot one important alternative possibility. Mrs. SnakePit picked me up after work, handed me the phone and said, "You'd better speak to shoewizard." Guess who had an extra ticket for the game and had been trying to get in touch with me all afternoon? Thank heavens that Chris is better at keeping her phone a) charged and b) on than I am - so I got to enjoy the game with shoe, Mrs. shoe and shoe jr. Many thanks to them for the unexpected treat.

This was hardly the unstoppable tsunami of offensive destruction we have come to expect from our Diamondbacks. Yes, the streak of 4-run games now hits sixteen in a row. Yes, we smacked three homers out of the park. However, two of those homers [accounting for all but one of our runs] were what shoe referred to, with affectionate contempt, as "Chase cheapies" - shots down the left-field line that just managed to crawl into the bleachers, with the aid of frantic puffing from 20,000 fans. Which, tonight, would be just about everyone in attendance. Lowest attendance of the year so far - nobody wants to see the Bonds-less 2008 Giants.

I haven't checked the Fangraph yet, but the God-Emperor of his domain was, undoubtedly, Micah Owings. He pitches! [6.1 innings, two runs] He hits! [2-for-2 and scored the tying run in the fifth] He fields! [Diving to cover first, in a somewhat risky play that could, conceivably, have brought a swift end to his career.] He looked a bit wobbly to start with, giving up some hard-hit balls; we discussed whether the Giants, who had faced him only last Wednesday, now had his number. However, after the solo homer to Lewis, leading off the third, Owings retired eleven Giants in a row, in sharp contrast to what happened last season, where he got significantly worse the second and third time through the order.

He eventually tired in the seventh, plunking Burriss with a pitch - making the Giant one of an elite club of batters in whose major-league careers, they got hit before getting a hit. Okay, I'm not sure how elite it actually is, but it includes fellow Giant Kevin Frandsen, who got hit in his second career plate-appearance, against the D-backs, on April 28, 2006. He also got hit by Arizona in his second game. And then, again by Arizona, in his third. Luis Terrero appears to be the only Diamondbacks to have managed this somewhat-painful feat. Anyway, after a further walk, Micah's night was over, but the Equallizer came in, threw one pitch, got a double-play and hit the showers. He's the fourth D-back to do that, the first since Mike Fetters ended a 6-2 loss against Atlanta in similar fashion, on August 8th, 2004.

As noted, the offense was almost entirely long-ball shaped this evening. Owings and Upton each had a couple of hits, while Hudson and Snyder each reached safely twice, on a hit and a walk. O-Dawg's hit was particularly important, as it let us add an insurance run in the seventh, on his solo shot - which would have been a two-run shot, save for Byrnes getting caught stealing immediately beforehand. That gives Eric two failures in five attempts. That's startling, since it's more than he was caught in the entire second half of 2007, going 33-1 after the All-Star break.

The run looked particularly helpful after Velez doubled to deep center, leading off the eighth. However, he tried to stretch it to three and was thrown out on a fine relay throw - replays suggest we might have caught a break there. Peña thus managed, technically, a 1-2-3 inning and, at least, managed to avoid walking anyone. In the ninth, Lyon came in and promptly allowed a very deep out to the first hitter he faced and, after getting the next two, then surrendered a two-out single to bring the tying run to the plate. However, he froze pinch-hitter Aurilia with a beautiful breaking ball in the corner, to notch his fourth save and extend our division lead to five games.

Game notes

Saw and said hello to Derrick Hall, who was coming to check on a fan that opted to block a foul ball with her face. Fortunately, no damage was done, and she was seen leaving the game later - clutching said ball.

In the sixth, after Snyder walked, to put two on with two out for Micah - who was 2-for-2 off Correia at that point - there was a conference on the mound. We speculated on how wonderful it would be, if they pulled the starter and brought in a reliever, purely to deal with Pwnings. "Sorry, Kevin: I know he's the pitcher and all, but you've not retired him yet. So we're going with someone who might."

Home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called a low strike all night, for which shoe was giving him some stick - nothing too offensive, of course, calling him a bum was about as bad as it got. Still, as I went to the restroom before the seventh, a woman in the next section asked I could ask shoe to be a bit careful, as sitting right there were Marquez's children...  "That's definitely a first," said shoe, apologetically.

While it was nice to have seats that included in-seat service, someone needs to explain to the servers that they should not stand idly in the middle of the aisles, while play is in progress. And if they have to, they really should not give attitude to paying guests who, very politely, ask them to move.

In answer to the Gameday queries: yes, both the roof and the panels were open tonight [and very pleasant it was at Chase]. And yes, it was Iron Man playing as Mark Reynolds' entrance music. Did we come up with that as a possible name for him in a Gameday Thread?

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[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chad "one pitch" Qualls, +17.0%!
Honorary mention: Eric Byrnes, +16.8%
God-Emperor of suck: Conor Jackson, -20.2%

According to charmer, "You don't have to read the thread tonight, it gets quite a bit..er.. off-topic. Well 'skins was moderating, what do you expect? ;) Put it this way, soco said: "Jim's definitely going to cry tonight." Hehe... so you've been warned!" I did try, but I think I had to be ushered gently away from the keyboard by Mrs. SnakePit after I started banging my head on the table at all the watch puns. Those responsible for Project Mayhem, a.k.a. the comments, were: Philip from LA, DbacksSkins, batster, soco, kishi, dstorm, foulpole, jsk6788, dahlian, singaporedbacksfan, Stile4aly, hotclaws, peachy rex, isoldout, seton hall snake pit, oldjacket, 4 Corners Fan, unnamedDBacksfan, snakecharmer, frienetic, Muu, Augie's Army, Wactivist and mikeb, so....thanks to them. :-)

And with that, to bed, safe in the knowledge that we have already guaranteed ourselves a split of the series, and still have our ace to play tomorrow. Elsewhere in baseball, the Rockies lost [Troyboy was 0-for-5] and Nippert got torched by the Red Sox, allowing nine hits, four walks and eight earned runs in 2.1 innings. Between him and Valverde leaving, while Qualls [10.1 IP, 0 ER] and Haren [25 IP, 1.80 ERA] arrive, our off-season pitching moves are looking pretty fine thus far...

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