Record: 61-59. Pace: 82-80. Change on last season: -6.
The time has come for everyone in the Diamondbacks organization to admit that Chris Young is not a #2 hitter. Whatever his talents may be - and I love his defense, his speed, and his power - it's clear that the top of the order is not the best place for them. This was driven home, painfully, in the ninth inning of tonight's game where we had managed to claw our way back into the game, despite coming in with a two-run deficit. Ojeda walked, Burke singled - I repeat that, Chris Burke had a meaningful hit - and Drew singled, and advanced on the throw, to put the tying run at third with only one out.
So we didn't even need a hit from Young, a deep fly ball would have been fine. But, instead, he struck out on a high fastball for the second out. Things were thrown at the TV here in SnakePit Towers; the dogs thought they were being thrown at them, as usual [I think they believe their names to be Getoffthesofaorelse and Stopdrinkingfromthedamntoilet]. And though Dunn came up with the bases loaded and worked the count full, his ground-ball proved insufficient to salvage the game. The NL average on-base percentage in the #2 hole this year is .329; the worst is Pittsburgh at .302. That's still better than Young's career OBP, which is .298 - and batting second, it drops to an even worse .265. It's not really Chris's fault, just another example of lineup construction that seems to defy logic in a variety of ways.
It was a particularly irritating loss, the team having come back from three runs down, in a game which looked to be entirely lost at various points earlier on. In particular, the bottom of the sixth, where Doug Slaten made his first appearance back off the DL, with the score 4-2 to Colorado. He continued where he left off, allowing two hits to put men on first and third with no-one out - Rockies WP at that point, 91.4%. However, a nicely-executed double-play, with our infield looking the runner back to third before beginning the turn, helped dodge a bullet there, and Arizona leveled things up in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Clark, and a single by Young - who was thrown out trying to reach second. Yes, even when he gets on-base, he makes an out...
Still, tied game now. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way for long, as our bullpen picked up their nineteenth loss of the season - matching their total from all of last year, with more than a quarter of the schedule left to play. Their record last season was 30-19 - this year, it's 10-19, which basically tells you about all you need to know. Jon Rauch was the victim tonight, with a lead-off double in the eighth, that was about a foot from being a homer, a sacrifice bunt [nice to know Melvin isn't alone in his insanity], and then a two-run bomb. Mobs with torches and pitchforks will be following him tonight. Mind you, since he's a heavily-tattooed 6'11", he's probably used to that... :-)
I didn't see much of the early part of the game, when Davis was pitching, but it certainly didn't sound like he was pitching very well. The umpire seemed to have a tight, but consistent zone; Davis was missing his spots, perhaps because in the thin mountain air, his breaking pitches weren't moving as much as usual. He lasted only five innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks - one of the runs was unearned, thanks to an error by Drew. Of the relief corps, Slaten and Rauch have already been addressed: Peña had a 1-2-3 seventh, which was good to see, though was undeniably helped by Taveras grounding out on what was obviously ball four.
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Master of his domain: Stephen Drew, +19.1%
Honorable mention: Mark Reynolds, +13.3%
God-emperor of suck: Adam Dunn, -34.3%
Dishonorable mentions: Rauch, -31.2%; Davis, -19.0%
A relatively short roll-call tonight, but good to see rookie ZonaBacks10 step up, with a three-figure number of comments. Also present were: Azreous, kishi, DbacksSkins, foulpole, J Up, TwinnerA, LucaMaz3, 4 Corners Fan, srdmad, Muu, Scrbl, seanprh, snakecharmer, emilylovesthedbacks and singaporedbacksfan. I was not present: we went out for a curry, then sorted through films for the Phoenix Fear Film Festival in order to get a final list, while watching the game. I couldn't even bring myself to look at the Gameday Thread for a while afterwards: it was just too depressing, especially as the Dodgers came back from 6-1 down against the Phillies, to win on a walk-off homer from Garciaparra. However, when I did, I found some rather disturbing comments: appropriate action has been taken, and I trust there will not be a re-occurrence. An apology from those responsible would be nice.
So, the second defeat in eleven games versus Colorado means that we're back to being tied for first again. Tomorrow is a day game, with Dan Haren going for us: I hope we get the solid pitcher we say in June and July, as the August version has been slightly less reliable. A win would give us the series and also clinch the season bet vs. Purple Row. So, for a whole variety of reasons: bring victory on.