Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 2: Dunn and Dusted

Record: 62-59. Pace: 83-79. Change on last season: -7

How long ago it all seems now. Six months ago, to the very day, Rox Girl paid us a visit and said, "I propose a straight up season series challenge. Win more games against us - including any potential playoff games - and Snakepit Day will return to the Row next year." Technically, I suppose, the playoff games clause means this bet is still on: but with Arizona now 10-2 up, with six to play, and Colorado now nine games back in the standings, it seems all over bar the shouting. On the same date last year, they were only five back, - and still had to win fourteen of the last fifteen regular season games to squeak in to the post-season.

It's kinda interesting to look back on that piece and see the comments from both sidea, such as, "Runs such as the Rockies'... almost always happen when a team is in a multiple season success cycle. It's incredibly rare for mediocre teams to put together such streaks." But I'll save the "O RLYs?" and "Told you sos" for another time. What matters right here, right now, is that this victory means the pressure shifts on to the Dodgers as they try to beat the Phlailing Phillies once again - no doubt, after falling behind early. And I also get to spend the rest of the night relaxing, rather than clicking frantically on the 'Refresh' button every couple of minutes. Works for me, even if I feel bad for Mrs. SnakePit, who set up our dinner in the living-room, in front of the game. I hadn't the heart to tell her it was a replay - she finally worked it out when she realized it was still daylight at Coors!

The early innings of today's game were not exactly plain sailing. The Rockies scored first, a one-out single in the second being misplayed by Dunn into a double, for his first error in an Arizona uniform, and another two-bagger gave Colorado the lead. While that was the only damage Haren suffered, our offense was still apparently enjoying a nice continental breakfast, back at the hotel. Glendon Rusch was throwing the ball very effectively; after four innings, he'd retired 12 of 13 batters face, allowing only a single to Chris Young. There were stirrings of discontent clearly visible in the Gameday Thread.

Fortunately, the five-run fifth inning took care of that. Reynolds doubled to lead things off, and advanced to third on a groundout from Tracy. All we were hoping for was to get the game back to being level, having failed miserably in the ninth last night in the same situation: tying run on third, one out. Chris Snyder, however, wasn't going to settle for a measly sacrifice fly, instead hammering his eleventh homer of the season out of Coors, to give Arizona a 2-1 lead, his 49th and 50th RBI. Weirder was to follow, as Chris Burke went back-to-back after Snyder, with his first homer in 166 at-bats, and almost eleven months. That also got his average up to .200, tying the season high, though - no doubt scared by the altitude - he ended the day at .197.

After Haren struck out, Stephen Drew then extended his hitting streak to sixteen games with a single. That's tied for seventh in franchise history, and is the best by a Diamondback since Danny Bautista had a 21-game run, back in April 2004. Walks to Young and Jackson loaded the bases for Dunn, who somewhat redeemed himself for not coming through last night with the bags juiced, by delivering a two-run single to right, his first runs driven in for Arizona. An RBI double by Young in the seventh scored Haren - who had two hits, as did Young and Drew, and that completed the scoring for the Diamondbacks.

Dan Haren went eight innings, and threw 118 pitches, tying a season high. He allowed seven hits and two walks, striking out nine - also matching his top figure of the season. I was really surprised to see him go out there for the eighth, given he'd already thrown 103 pitches to get to that point, and the Diamondbacks were sitting on a five-run lead. The bullpen had hardly been taxed, with three innings in the previous two games, and we had both Rosales, unused since the 8th, and Cruz [since the 9th], fully available. Haren allowed a lead-off homer but got through - and Melvin instead turned to Rauch, for the third consecutive day. While I guess this was a 'confidence-building exercise', he took 18 pitches to retire his first batter, and almost turned the lead into a save situation for Lyon, with a double-play proved very, very convenient in closing out the win.

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[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Dan Haren, +19.7%
Honorable mention: Chris Snyder, +15.0%
God-emperor of suck: Chad Tracy, -3.9%

The thread cruised past 500 comments, basically before we noticed - I think day games are probably less taxing on the SB Nation servers, which likely helped. Present were GaryTheGaucho [welcome!], kishi, Wimb, Azreous, DbacksSkins, utahdbacksfan, Muu, bcloirao, unnamedDBacksfan, emilylovesthedbacks, srdmad, ZonaBacks10, Scrbl, J Up, AJforAZ, TwinnerA, snakecharmer, 4 Corners Fan, TuLoRocks2008, pepperdinedevil and soco. No problems or real unpleasantness today, I'm pleased to report, so credit to everyone for keeping it civil.

Dodgers are three outs from completing a four-game sweep of the reeling Phillies, so looks likely that they will tie us up again. They will be facing Milwaukee this weekend, while we're in Houston - don't look now, but the Astros have just put together an eight-game winning streak, in time for our arrival. Still, with our Cy Young front-runner on the mound tomorrow, we have to feel optimistic. It looks like the rotation is being aligned so we can throw both Webb and Haren at the Dodgers towards the end of the month, which makes sense.

Oh, and if anyone has a late interest in going to SnakePitFest on August 23rd, we have three spare tickets since shoe will not be able to make it [albeit for reasons that are actually pretty damn cool]. Email me - address in the sidebar - if you, or anyone you know is interested. First-come, first-served, obviously.

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