Record: 1-2. Pace: 54-108. Change on last season: 0.
One pitch. That's all it took to paint the abysmal picture that was today's game, an effort eerily reminiscent (yet worse in many ways) to yesterday's outing. While the outcome of any game can frequently be traced to one particular pitch, it usually isn't the first pitch of the game.
Rockies wunderkid Dexter Fowler jacked the first offering he saw from Doug Davis into the bleachers for a very quick 1-0 lead, and things went downhill from there. Sure, Stephen Drew tied it up in the bottom half with a solo shot of his own, his first, but the damage in terms of confidence (at least in the GDT) could be seen pretty quickly. Despite the hiccup to Drew, Franklin Morales was dealing, and he struck out the side around the homer and a base hit to Conor Jackson.
It wasn't that the Diamondbacks didn't have opportunities. The leadoff man reached in the second, third and fourth innings, but was reduced to staring (and perhaps, silently weeping) as batter after batter went down feebly. That stretch of futility was increased even further when Morales and Grilli retired 12 straight hitters until Chad Tracy pinch hit to lead off the eighth. Rather than leaving Tracy to pace impatiently at first for three outs, though, Felipe Lopez was kind enough to immediately ground into a double play instead.
While the offense sputtered, the wheels eventually fell off the Davis wagon. A double play erased a leadoff walk in the second, but Davis dug himself into a corner in the third after a leadoff single to Torrealba. Although he struck out Morales, he walked Fowler and Tulowitzki to load the bases with one out. Ryan Spilborghs continued his domination of Dougie with a two-RBI double, and Atkins sent a third run across with a sac fly that didn't need much more on it to completely blow the game open. That 4-1 score would hold up through the seventh, when Billy Buckner, after a relatively easy sixth, allowed back-to-back homers to Yorvit Torrealba and Ian Stewart.
In the eighth, this happened.
(Rauch? More like Rouch, amirite?)
Uncontent just to watch the rest of his bullpen mates flounder around aimlessly, Tony Peña got to participate in the fun, as Reynolds and Lopez each had throwing errors in the ninth. The latter allowed one run to score, and a Brad Hawpe double play let a second one cross, but cleaned up much of the debris.
All the Dbacks could do in the ninth was make the score
more respectable less awful. Young reached on a hit-by-pitch that looked somewhat intentional, but I doubt it. He waltzed into second unopposed to become the first runner in scoring position for Arizona all game, was moved over by a CoJack groundout to the right side, and scored on a Reynolds groundout. Effective small ball that came seven innings -- or two games -- much too late.
Master of his terrible domain: Stephen Drew, +5.2%
God-emperor of suck: Doug Davis, -19.8%
Yes, a game like this does wonders for everyone's contributions to win expectancy. Drew's solo shot that tied the game was worth a smidgen (when coupled with his other, less successful at-bats) Tracy and Reynolds were both barrrrrrrrely in the positive at less than a percent. Everyone else was in the negative, but none except Davis made it past 7 percent. Interestingly, the pitching (-25%) and hitting (-25%) contributed equally to our failures today, so I suppose the blame can be spread in every which direction. Nobody reached base more than once; Eric Byrnes drew the only walk, the shining beacon in the eternal abyss that was his other at-bats. Even Conor Jackson, the Irish god of walks and eyebrows, struck out looking twice, although one was on a very questionable call to end the third. Just five hits all told, same as yesterday's game.
A business-as-usual GameDay Thread, with 450ish comments. Present and accounted for were: unnamedDBacksfan, Azreous, snakecharmer, TwinnerA, DbacksSkins, Russ, kishi, mrssoco, hotclaws, Rox Girl, sergey606, Bcawz, Pyromnc, luckycc, Turambar, Gravity, oklahomasooners, emilylovesthedbacks, Jim McLennan, DiamondbacksWIn, Wimb and IndyDBack. kishi topped 100 comments and outpaced everybody else by at least 50. Attendance at the game wasn't much better: it was announced at 18,227, and even that seems a bit of a stretch. I'm not sure exactly what the team was expecting with this strange scheduling (see Jim's comments in the preview), but the results certainly aren't surprising.
An off day tomorrow, as clearly the boys have earned (need?) a break. On the plus side, it will give a bit of a breather to an already somewhat taxed bullpen. Jon Garland will make his first start as a Diamondback Friday when the Dodgers come to town. One hopes that some semblance of offense can be found by then -- and maybe some relief pitching as well.
[Update] Audio from today, has Melvin talking about the loss, while Doug Davis discusses his outing and Drew looks forward to the weekend series against the Dodgers.
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620