Record: 34-56. Pace: 61-101. Change on last season: -4. Change on 2004: +3. Hinch/Gibson Win %: .392/.273.
Any hopes that the Arizona Diamondbacks would emerge from the break revitalized and energized proved to be largely unfounded. A first-inning RBI double by Justin Upton proved to be the high-point of the evening for the team, and a five-run meltdown in the fourth by Dan Haren paved the way for the second-half of the season to start, in much the same way as the first one passed. Which would be with Arizona delivering a weak offense, inconsistent starting pitching, and a really sucky bullpen, and as a result, getting flattened by an opponent who gratefully accepted the chances we offered.
Details after the jump, though pardon me if my enthusiasm for writing much about this one is largely absent. I'm tempted to select randomly one of the 55 losses from the first-half, and copy/paste the recap from there, see if anyone notices. I just might do that at some point later in the year, if things keep going like this.
Haren cruised through the first three innings, allowing only one base-runner, a single to David 'Scrappy' Eckstein. Heck, he struck the Padres out in the third, and it was looking as if that solitary run was going to be enough for him. However, Dan's second-half slump bit, and bit hard, in the fourth inning, where he allowed six hits and a walk, resulting in five runs. The fragile lead lasted exactly two batters, as San Diego started things off by going double, two-run homer, double, single, making the score 2-1 to them, with runners on the corners and still no-one out. Haren did get a K, but a sacrifice fly extended the lead to two runs.
Probably the key non-out of the inning followed - Haren failed to retire his opposite number with two down, after issuing an intentional walk to put two men on, but to reach the pitcher's spot. Instead of ending the inning, Garland singled into the hold at shortstop - he might well have been called out at first - loading the bases, and the San Diego lead-off batter followed up with a two-run single. Instead of a possibly recoverable 3-1 game after four, the Padres were four up. Given that the Diamondbacks were hardly lighting up Garland, having gone 2-for-13 at that point, you can understand why the Gameday Thread suddenly resembled a tomb, even before another homer in the fifth made the score 6-1.
Meanwhile Jon Garland was making it look like we should have kept him and dumped Haren, as after Upton's RBI double with one out in the first, the next hit for a Diamondbacks batter didn't come until five more innings had passed. In between, all we had to offer was a couple of walks, and no-one in an Arizona jersey got past first-base. We managed three hits, two walks and one run in six innings from Garland, and then it was turned over to the National League's best bullpen for the final three frames, with the expected results. And, in case you hadn't worked it out, I mean the Padres there.
Actually, worth breaking that down a little bit further, since each team's relief corps got three innings of work, and neither side seemed particularly keen to throw their "A" bullpen into the fray [though we did use Aaron Heilman to get the last two outs]. But compare and contrast the two lines below:
San Diego: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 ER
Arizona: 3 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, HBP, 0 K, 6 ER
Yep, you read that right. Eight walks in three innings from our bullpen. Five of those came in the eighth inning, including two more from Heilman, to add to our major-league leading total with the bases loaded. Those were separated by a hit batter which drove in another run. The Padres scored their first three runs in the inning, without needing to put bat on ball or steal a base.
Mark Reynolds struck out swinging - his third K of the evening - to end the game, which is somehow fitting. Kelly Johnson was the only Diamondback to justify his existence, getting two of our four hits. I'm going to be quite curious to see if anyone made it into positive territory tonight. Rather the fangraph for tonight's three hours, 13 minutes of largely undiluted misery, here's Milla Jovovich singing the appropriately-titled Gentlemen Who Fell. I'm fairly sure we'd all prefer staring at that.
Quite surprised we actually made it over 500 posts, especially with Jdub220 willfully abandoning us - the meltdown which ensued is entirely his fault, it has to be said. justin1985, kishi and hotclaws, in that order, were the only members to get over 30 posts. Also present: Jdub220, soco, blank_38, Cory Williams, Zephon, Clefo, katers, 4 Corners Fan, pygalgia, Jim McLennan, asteroid, Dallas D'Back Fan, unnamedDBacksfan, BattleMoses, AJforAZ, piratedan7, Rockkstarr12, Azreous, brian custer and Skii. Comment of the night goes to the following heartfelt, if probably unreproducible fit of gibberish:
Oh for f%#%
Unfortunately, even my mad copy-paste skills couldn't capture the grey-blocky glory. Click on the date-time stamp to see that. And I'm off to bed. Can we have another four days off before the Diamondbacks have to play again please? I think we'd all appreciate it.