Record: 34-57. Pace: 61-101. Change on last season: -5. Change on 2004: +3. Hinch/Gibson Win %: .392/.250.
It what may have been a desperate attempt to change the mojo on the Diamondbacks dugout, Kirk Gibson shaved his mustache off - immediately rendering completely irrelevant, both this article and this song. But it didn't help Arizona, who crumbled to their third straight defeat, and ninth in the past eleven games. The Padres got four homers off Rodrigo Lopez, but also benefited from some questionable defense from the ever-generous visitors. An ill-advised diving grab by Rusty Ryal led to an inside-the-park homerun, a whiff in the other corner of the outfield by Justin Upton resulted in an RBI triple, and that was followed by a bunt RBI single which caught the infield napping.
The yawning chasm between the 2010 Diamondbacks and... Well, let's just say "sound, fundamental baseball," was once again painfully apparent. Details after the jump. Unless I can find enough Milla Jovovich videos to fill up the column-inches.
At least the offense did show up tonight., even if we didn't actually manage to hold the lead possessed briefly in the third for more than half an inning. Things started off as the reverse of yesterday, with the Padres getting out on top in the first inning, but the Diamondbacks responded with three runs in the third, on a two-run single from Adam LaRoche, and an RBI single by Rusty Ryal. However, we fell just a little short of the nine additional unanswered runs scored by San Diego. Instead, a solo homer and a two-run shot in the bottom of the third, gave the home team the lead once again, and this time, they didn't let us get out ahead.
We did tie the game at four, on Chris Young's sixteenth homer of the season to left. It was a solo shot, and I'm forced to wonder why the two guys who now possess the best slugging percentages on the team - Young and Kelly Johnson - are hitting #1 and #2 in the order. But the top of the order actually had a solid night for once, with those two plus Upton all having multi-hit nights, and combining to go 7-for-14, with four runs scored and two stolen-bases. LaRoche also had a couple of hits, while Mark Reynolds went hitless with two strikeouts, but did take two walks - the only ones taken by Arizona on the night.
The bottom of the fourth was ended when Rusty Ryal made a nice diving grab of a sinking ball to left-center. Unfortunately, Kirk Gibson got another lesson in the perils of running someone out of position, just because they're right-handed. Ryal has, at most, seven outfield starts in his entire professional career, and his web gem in the fourth must have gone to his head. Because, with two outs in the fifth, he tried the same thing on a ball hit down the line, rather than sucking it up and allowing a single, with the pitcher coming up. The ball got passed his glove, went all the way to the wall, and the batter circled the bases for a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run.
Rodrigo Lopez did not have his best night. Normally, six hits in six innings wouldn't be too bad - the problem was that four of them were home-runs. As a result, Lopez became only the second pitcher in the history of Petco Park to allow four long balls in a game - the other being the Cubs' Rich Hill in May 2007. That makes six in 11 innings by our starters this series, at a supposedly pitcher-friendly park. Mind you, Lopez is now #1 in the majors for home-runs allowed this year, with 23 in 122.2 IP (Haren is equal-second, on 21). That's a rate of 1.7 per nine innings - to put that into context, over the worst of his three seasons with Arizona, Yusmeiro Petit was at 1.9.
Sam Demel pitched the seventh, and it started off well enough with a couple of quick outs. However, he then issued a semi-intentional walk to lefty slugger Adrian Gonzalez (four straight wide ones, from a guy who had allowed two walks to the 49 batters previously faced). Which might have been ok, but Upton had been reading the Rusty Ryal Book of Outfielding, and flapped at a fly-ball in right-center without making contact, and turning it into an RBI triple. The Padres' catcher then dropped down a bunt, which caught the Arizona defense completely flat-footed - there's a first... - and finished off the scoring in the game.
Anything else? In the GDT, justin1985 said, "Snyder can't throw anymore," and sadly that appears an all-too accurate four-word review of his defense against the stolen-base. He can't be regarded as a plus defensive catcher any more, at least in that area. This is a major change on the situation a few seasons ago. Including the one given up tonight, here are Chris Snyder's numbers as far as base-stealers are concerned, since his debut in 2004. As a yardstick for comparison, National League average last season was 29%. The decline is steep and consistent over the past four seasons
And here's today's Millagraph. I'm going to keep using these until we actually win. Let's face it, people need some excuse to come into the recap...
[Click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Master of his domain: Chris Young, +24.7%
God-emperor of suck: Rodrigo Lopez, -55.2%
Didn't make it to 500 comments, though we had a bit of a broader spread of people, seven people reaching thirty, compared to three last night. justin1985 was top, with hotclaws second (a remarkable feat given circumstances - see below), and kishi in third. Also present: Jim McLennan, NASCARbernet, 4 Corners Fan, Turambar, pygalgia, Rockkstarr12, snakecharmer, BattleMoses, dbacksgirl (welcome!), jinnah, AJforAZ, piratedan7, emilylovesthedbacks, asteroid, Dallas D'Back Fan, dima1109, Fiona, blank_38, Cory Williams and unnamedDBacksfan. The only two comments to glow green were mine, so I'm going with hotclaws and her "interesting" evening:
I think that sums up the 2010 season quite nicely, don't you? Still, we'll be back tomorrow to see if we can avoid the sweep. Hope. It's what we do...