Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 9: Oh, look - the bullpen is sucking...

Record: 37-63. Pace: 60-102.
Change on 2009: -6. On 2004: +6.
Hinch/Gibson Win %: .392/.286

Contrary to pre-game expectation, the Diamondbacks had not tossed this one away by the time I got home. However, they wasted precious little time doing so once I arrived. The Arizona bullpen took the slimmest of leads and converted it into another defeat, allowing three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh, as we continued our progress through Tankapalooza 2010 with a fifth straight loss.

Details... After... [Sigh] The... Juuuu....

Baseball analyst Oscar Wilde once wrote that, "To lose one lead may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness." So I wonder what he would make of today's performance, in which the Diamondbacks coughed up no less than three leads? We were 1-0 up in the middle of the first, 3-2 ahead in the middle of the fifth, and then had a 5-4 edge in the middle of the sixth. Ok, they were all only one-run margins, but you'd think we might have been able to hang on to one of them, by sheer luck. Apparently not.

However, we can't blame just the pitching staff - though we'll be certain to heap on their fair share of abuse in due course. For the offense also managed to botch a good number of excellent opportunities, going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranding a dozen men on base. We left the bags full of Arizona batters three times in the first five innings, though Mark Reynolds did at least draw a bases-loaded walk in the first. That was our fourth of the season, compared to sixteen issued by the Diamondbacks pitchers so far.

#16 actually happened in the bottom of the third, and gave the Phillies the lead, an RBI single earlier in the frame having tied things up. Rodrigo Lopez did not have his best control today: he walked five in five innings, and along with the seven hits allowed over that time, it's kinda surprising that he only allowed four runs. He was helped by Philadelphia running into two outs on the basepaths - Miguel Montero gunned down a baserunner, and is now 13 of 41 in that category, a pleasantly surprising 32% rate [league average is 29%]. The big blow off Lopez was a two-run homer with no outs in the fifth, that put the home team up 4-3.

By that point, Reynolds had added his 24th home-run of the season in between, and Stephen Drew had actually come through with a man in scoring position, singling home a run in the fifth. And, after the lead had evaporated, the offense stormed meandered its way back in the sixth. A leadoff double was the only hit they managed in the inning, but a walk, error, LaRoche sacrifice fly and Montero RBI groundout [Gerardo Parra adroitly escaping the pivot tag at second, like a well-greased otter] turned things around nicely, and we handed things over to the Arizona bullpen to protect the lead for the final four innings.

And that went about as well as expected.

Blaine Boyer got the first two outs, around a single, and Captain Kirk then turned it over to Jordan Norberto to face lefties Raul Ibanez and, if necessary Ryan Howard. Yeah... About that... This was one of those decisions that looked very nice and sensible - lefties batting .364 off Boyer, but only .143 against Norberto. However, a wild-pitch, RBI single and two-run homer later, Norberto was trudging off the mound, having failed to retire a batter and now possessing a season ERA of 11.05. Esmerling Vasquez got the final out, and Chad Qualls then put things further out of reach, with another two-run homer in the eight, before mopping up his own mess with a scoreless ninth.

Thus, tonight's line for the bullpen: three innings pitched, six hits, two home-runs, five runs, all earned. Enough said. On offense, Chris Young and Rusty Ryal each got a couple of hits, Reynolds walked twice in addition to his long-ball, and LaRoche and Drew each got a walk and a hit. Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the first, but left in the fifth with what's being described as tightness in his right hip. Nick Piecoro tweeted that Upton felt a "little tweak" in the hip when diving back to second after his hip, but hopes he only misses a couple of days. Just what our offense needs - to lose the current OBP team leader for a bit...

20100727_diamondbacks_phillies_0_88_live_medium
[Click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Master of his domain: Mark Reynolds, +17.8%
Honorable mention: Chris Young. +10.3%
God-emperor of suck: Jordan Norberto, -44.3%
Dishonorable mention: Rodrigo Lopez, -24.1%

Exactly 600 posts in the thread, which isn't bad for an East-coast start, though there were only fourteen separate commenters. Jdub220 pipped DbacksSkins, with justin1985 in third place. Also in there, more or less: Clefo, kishi, emilylovesthedbacks,  Jim McLennan, Rockkstarr12, Torpedosneak, snakecharmer, 4 Corners Fan, hotclaws, AJforAZ, katers, blank_38 and Jack Cromwell. You want a Comment of the Night? Well, the most rec'd was mine, about our new Four Horsemen - "called Sucky, Suckier, Suckiest and Chad Qualls." So we go with the other that turned green:

The ginger factor isnt working tonight

by Jack Cromwell on Jul 27, 2010 6:40 PM MST

Truth be told, blond, brunette, ginger - it wasn't working tonight. The good news is, the Pirates managed to win a game on the road, against the slumping Rockies, so we picked up a full game on them in the Tankapalooza standings. If this keeps up, we could go into New York in second-place! Woo-hoo! Go, us!

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