Diamondbacks 4, Padres 8: In Which Armando Galarraga And Our Defense Suck

See that Padre circling the bases? That's yours, that is, Armando...

Record: 17-23. Pace: 69-93.
Change on last season: +1.

Yeah, some idiot said they were feeling "optimistic" in this week's round-table and predicted we'd sweep the Padres. However, such confidence and positive thoughts were entirely disposed of by the middle of the second inning. By that time, Armando Galarraga had allowed five hits and a walk; both Ryan Roberts and Stephen Drew had committed errors, and the Padres were five runs up. Not quite what I wanted to see for my first recap in two weeks.

The loss drops the Diamondbacks back into the cellar of the NL West for the first time this season. Ouch.

The struggles of our pitchers in the first inning continued, as Galarraga allowed four of the first five Padres to reach base, and two runs scored. That's 32 now allowed by the Diamondbacks in 40 games: as a contrast, we've scored 21, and one-third of those were in a single contest.  Things got worse the next inning. It was going to be hard enough for the Diamondbacks to win this one with Galarraga on the mound - we didn't exactly need the middle-infield to kick the ball around. What should have been a 1-2-3 second inning turned into a 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 one. Oh, look: our Win Probability is now down to a feeble 13.6%. 

And Galarraga took care of that in the fifth, with three more Padres runs. His final line was five innings pitched, eight hits, two walks and eight runs allowed, five earned. His ERA for the season is 5.91, and it's getting worse. His May numbers are now:
Armando Galarraga: 14.2 IP, 19 H, 15 R, 11 ER, 11 BB, 7 K, 6.75 ERA
The most memorable thing he did tonight was whack the Padres' catcher on the side of the head with his bat. I don't want to steal 'charmer's thunder - she's beavering away on a piece about Galarraga and his struggles - but it seems to me increasingly likely that, when Duke returns, Galarraga may find himself pitching in garbage time.

Juan Gutierrez, the occupant of that role tonight, would probably welcome the company. However, his ERA is down to 3.50, after a couple of scoreless frames, allowing only one hit and striking out three. Not that there's much room for him to move up, since the rest of the bullpen are performing almost impeccably. Tonight, it was Sam Demel and Joe Paterson who finished things off, and our relief corps have now worked forty innings in May and allowed one earned run. That's a 0.22 ERA this month. Paterson's 17-game streak of scoreless appearances to start his career is now tied for fifth in recorded baseball history, one behind Doug Slaten for the franchise record.

While the other veterans may have contributed little offensively - Russell Branyan, Melvin Mora and Xavier Nady currently have OPS's of .627, .588 and .674 respectively, all well below league-average, even playing in Chase - Henry Blanco is, at least, enjoying Phoenix. He hit his third and fourth home-runs of the season tonight; not bad for someone who'll turn forty in August, especially considering his career high is ten. And that was in the dawn of prehistory, when Pat Borders and some guy called Mauer were his backups in Minnesota. Meanwhile, that season, Miguel Montero was appearing in 115 games for the South Bend Silver Hawks A-ball team.

The rest of the offense continued to be their futile selves. After Blanco's second homer, we did enjoy a brief flurry of activity: another run was driven in, and the Diamondbacks had men on the corners with one out. However, Justin Upton and Drew had a pair of ugly at-bats, both striking out. While Upton did get his eighth homer later, his second hit of the night, it was the Diamondbacks' eighth consecutive contest scoring four runs or less. It moves into the top ten such streaks all-time for the franchise. Next up, at nine games, would be the run we had last Sep 5-14. I can't say I am optimistic about us failing to match it.

20110516_padres_diamondbacks_0_20110516233544_live_medium
[Click to enlarge, at Fangraphs.com]
Babe Ruth: Henry Blanco, +6.1%
Armando Galarraga: Armando Galarraga, -35.4%

Seemed a quiet Gameday Threads; lot more Words With Friends being played on people's AndroPad device things, it appears, and I was quite surprised it broke 500. Clefo led all posters, imstillhungry95 was second, and we have a tie between NASCARbernet and Dallas D'Back Fan for third spot. Also present: BattleMoses, soco, hotclaws, IHateSouthBend, Sprankton, Backin'the'Backs, asteroid, 4 Corners Fan, Bryan J. Boltik, kishi, txzona, SenSurround, Zavada's Moustache, Gibbysdad, TinySarabia, jryanwalters, UAwildcats, Jim McLennan and snakecharmer. Comment of the night to Clefo, in a landside of rec'ness:


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