Record: 22-23. Pace: 79-83. Change on last year: +2.
What a doozy. That's really the only way to explain this game. I had this entire thing written up, ready to fire off to the publishers (the Writers' Dungeon greatly resembles a newspaper publishing facility), just awaiting a few last tidbits. I was ready to doze off to sleep to prepare for the massive amounts of work I have tomorrow (school projects are extremely lame, especially those left ignored for the nine weeks they've been assigned). I was ready to tell the story of a tough-luck loss, finishing with a typical "unfortunately, the Diamondbacks couldn't muster much more, falling to the Twins 6-3", signing off with the usual "check out tomorrow's rubber match". So, I'll get less sleep, I'll probably have a subpar assignment ready for my teacher Monday morning, and the 765 words I typed up about the game that once was (and no longer is) will remain unseen by the public.
But you know what? I don't care in the slightest, because tonight, the Diamondbacks fought and kicked some serious ass.
Heading into the night, we simply looked for something acceptable from Micah Owings, who'd been recently called up from Reno to fill in the gaping hole in the rotation since the demotion of Armando Galarraga. He pitched effectively for the first five innings, allowing just a solo shot (you knew that already, though, because I said Micah Owings was pitching) to Danny Valencia and an unearned run, but the wheels fell off in the sixth. After giving up his second homer of the game (this time to Jason Kubel), the Twins managed to score again on a couple of singles before Owings was finally taken out. Sam Demel came on and managed to mop up nicely, but one can't help but think to think that an earlier hook on Owings would have had a better result. As a few mentioned, Owings doesn't have the velocity to be your sorta "shutdown" starter, and pulling him after five effective innings would probably have yielded better results. When the dust settles, five and a third with three earned runs isn't the end of the world from your interim fifth starter, though it'll be interesting to see what we do with Micah at this point, what with Zach Duke's return and all. Maybe we'll see him return to the role he took on last year with Cincinnati, pitching out of the bullpen; if so, he'd provide a nice bat off of the bench, as odd as it sounds, not to mention he'd be able to pitch if he ends up replacing the starter. It's definitely something to keep an eye on once Duke returns.
Fortunately for the Diamondbacks, Micah wasn't the only pitcher who saw his luster wear off in the sixth. Minnesota's Scott Baker was having no issue keeping Arizonan bats quiet, surrendering just a single run in the first five frames (off of a Juan Miranda double that just barely stayed in the park) and two hits while striking out seven. While Baker isn't a bad pitcher, it was painful to watch the Diamondbacks' complete bafflement, even with the offensive futility as of late. In the sixth, though, it appeared that Arizona began to figure things out, as Stephen Drew doubled to lead off the frame. Chris Young followed suit, scoring Drew, while making it a two run ballgame and knocking Baker out of the game. After a Miguel Montero groundout, Juan Miranda drew a walk, setting up Parra to lay down an absolutely beautiful bunt down the third base line, cutting the deficit to one. That's all the noise they'd make in the inning, though. I guess they were saving the rest of the explosions for later.
Joe Paterson was brought into the game in the top half of the eighth and immediately surrendered a single to Jason Kubel. Although Morneau grounded out and failed to move the runner over, that was all Gibby wanted to see from Paterson, as Aaron Heilman trotted in from the bullpen. Just the guy you wanna see in a high-leverage situation, huh? Although Aaron can't be faulted for an error Stephen Drew made to put runners on first and second, he can certainly be faulted for the single he allowed to Danny Valencia. Valencia floated one to right, allowing the Jupzooka some time to charge; once Justin grabbed it, he fired a laser beam to Montero that was ultimately mishandled, allowing the run to score and giving Minnesota the 6-3 lead. Although Heilman managed to get two quick outs afterwards to end the inning, it felt like the final nail was put into the coffin.
Ah Wailord, ye of little faith. Chris Young led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to left, forcing Joe Nathan out of the game. Montero then singled to right, forcing Glen Perkins out (who injured his right oblique on the play and was sent to the DL after the game) - and, more importantly, bringing in Minnesota's closer, Matt Capps, into the ballgame. Juan Miranda (who's apparently been accepted into the SnakePit Acceptance Club) doubled once more to left, scoring both Young and Montero to put the Snakes behind by just one. Parra bunted over the third baseman's head (?????), putting runners at first and second, but a not-so-optimal bunt from Josh Wilson let Minnesota get the lead runner at third. The Tatman Ryan Roberts singled to center, bringing up the "slumping" (ok, horrifically sucking) Kelly Johnson with the bases juiced. What'd he do? Launch a no-doubter into right, of course, giving the ‘backs a 9-6 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Fast-forward to the ninth, where J.J. Putz was brought in to shut the door, and shut the door he did, striking out Jason Kubel to end the game. We've now won seven of our last eight and still sit just four games out of first (?!) and one game under .500 (?!). I could get used to this whole six-run-eighth-inning deal, anyway.
Now Accepted into SnakePit Acceptance Club: Juan Miranda, +41.6%
Maybe Finished Slumping: Kelly Johnson, +27.4%
Better Than Armando: Micah Owings, -17.4%
A semi-busy GDT tonight, as we garnered a bit over 800 comments for the game. 'Charmer led the pack with 128; txzona took second with 105; and NASCARbernet came in third with 93. All involved tonight were: 4 Corners Fan, xmet, asteroid, hotclaws, Dallas D'Back Fan, Turambar, luckycc, piratedan7, Bcawz, Muu, Rockkstarr12, Sprankton, shoewizard, Counsellmember, blue bulldog, BattleMoses, Gibbysdad, TinySarabia, Zavada's Moustache, blank_38, dback4life, IHateSouthBend, mrssoco, kishi, soco, morineko, Clefo, Jdub220, Scottyyy, Azreous, LiamNeeson, and Bryan J. Boltik.
Comment of the Night overwhelmingly goes to mrssoco, with the following promise:
It's in writing now, Liz. Forever immortalized in the intertubes. It's basically a contract.
Tomorrow's rubber match Tomorrow we'll shoot for the sweep in a game that feature Dan Hudson going toe-to-toe with Francisco Liriano, a contest that should probably prove to be a good one. Both are coming off of very solid starts, so be sure to stick around tomorrow. BattleMoses is guest-'capping it, too, so be on the look out! Now, I'm off to bed before I fall asleep at the compu