The Arizona Diamondbacks, the team we all love and cherish (unless you're one of those lurking opposing fans, in which case: GET OFF MY LAWN), end the first "half" of the season today in St. Louis. The D'Backs took the first two games of the series, but lost last night due to some hauntingly familiar bullpen performances. On the mound for us was Zach Duke. Well, more like Zach PUKE AMIRITE? LOLZ! I'M SO WITTY, IT'S LIKE I ABSORBED OSCAR WILDE'S ESSENCE AND ATE HIS SOUL RIGHT BEFORE HE DIED AND I'M NOW AN IMMORTAL INTER-DIMENSIONAL BEING DEDICATED TO ABSORBING ALL OF HUMANITY! NOTHING CAN STOP ME NOW!!!!
...(ahem). His counterpart was Jaime Garcia, (Soft J, like "jogging"). We also threw out our "B?" lineup, as Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra were nowhere to be found. It is a known scientific fact that left handed hitters can never hit a left handed pitcher. It has something to do with Solar Flares and the Duckworth-Lewis method. What followed was nine innings of "Meh", at least from my perspective
The Cardinals struck first in the first. Tony Cruz singled, and Albert Pujols adapted to Zach Duke's pitches and assimilated a ball over the head of Wily Mo Pena (insert joke here) for a double. Matt Holliday fisted one into center to score the first run. David Freese hit a sac fly to make it 2-0.
The good guys struck back in the next half inning. Chris Young singled to start off the inning. After Wily Mo did one of the two things he likes to, Ryan Roberts came up and on a 1-2 count hit a ball very far for his 11th homer of the year, making it 2-2. Blanco and Duke got on after that, but were stranded.
Duke, being a sporting gentleman, gave up a two run homer to Freese with two outs in the third. That made it 4-2 Cardinals. The D'Backs threatened in the top of the fourth, but that rally fizzled more than a bad metaphor that I can't think of right now. The next three innings at bat for the D'Backs were sleep inducing, although Blanco juuuust missed a homer in the sixth. The bottom of the inning featured something that made me very happy: Yadier Molina trying to steal (or Nick Punto messed up a hit and run, but I like the first better). Pause for laughter.... now.
Okay, we're back five minutes later. Tony LaRussa made one of his GENIUS! Moves later, by pinch hitting Lance Berkman for Jaime Garcia. Garcia was only at 89 pitcher and with a two run lead. But it takes a genius to make weird moves. HE'S WON LIKE TWO WORLD SERIES PEOPLE! Duke got through the inning and Sean Burroughs pinch hit for him (The less said about that particular at bat, the better) to start off the seventh. His final line was 6 Innings pitched, 9 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout.
Kelly Johnson doubled with two outs in the inning courtesy of LOLby Rasmus misplaying another ball in this series, but Justin Upton grounded out to the pitcher to end that threat. Aaron Heilman came in for the bottom of the inning, and it was clean. I'm not going to write that sentence a whole lot in my life, so I'll enjoy it. He did it a second inning! Credit where it's due, he kept us in the game, and lowered his ERA to a still awful but less so 6.55.
Top of the Ninth. Xavier Nady did his thing and popped out. Gerardo Parra was called out on what was clearly a makeup call for Don Denkinger. Parra and Eric Young were not amused, but to no avail. A pinch-hitting Stephen Drew got a single, then took second on indifference, then third on a wild pitch. However, Miguel Montero had somewhere to be and struck out to end the game.
Getting Punched In The Face By A Care Bear: R Roberts, +6.2%; Z Duke (batting), +5.1%
Getting Punched In The Face By A Person With Malnutrition : A Heilman, +3.3%, J Upton -8.6%
Getting Punched In The Face By A Tag Team of Chuck Norris And Mike Tyson: Z Duke (pitching), -22.1%
So the D'backs split the series 2-2 and split the road trip 5-5. The D'Backs go into the All Star break 49-43, which is probably better than a lot of us expected, but you can't help but feel that on more than a few occasions we left some wins out there. But, onwards and upwards!
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Nothing really moved me, so I'll pull a soco and not award a COTD today. Be more funny etc. etc.
Stick around for the Futures Game GDT that Jim promised. We will also see you here for the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game. Unless you're actually at those events, in which case: You lucky SOBs. Here's to a second half of the season that involves us making a charge combined with some Giants failings. Oh wait, just got a note here that wanting the Giants to fail is a violation of the Geneva Convention and that I will be taken care of. What are these black helicopters outside for...?