Diamondbacks 2, Phillies 9: Can't Win 'Em All...

Victorino: "Hahaha! You get to face Cliff Lee today!!" Ransom: "Hahaha! You have to face Joe Sa... Oh, never mind..."

Record: 69-54. Pace: 91-71. Change on last season: +21

The Diamondbacks couldn't quite pull off another win against a top-ranked pitcher, but it was close. They had the lead in the middle of the second, thanks to Paul Goldschmidt's third home-run, and Joe Saunders fought Cliff Lee to a stalemate through six innings, with the score tied at two. However, Saunders couldn't retire any of the first three batters faced in the seventh, and all three came around to score. Brad Ziegler didn't help things with his eighth inning, and St. Gibby's line-up magic failed to work today, with the offense held to only three hits all night. Which was, by coincidence, the same as the number of Arizona errors.

The Giants won, but overall, we have got past the worst part of the series, with our lead half a game bigger than it was when we finished up against the Mets. That's more than acceptable.

After an RBI single with no outs in the second tied the game up, Joe Saunders faced one batter over the minimum from there through the end of the sixth inning, and looked increasingly good doing so. The problem was what book-ended that spell: It was preceded by the Phillies going 3-for-5 with a home-run and a walk, and followed by them being 2-for-2 with a walk. The overall result was a respectable five hits over six innings, but Saunders walked four and only struck out three, never a good ratio. That led to five earned runs for Joe.

When the end came, it came quickly: Saunders was only at 90 pitches after six frames, but struggled immediately in the seventh, walking the lead-off man on four pitches. Half a dozen more, and he was gone, with back-to-back hits by the Phillies, the key one a two-run tie-breaking double, that put the home team ahead to stay. Joe Paterson allowed the inherited runner to score, but limited the damage. Unfortunately, Ziegler went one better than Saunders, as the first four Phillies reached base against him,. and they all scored as well, though only one was charged to Ziegler as an earned run.

That padded a margin that definitely does not reflect the balance of play over the entire game. After the Phillies took the lead in the bottom of the first, on a Jimmy Rollins lead-off homer, Arizona came back immediately in the top of the second. Chris Young walked, and Goldschmidt then happened, depositing one out of the park to left-center, to five the Diamondbacks the lead. It didn't last long, but I think we'd have settled for being tied after six against Cliff Lee. If he perhaps wasn't as overpowering as Roy Halladay, "only" striking out seven batters, he was hardly less effective.

For Arizona did not have a single at-bat with anyone in scoring position all night. The only time we got runners past first, was when CY and Goldie were rounding the bases, after the latter's homer. Apart from that, the sole times the team really threatened to break the tie, Lee was able to dial up a double-play ball and end the threat. In the sixth, Ryan Roberts singled with one out; in the seventh, Goldschmidt walked with one out. But in both cases, the subsequent play was the same, as Justin Upton and Cody Ransom respectively, hit the ball to an infielder, and the inning came to an abrupt halt.

As noted, St. Kirk's efforts to stack the line-up with right-handed batters didn't work. Collin Cowgill, Henry Blanco and Cody Ransom were a combined 0-for-9 with no walks and two K's. And they didn't even make Lee work particularly hard, those nine outs lasting a total of 25 pitches. Hopefully, we'll see our A-roster out there tomorrow for the series finale, which sees Ian Kennedy seek to put Vance Worley in his place.

20110817_diamondbacks_phillies_0_20110817210701_live_medium
[click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Bugs Bunny: Paul Goldschmidt, +19.8%
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Joe Saunders, -20.6%
Bronies: Ransom, -12.3%; Upton, -11.3%

Despite the disappointing tone of the game, we approached 1,400 comments over two threads.  imstillhungry95 led with 213, soco had a hundred less, while Clefo and Rockkstarr12 reached exactly 100. Also present: Backin'the'Backs, Bcawz, njjohn, DbacksSkins, Majabe, piratedan7, BulldogsNotZags, Baja F1, SongBird, Juptoncredible, Jim McLennan, 4 Corners Fan, snakecharmer, kishi, asteroid, mrssoco, hotclaws, marionette, BattleMoses, Zavada's Moustache, venomfan, SenSurround, blank_38, txzona, DKuon, NASCARbernet, dbacksfann, Craig from Az, luckycc, Jdub220, Gildo, rfffr, Brian MacKinney, bownesy (welcome!), AZDBACKR, Scott Howard, UofAZGrad, TinySarabia, Augdogs, blue bulldog, YoungCardsFanatic, sonic barracuda, mbarnard11, Conrad Kaczmarek, brian custer, Gibbysdad, Skii, The so-called Beautiful, Turambar and heartpursuer (welcome!).

Even though the Giants won [albeit staving off an epic comeback by the Braves, from six down in the ninth, to having the tying run at the plate!], let's go with something optimistic for Comment of the Night:

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