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AZ 5, Dodgers 4 - Dodging the Sweep

It's looking like a rather busy day, so this entry will likely be shorter than the average bear. Thus, without further ado, and showing unexpected restraint on the unnecessary verbiage front [er, with the exception of this opening paragraph, that is...]

Another day, another homer for Glaus - now on pace to hit 108 this season :-) - as he tied the franchise record by sending another ball out of the park for the fourth straight day. Yet another ball casually flipped over the fence into right field; that opposite-field power of his is great, and will prevent anything like the Bonds shift. Another day, another Dodger comeback too, but this time we responded and took the season finale, despite being outhit 8-12. [The Dodgers left a total of 23 on base.]

It didn't start off brilliantly, with the Dodgers taking the lead, largely thanks to Tracy's first gaff at first - the last time I saw anyone let something go between their legs that easily was on the Paris Hilton tape. [Note to Chris: I haven't actually seen that, and have no interest in doing so. I was merely exercising my comedic license...which has probably now been revoked! :-)]

The rest of the hits were up and down the entire line-up. Everyone, save one player, had one and only one. And the one to miss out, probably inevitably, was Royce 'Ohfer' Clayton - Ohfer four yesterday. Even Ortiz had a hit, his second of the season, bringing his lifetime average at the plate to a very respectable .209 (and that's in 425 AB's, so it's no fluke). Maybe we should be putting him in the #2 spot. That hit came on a beautiful bunt that just stayed fair, and he laid down another in the third that gave us the lead after Glaus had tied it.

We took the lead in the fifth, Counsell knocking Derek Lowe out of the game - literally. His line-drive ricocheted off Lowe's right arm and over the third-baseman's head for an RBI single. Shawn Green followed with a homer, but the key blow was Chad Tracy, who redeemed himself for the earlier gaff with an eight-innings RBI single after the Dodgers had comeback yet again.

Ortiz allowed seven hits and three walks over five innings, but only allowed two runs, and only one was earned, so have no complaints at all. He's responsible for both the two best lines we've seen from our starters, if not perhaps the two best performances. Another four-innings stretch needed by the bullpen. Villarreal did a nice job in the sixth, coming in with the bases loaded and none out, but getting a pop-up and a double-play. He did give up a two-run homer to tie it in the sixth and left with a "shoulder strain". Choate, Koplove and Lyon allowed a hit each in an innings each. Lyon's comeback was especially welcome after Friday's caning.

Heroes and Zeroes, Series 2: vs Dodgers, home
Chris Snyder - 5-for-8, plus truly heroic defence
Russ Ortiz - again shows the rest of the rotation how to pitch. And Clayton how to bunt.
Craig Counsell - 4-for-10 plus four walks. Getting it done
Royce Clayton - 2-for-10, another double play
Javier Vazquez - five ER in 5.1 innings. Better only in comparison
Brandon Lyon - credit for saving the finale, but Friday's fright is impossible to erase, even though none of the runs were earned.

Speaking of which, yes, no Troy Glaus. Sure, he had three home runs, but those were his only three of the series, and he also made that error in the opener, which probably lost it for us. This was enough to push him off the list and into "honourary mention" status, alongside Mike Koplove and Luis Gonzalez, who also get a tip of the hat.

We have eight players with 10 or more at-bats this season. One is hitting below .200 (no prizes for guessing who!), three between .200 and .300, no-one between .300 and .400, and four at .400 or better:
Chad Tracy: .429
Luis Gonzalez: .409
Craig Counsell: .400
Chris Snyder: .400
That's the #1, 3, 7 and 8 in our line-ups, which is pretty cool.