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AZ 4, Dodgers 2 - Masters of our Domain

Record: 12-8. Change on last season: +3

"Our domain" being the two-run victory, of course. Six of our past nine wins have been by a deuce; we've had two one-runners and a three-spot. But I've no idea if this means anything at all or, as I suspect, absolutely zero. Nice to snap the Dodgers' own home winning streak, even if they hadn't actually played all that many games at home [though this makes their start all the more impressive].

Going into the start, Derek Lowe hadn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts, covering 17 innings. We soon put a stop to that little streak, scoring three before he got the second out in the first innings, on a nice 2-RBI double by Glaus, who was then driven in by a single from Green.

That was all the offense we'd need - which was a damn good thing, because it was almost all the offense we'd get. Only three D'backs got past first base the rest of the night, and only one past second - if you don't count Gonzo getting thrown out at home plate trying to score from first on a double. Memo to Gonzo: you're 37, take some advice from one of your peers (slight elders, in fact) and slow down. It won't be long before you'll need all your top speed for heading to the Early Bird Special at Luby's. ;-)

Fortunately, the Dodgers found "third base" as difficult a concept to grasp as our hitters. Until two out in the eighth, the only Dodgers to pass first safely were the two who were trotting leisurely round the bags, acknowledging the roar of the crowd, and neither of those had company. Eight innings for Vazquez, five hits and two walks, two runs and nine K's. 111 pitches; 79 strikes. Thankyouverymuch. Now hit the showers, bask in the knowledge of a job well done, and leave it to the bullpen.

As William K mentioned in the comments, former AZ 4th round draft pick Javier Lopez made his first actual appearance - and if this is any indication, Randy Choate may be seeking new employment, the position of LOOGY having been filled [is there a vacancy at Luby's?]. However, it may just mean we've got two, one for early use, one late. After Lopez struck out Drew, Lyon then swept in, and got the last two for his ninth save. He's on pace for 73 this season, if his arm doesn't turn to government cheese by the All-Star break. Mind you, he only threw four pitches: that level of efficiency should help matters.

Gonzo had three hits, so whatever one can say about his sprinting speed, the geezer can still swing the lumber - he now leads the team with a .311 average. Glaus and Counsell had two each, but Cintron was 1-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts. Hey, Alex: keep thinking of the cultural delights to be found in Chicago. After all, that is where they film Jerry Springer.

Thanks also to azpenguin, Otacon and frienetic for popping in, as well as Daniel, despite his "moderate level of disdain for Arizona" - we have only been going less than a decade. :-) Actually, I am inclined to agree, at least while the Dodgers make the running: when they play the Giants, I may find myself forced to root for the Bay Boys - at least, as long as Bonds is not in the lineup. Interesting question: in the event of a (very theoretical, please, God!) Yankees-Giants series, who would I want to win?

The good thing about this team is that it seems we can win games in a few ways: peppering hits; long ball; defense; lights-out pitching. Last year, we had to hope a) Randy was on the mound, and b) we got lucky. This kinda limited our opportunities somewhat. It'd also help if weren't quite as much LA's patsies as we have been - before last night, they'd won 18 of the previous 22 games against us.

But a note of caution: for all our optimism and talk of being on a roll, we're only actually three games better than after the first 20 games last year - our record was 9-11 at the same stage. Then, Richie Sexson's arm fell off, and the season rapidly degenerated into a fiasco. Here's hoping we avoid anything similar in 2005.

This might help: Joe Garagiola Jr. not being GM. It's been lurking since the departure of Joe's mate Jerry Colangelo, but if reports are true, he is getting punted upstairs to become VP of operations for MLB. But personally, the most interesting quote is "Bud Selig has recently opened up a "commissioner's office west" in Scottsdale which is being run by his son-in-law, Laurel Prieb." Nice work if you can get it, Bud...

And finally, very belated congratulations to West Coast Bias for their anniversary. In August, Ryan will be heading for Boulder, which is likely a far more pleasant place to be than Phoenix at that time of year. Though I've heard the local Colorado baseball team aren't up to much. ;-)