Three days in, and we already get an off-day. West Coast Bias already cover the "series preview" angle very well, so instead, I'm going to do a series review. Specifically, a bit like in spring training, I'm going to pick up to three 'heroes and zeroes' for the series just finished, and keep tally over the season, just for fun. Both pitchers and hitters are equally eligible. The best hero might score as much as +3, the worst zero as low as -3. Should give us a handle on who has been the best player of the year. And so, without further ado:
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 1: vs. Cubs, at home
Luis Gonzalez: 5-for-11, 2 HR, 5 RBI, OPS: 1.538
Russ Ortiz: 6 IP, 5 ER, 3 ER
Chad Tracy: 6-for-11
Greg Aquino: 1 IP, 4 ER
Royce Clayton, 2-for-12, 3 GIDP
Javier Vazquez: 1.2 IP, 10 H, 7 ER
Gonzalez is our first player of the series, in particular for his sterling work in Game 2. We really needed a hero that night, and Gonzo responded beautifully against 300-game winner Maddux, his two home runs supplying most of our offense. In the same game, Ortiz similarly pulled it out for us, defying expectations with a quality start (more than Webb or Vazquez managed), while Tracy gets in, as much for his excellent defense at first as his .545 average - now, get some walks too. Craig Counsell (whose batting stance seems less exaggerated than when he last played for us, and has been great in the lead-off spot) and Brandon Lyon also get honourary mention.
On the other side of the coin, Greg Aquino's woefully ineffectual performance in the opener demonstrated perfectly why he's no longer our closer. Clayton has been very poor in the #2 spot, wiping out as many baserunners as he's supplied, and I expect growing calls for him to be swapped with Tracy or even dropped to the #8 hole. And Javier Vazquez's start on Opening Day was among the very worst debuts in D'backs history - at least with Casey Daigle, we had low expectations! At the moment, I feel relief we haven't signed Vazquez to a long-term contract.