Record: 19-15. Change on last season: +5
And about time too, even if we got outhit 10-3. One swing of Glaus's bat, on a 3-0 pitch from Tony Armas, was enough to provide all three runs, while Shawn Estes and Brandon Lyon pitched out of, not one, not two, but three bases-loaded jams. This one goes down as a game we could very easily have lost, so to steal it is very satisfying, and hopefully a corner turned.
For once, it was the opposition who couldn't score to save themselves; in the fourth, they loaded them up, and Hammonds struck out looking. In the sixth, they loaded them up with one out: Schneider flew out to shallow left, and Armas Jr. lined out. Then, in the eighth, Koplove walked two, was replaced by Lyon, who hit Wilkerson...then struck Carroll out swinging. He allowed a lead-off single in the ninth, but got two strikeouts to save the day.
First time through the order, Estes was perfect, striking out four Nationals. Generally, reports were favourable, Ryan saying, "His fastball was at 90-93 with good location, and the curve ball was a thing of beauty last night." Thanks also to Otacon, IndyDBack and William K for their thoughts. IndyDBack also raised an interesting question about the umpiring, which seems to have been a bit flaky of late, particularly in balls + strikes, and wonders about Questec, which was supposed to be sorting things out.
S'funny: after a couple of years when it was all the rage (remember Schilling taking a bat to one Questec box in 2003?), I haven't heard much about it this season. Tom Glavine blames it in New York, whenever he gets knocked around, but otherwise, very little. One interesting stat I did find: according to the machine, 93% of ball/strike calls were correct last year. I don't know about you, but I find that figure worryingly low; that's pretty much one pitch per innings called incorrectly, and if you eliminated the calls that are obvious either way, that 7% error figure would easily double or more. It certainly seemed to have recently...
Back at BOB, two of the hits were for Glaus. Everyone else, combined: 1-for-24. Afterwards, Gonzo 'clarified' his rant of the previous day: "I was just upset at some things because of the fact that the same people are going to be the ones patting you on the back down the road when you're team is playing well and that's not right." Sorry, Luis, it's perfectly right, to the point that the phrase, "Well, DUH" comes to mind. What are we supposed to say after a four-game streak where we're outhit 52-22? "Well done, boys"?
Look, I love the Diamondbacks, and always will; but if we play badly, I'm not going to pretend everything in the garden is rosy, and won't respect any journalist or broadcaster who claims it is. [That's what the Banana is for...] But equally, I don't criticize for the sake of it: when you deserve praise, Gonzo, you'll get it, but it has to be earned, otherwise it's meaningless.
However, I do feel Gonzalez was somewhat upset by the ejection, and we'll cut some slack given this quote from him about getting thrown out: "My daughter saw it on TV and she said, 'Dad, I think you need to think before you speak'. She's 6 years old. I told her she was right because that's what I always preach to my kids." That sort of thing is why, come hell or high water, we will always adore Luis Gonzalez.
Rumblings at the lower level: we resigned catcher Kelly Stinnett to a Minor League contract. We already had him in Spring Training, but dumped him when it looked like Snyder and Hill would be all we'd need. He went to the Mets, but a shoulder problem led to them releasing him too. He should be on the active roster in the next few days, then look for Hill or Snyder (could be either: Snyder's hitting better, but skipped Triple-A last year) to be shuffled down to Tucson.
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 11: at home, vs. Pirates
Vazquez: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 2 ER
Glaus: 3-for-11, 4 RBI
Ligtenberg: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 8 ER
McCracken: 0-for-8, GIDP
Ortiz: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 4 BB
Scratching hard to find heroes here: Vazquez had the best outings of our starters, the only one not to allow double-digits in hits plus walks. Glaus's slumbering bat awoke a bit too. Ligtenberg's awful performance in the finale would have merited much worse, had it been at all meaningful; McCracken sucked, but Ortiz gets paid ten times what Q gets, and was equally awful in his own way.
I want to draw your attention to the new poll, to pick the Arizona Diamondbacks representative at the All-Star Game. I'm going to leave this one open until the actual All-Star vote closes, so you may want to hang on before casting your ballot. Unlike the real thing, I don't think SportsBlogs lets you vote multiple times!
And with that, on to the preview, since it's an afternoon game today. No rest for the wicked!