Record: 21-15. Change on last season: +7
With five outs to go, Coors Field finally turned up, like a grumpy frat-boy who got lost on the way to the kegger. Boom. Cruz knocks his second one of the night out. Whap. Clark smacks a two-run pinch homer. A tentacle languidly breaks the surface; just a gentle reminder of what playing baseball at Coors Field can be like.
Up until then, this looked destined to be our third 3-2 win in a row. Denver or not, the scoreboard rolled towards that low result with the stately inevitability of Revenge of the Sith being #1 at the box-office next weekend. Though personally, I lost all respect for the series when the Ewoks turned up.
Speaking of creatures of no real purpose brings us nicely to Royce Clayton, whom we have occasionally criticized in the past [okay, with about every third breath]. However, in all fairness, that was heck of a play in the 7th. The Rockies had the bases loaded with one out, and were threatening to make a Denver omelette of the game, but Clayton snared a screamer, and started a double-play. The reviews are in:
* "A brilliant play" - Associated Press
* "May have been the best...this year" - Bob Melvin
* "He's a heck of a defender - Todd Helton
* "Electrifying" - Arizona Republic
* "Outstanding" - Russ Ortiz
That was the key moment in the game, right there. From then on, the Rockies didn't threaten much again; we broke the game open in the ninth, and it was a surprise to see Brandon Lyon in the ninth for the third night in a row, and with a four-run lead. Twenty-two pitches = looming burnout. Then again, maybe at Coors, any pitcher who finishes a game should be credited with a "save"?
Though it was Clayton's defensive reactions that saved the win for Ortiz, who stayed into the seventh but was clearly gassed before he was pulled after 115 pitches. I didn't see much of the game, but did catch one ball bouncing half-way to the plate, the next almost soaring to the backstop over Snyder's head. However, we'll take any quality start in Denver: even one with eight hits and three walks scattered over six innings. Clayton also helped Cormier extend his scoreless streak to seventeen innings, and our arms threw 173 pitches in total.
Cruz was the only Diamondback who seemed to realise where we were playing, going 3-for-4 with two homers. The other six hits were scattered around six players; Clayton didn't get one, but if you want proof truth is not always found in the boxscore, go download Royce's grab once again, if you weren't there. And few were: the crowd was only 18,184, the smallest in Rockies history. Is it 'cos the Rockies suck, or we're still perceived as sucking?
No matter: we're back tied for the lead in the NL West once again, and that's what counts. And certainly not the fact I've just noticed Random Fandom used almost the same headline as me (entirely independently, I should stress) - oh, well, no time to think up another one of equal wit! :-) William K, frienetic, IndyDBack and azpenguin were our guests last night, riding the roller-coaster which is pretty much any game at Coors.
Do tend to agree with William that we'd be better off with Nance than Ligtenberg in the pen; having only one left-hander severely limits our options. And azpenguin makes a good point too about the return of Cruz - while we can cope with one offensive hole (Clayton), adding another one in the shape of McCracken is too much of a handicap. Let's hope he stays healthy; watching him limp out that double his first at-bat was positively painful.
Another potential black cloud in the area is Troy Glaus's knee, which is bothering him somewhat. At the moment, it's claimed as more a nuisance than anything, but he's scheduled to take a cortisone shot tomorrow, then have Sunday off. That's some "nuisance". I am raising the Diamondbacks Security Alert Level from Green to Blue: "Guarded: general risk of serious injury"...