Record: 26-17. Change on last season: +9
Brandon Webb clearly likes pitching in Detroit. He's thrown two complete games in his career, both in Comerica Park, and follows that up by taking a no-hitter into the sixth innings last night. Ivan Rodriguez finally broke it up with an infield single, but Webb still improved to 6-0, in the end allowing six hits and only one walk.
He pitched into the ninth, then was replaced by Bruney after letting the first two men reach. Our new closer promptly struck out the side, in what even I would have to admit, grudgingly, should probably count as an acceptable outing.
Okay, folks: who had Craig Counsell down as the man most likely to lead the Diamondbacks in batting average? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? But after last night's four-hit, three double, 2 RBI game, he's eased his way to .316, which takes him past Gonzo (.314). Less impressive was Cruz, who made his way into the second spot - which is good - but left seven men on base, and struck out three times. Which is not good. Bring back Clayton! ;-) [Actually, Clayton had two hits and an RBI; Chad Tracy had three hits.]
I was just looking at the NL stats for the #2 spot, which has been a black hole for us this year. We rank 15th pretty much across the board (BA, OBP, SLG), with the position hitting below the Mendoza line at .199 - and that's 45 points worse than the 14th place team. [In case you're wondering who's sixteenth, it's Pittsburgh at .171] But it's not just Clayton that's to blame. Of the four players with twenty or more at-bats there, here's how the lines break down:
BA OBP SLG OPS Clayton .226 .284 .323 .607 Cintron .138 .138 .172 .310 Tracy .241 .241 .517 .759 McCracken .083 .185 .083 .269
As Enoch said in the comments (thanks also to Otacon for his input), we might as well try Cruz in the spot; seems like every other credible candidate has been given a shot and failed... However, Melvin said he just didn't want three successive left-handed hitters at the top of the lineup with Detroit having a pair of left-handed middle relievers.
With the Padres continuing their stellar streak - they've gone 15-2 since the last time we played them - a win last night was important to keep us on their coat-tails. With the Dodgers and Giants fading and flailing respectively, next week's series against San Diego is looming with increasing importance. And Russ Ortiz is scheduled to pitch the opener. I'd really prefer it if we could get Javier Vazquez in the series instead; however, he's scheduled to pitch Sunday and I can't see a viable way to adjust things.