Record: 29-22 Change on last season: +11
"It's frustrating when you feel great and things just don't happen for you. I was just too inconsistent with everything. Before I threw the pitch, I felt like I was going to throw it to my spot, but it wasn't quite getting there."
"It wasn't quite getting there" = 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 5 ER
I'm getting fed-up with this. We're not talking about a bad outing. May has been a wretched month for a man who is the second-best paid pitcher on the club. Six outings, one quality start, and the following line for the month:
Russ Ortiz: 28.2 IP, 50 H, 26 BB, 14 K, 25 ER, 7.85 ERA
At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, this is just not good enough.
It may be significant that, for the first time in his career, Ortiz is giving up more fly balls. A lot more. Before this season, his career ratio of groundouts to airouts was 1.08 - so far in 2005, it's 0.80, a 25% drop. His strikeouts are down even more: just 3.99 per nine innings, 40% off his career figure of 6.62. Stats like these make uncomfortable reading, because they provide little grounds for any optimistic belief of future improvement.
Let's not dwell on this though, because the discovery that Ortiz's performance was subpar should, by now, be about as startling as discovering Canada located above the United States. As a result, our bullpen was forced into lots of action, and did what they could to keep us in the game: 5.2 innings, only one unearned run allowed. [Actually, the relievers have done their part this series overall: 10.2 innings, three earned runs, all of them coming in Jose Valverde's single-innings suckfest in the opener.]
Again, 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, even with Glaus getting the day off. This is probably what cost us the game, since Weaver was hardly any better than Ortiz. In the first innings, he walked Cintron and hit Tracy, to put the first two on, but we did nothing - not even after he hit Green as well, to load up the bases without us having to do anything.
It was kinda clear from this point that it was not our day, despite the brief hope given by Snyder's second home run of the year in the next innings. Two hits for Cruz, Counsell got on base three times, and Clark had another pinch-hit, but that was about it. Thanks to Otacon and azpenguin for stopping by; the silence after Ortiz left the game was both deafening and appropriate...
We finish the home stand at 2-4, and against our main rivals in the division, this can hardly be classed as a success. The chief issues this series were the lack of a quality start, and an offense that hit .224. Put another way, all that was wrong was, we couldn't pitch or hit. The rest of our game was fine - we went one-for-one at using a mind-meld to convince opposing players into throwing equipment at the ball, for example.
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 17: vs. Dodgers, at home
Tony Clark: 3-for-7, 2 RBI
Koplove: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 3 K
Glaus: 0-for-8, 3 K, GIDP
Valverde: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, loss
Ortiz: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 5 ER, loss
Not much to laud in this series, apart from Tony Clark, who continues to live up to the "Proven Veteran" tag, and produce in a way foreign to certain players on the roster I could mention. No-one had more hits in the series, even though Clark only started one game. Koplove's performances out of the bullpen also deserve credit, since he has been effective in a way not seen for some time.
Take your pick of mediocre pitching performances; Vazquez escapes, as much for his home run as anything else, and Estes did at least keep us in the game. This is more than can be said for Valverde and Ortiz. Though our hitters were generally pretty bad, only Glaus was quite bad enough.
The clock is ticking. It's two minutes till midnight. And Stephen Drew has not yet decided whether $7.5m is enough money to give someone who hasn't even faced a major-league pitch, let along a major-league one. Admittedly, he is hitting .410 for the Camden Riversharks, but heck, perhaps we should be looking at Riversharks' catcher, Travis Anderson:
Better at drawing a walk, more home runs...and likely available at about a hundredth of the price!
I'm just not that enthusiastic about Drew, though having watched us hurl cash at Green and Ortiz, it's clear that the Diamondbacks aren't afraid to spend money. If we don't sign Drew by 9pm today, we get a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds of this year's draft (#48 overall), and I'd take that, quite happily. The money saved would easily get us a top-notch pitcher for a year, when we need it; why take a huge risk on someone like Drew and his attack-dog agent, Scott Boras? Might as well go to the Gila River Casino and plunk the cash down on one hand of blackjack.
No game today, as the D'backs fly across country, so no GameDay thread.