Record 16-11. Change on last season: +4
After last night's epileptic fit of run-scoring, we're back to the usual recipe for the season: quality starts and games decided by the odd run here or there. Surprisingly though, we're far from leading the majors, or even the league, in one-run games. Our ten only puts us equal fourth in the NL, behind Atlanta and Houston (11 each) and Cincinnati (12). In the American, the White Sox have a startling fourteen; even more amazing, 58% of their wins (11/19) have been by one run.
Enough of them; this is a D'backs blog, after all! Halsey produced another excellent outing, going six innings and giving up only two runs (both solo homers) on five hits. The first big play of the game came in the 6th, with the Giants ahead 1-0, but we had the bases loaded with one out. Green hit into what should have been a double-play, but Glaus slid hard into second, helping make Vizquel's throw sail wide, which in turn allowed Gonzo to come home from second.
We will thus cut Glaus some slack, with regard to his lame pop-up in the eighth, after the Giants had tied it, but we had got our first two men on in the bottom of the innings. Green's groundout put runners on the corners, then Mr. Clutch, Tony Clark, knocked him in, providing the second key moment. Yes, I know, conventional wisdom says there's no such thing as clutch hitting, but our backup first baseman has 15 RBIs in 38 at-bats - only Gonzo and Glaus have more, each with 100+ ABs - and is batting .538 with runners in scoring position.
Two hits for Clayton, and three more for Gonzo, who is on a real tear lately - since the start of the last road-trip, he's gone 14-for-33, with 7 RBI, and five multi-hit games in the last eight, raising his season average to .330. Not much patience on display - only three walks for the teams combined, a far cry from the 16 the previous night - but only five strikeouts too, and just one from a D'back; inevitably, that belonged to Troy Glaus.
The bullpen was solid. Brian Bruney first appeared in his new role as ROOGY, then Lopez finished off the eighth, vulturing up the win which really belonged to Halsey in the process, before Lyon threw a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his eleventh save and keep us tucked in 1 1/2 games back of the Dodgers.
Thanks to Line Drive in the High Desert - whom I will get round to linking permanently if they maintain their update rate - for pointing me to WhatIfSports.com, which lets you pitch teams from different eras against each other. For a laugh, I thought I'd play a World Series between the 2001 and 2004 versions of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the best and worst in franchise history. To balance things out a bit, gave AZ-2004 home advantage.
Game 1: AZ-2001 10, AZ-2004 1 - It was Randy vs. Randy in the opener, but the 2004 version was a pale shadow of his younger self, getting pounded for eight runs in 6 2/3 innings, while Randy v.2001 allowed only one hit and two walks in seven innings, striking out nine. Steve Finley went 5-for-5 while Gonzo and Matt Williams hit home runs for AZ-2001.
Game 2: AZ-2001 2, AZ-2004 3 - Brandon Webb levelled the series, coming within one out of a complete game; Valverde got the final out for the save with two men on. Danny Bautista had two hits and three RBI for AZ-2004, including a home run, while Schilling took the loss for AZ-2001, despite going the full eight innings.
Game 3: AZ-2004 2, AZ-2001 6 - The series switched to BOB-2001, and the home team took a 2-1 lead thanks largely to a five-run fourth innings, which saw Sparks yanked. Two hits and an RBI for both Grace and Gonzalez on the AZ-2001 team, who also benefited from a complete game six-hitter by Miguel Batista, who struck out eight AZ-2004 hitters.
Game 4: AZ-2004 2, AZ-2001 6 - AZ-2001 moved to within one game of the series, thanks to a pitching gem from Albie Lopez, who went the distance, allowing only three hits. AZ-2001 took a three-run lead in the first, thanks to a two-run single from Matt Williams. Danny Bautista was the only AZ-2004 player to solve Lopez, with two hits, and Casey Fossum took the loss.
Game 5: AZ-2004 2, AZ-2001 4 - The champagne flowed in Phoenix, as AZ-2001 completed a 4-1 series victory. Both teams sent Randy Johnson to the mound, and they combined for 22 strikeouts. The key blow was a two-run homer by Mark Grace in the bottom of the second to break a 2-2 tie. After that point, AZ-2004 mustered only two more baserunners, and one of those was Randy Johnson, who doubled.
So, what does this prove? Not much, except perhaps that the 2001 Diamondbacks are better than the 2004 version. Big shock there. ;-) It's a shame they don't yet have the 2005 version of our team, because I'd be very interested to see whether they could compete with our real World Series champions. I think they'd still perhaps fall short - but I like to think it'd be a much closer series.