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AZ 12, Royals 11 - The Louder You Scream, The Faster We Go...

Record: 33-29. Change on last season: +8

"Makes this a win-win kinda game for me - unless, of course, Greinke gets lit up, but the Royals roar back after his departure against our bullpen. This is actually more than likely, when I think about it. :-( ... Since we're putting Russ Ortiz on the mound, we could easily end up seeing a score like 12-11."
   -- Jim McLennan, Friday 2:36pm PST

At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, the above has to be a contender for quote of the season so far. Really, who needs to write a match report, when the preview is so eerily, uncannily accurate? Never mind a called shot, has anyone ever called a 12-11 game in print before? Er, even though I was joking. Even down to the details! Let's see:

Greinke gets lit up. We tied our season high for hits by the fifth innings. In 4.1 innings of work, Greinke allowed fifteen hits, two walks and eleven runs. This is the reason I'm 10th in my fantasy league; even though I had already tossed Greinke to the wire, I thought he might have a chance against our lineup, so opted to give him one last start. Silly me.

Every starter bar Jose Cruz - including Russ Ortiz - had at least two hits. Three for Glaus and Green, and four for Alex Cintron. The G-Force, for once, lived up to their name, going 8-for-13, with eight RBIs and three homers. And say what you like about him as a pitcher, Ortiz is hitting .292 on the season.

The Royals roar back after his departure against our bullpen. This one wasn't just dead. It had a stake through its heart, its head had been cut off, holy water poured into the opening in the neck, garlic wrapped around the body and - just to be safe - a clip of silver bullets fired into the carcass. And yet...

We blew an 11-2 lead. Hell, it was still 11-3 in the eighth innings, with a very decent start by Ortiz standards (seven innings, seven hits, three walks, three runs), and we blew that too, in truly incredible fashion.
Edgar Gonzalez: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 ER
Matt Herges: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 ER
Javier Lopes: 0 IP, 2 BB
Lance Cormier: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 ER

Bruney, in comparison, was a Cy Young winner, pitching a perfect tenth, but even so, the combined line for our bullpen was 3 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 8 ER. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

...Russ Ortiz on the mound, we could easily end up seeing a score like 12-11. Thanks to everyone who commented last night: Otacon, William K, Daniel, Devin, azpenguin, and icecoldmo. Particular tips of the SnakePit hat to Daniel for his play-by-play throughout, and icecoldmo for insightful post-game analysis. Looking at all those comments brought a tear to my eye. Thanks, guys. ;-)

Multiple issues here: Daniel asks, "what reason the Arizona brass gave for trading FOR Matt Herges.". Hey, Joe Jr! What did you say again? "He's a guy we've seen a lot of in our division. "He's a good, solid Major League pitcher and a guy that [we] can use in a number of different roles. He can pitch multiple innings. He has some experience both as a closer and setup man." Oh, yeah - that was it... This "good, solid Major League" pitcher has thrown 5.1 innings, and allowed six hits, four walks and seven runs, for an ERA of 11.81. If we'd given him anyone of worth, rather than Doug Devore, I'd be very miffed.

Interesting debate on whether this game will make or break the season. I think azpenguin is right, in saying that if we'd lost this one, it could have been a death dagger. But I agree with icecoldmo, in that I doubt we'll take anything positive from it: going by the clubhouse interviews, any positives to come from the hit-fest are likely to be more than negated by the sense that no lead is now "safe".

On the other hand, got to (politely!) disagree with Mo, on a couple of things. "With a horse like the Twins have, why pit a trash heap pitcher from the waiver wire, to face this game? That game could have been closer had there been a pitcher who was skilled at the competition." It would still have been a loss though; "closer" only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. :-)

And really, who should have pitched that game; Vazquez on three days rest? Personally, as mentioned, I'd like to have seen Cormier, or even Gonzo Jr, but part of the problem is that our rotation has no depth to it. If, God forbid, one of them gets injured, who are we going to roll out there every fifth day?

On another topic: "If I could have a team filled of Counsells, Claytons, Hunters, Jones, and Stewarts, the stands would be filled every night." Actually, the Twins play in a half-filled stadium too - for all their sound fundamentals, they're only pulling in about 500 per night more than Arizona this year. I suspect your average fan doesn't want to see fundamentals, and probably went home happy after last night's fiasco. Hey, they won, didn't they?

And maybe that's the right idea. Just as a painful loss needs to be swiftly forgotten, perhaps this one was a painful win, best consigned to the record books as a W, with a footnote mentioning the season-high in hits. Weirdly, it's not even our first 12-11 win of the year, since we beat the Padres by the same score, only two weeks past Wednesday. So we should be used to them by now...move on, there's nothing to see... ;-)