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AZ 6, Indians 13 - Cleveland Steamers

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Record: 35-33. Change on last season: +8

"It would be kind of stupid of me to say we need to stay away from the big inning. But that's what we've got to do."
    -- Luis Gonzalez, Cleveland, 17 June 2005

"To lose one ten-run innings, Mr Gonzalez, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two in successive nights looks like carelessness."
    -- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Beaning Clayton

If you can't understand today's title, don't expect me to enlighten you. UrbanDictionary.com is your friend here, but I wouldn't recommend looking it up before dinner, for it's one of the most disgusting concepts of all time. However, in the light of another rancid performance last night by our pitching and defense, it's sadly appropriate.

I mean, in the first 1200 games of franchise history, we give up just one double-digit innings. Now, we've allowed two in successive games, the first time that's happened to any team since the 1969 Mets - who did it on both sides of a double-header against the Astros. The good news is, those Mets went on to win the World Series...

And the really wack thing (as I believe you kids say) is, during this time we still actually caught up on the Padres. They played Thursday as well, and so lost three games while we lost two. Net result: D'backs pick up half a game, and are just one and half back. Currently, everyone sucks in the NL West: overall, the division is 17-33 in their last ten games.

Another awful performance by our pitchers. There is clearly something not right with Halsey: I'm taking bets on how long it'll be before an "injury" is discovered, or someone suggests he's tipping his pitches. 2.2 innings, six hits, two walks and eight runs. Admittedly only four earned, but the last thing we want with our bullpen, is a starter unable to last three innings and is finally dispatched after allowing a two-run hit to the opposing pitcher.

And hey, here comes Matt Herges! 1.1 IP, four earned runs. Another quality outing there, Matt. Relatively speaking, Claudio Vargas's two innings for one earned run was enough to get him MVP honours. Valverde and Bruney cleaned up, but with a seven-run deficit, were almost an irrelevance. That's now eighty runs we've allowed in the past ten games.

Two hits for Green and Counsell, the latter also including a homer - clearly a good day for weak-hitting middle infielders at the plate! :-) Clayton went 4-for-4 with a home run - which under other circumstances would see me rejoicing, then demanding some kind of DNA test to prove aliens hadn't replaced him with an android.

However, yet again an error by Royce proved key to that ten-run fiasco. With one out, and Arizona owning a 3-1 lead, a poor throw by Clayton pulled Clark off the bag. If he'd made that, Glaus would have ended the innings at 6-3 by stepping on third. Instead, his double-play throw sailed wide and the Indians scored five more before it ended.

Thanks to Otacon, Devin and Carlos for experiencing deja-vu, all over again, as Yogi Berra once famously said. Otacon tells us WB Tucson "decided not to air the rest of the game," which is a weird move. It's just a good thing the D'backs didn't score ten runs of their own to win, or it'd have been The Heidi Game, all over again too!

And yet, as we play badly, the rest of the NL West plays even worse, so it's not as if anyone is pulling away from the pack and opening up an unbridgeable gap. The division is looking really weak this year - here's the standings divided up by games within the NL West and outside it.

          Overall NL West Outside
San Diego  36-31   15-12   21-19
Arizona    35-33   20-12   15-18
LA Dodgers 33-33   17-11   16-22
San Fran   28-37   13-17   15-20
Colorado   22-43    8-21   14-22

Even crossing Colorado off, the rest of the teams are a combined 67-79 against other divisions, at similar levels of mediocrity. The D'backs good record against their rivals could be a crucial edge - if they can keep it up.

Over at Random Fandom, just had the "road leg" of our Point-Counterpoint series, where Stefan and I debate the merits (or lack thereof) of our off-season moves. Go; check it out; debate; contribute.