Record: 30-23 Change on last season: +10
Yes, crank out the contrived headlines based on obscure HK action pics; or at least, ones better known under the US title (The Vampire Effect). Irritating. Very irritating. We came close to kicking in the door on several occasions, but the breaks just didn't go our way - and we also shot ourself in the foot by hitting into three double plays.
The biggest of these was in the 9th innings, when Troy Glaus got a hit, chasing Zambrano, reached second on a wild pitch, and came home on a single by Green to make it 2-1. But then, Chad Tracy hit into his second twin killing of the day, clearing the bases, and rendering subsequent pinch-hits by Clark and Cintron an irrelevance.
At the same time, it wasn't as if we played all that badly, and I'd rather we lost games like this, rather than, say, the 10-0 San Diego shellacking from last week, where we were utterly outclassed. We do have to try and cut down on those stolen bases, however: that's seven swiped by the Mets against Webb and Halsey in two days. That, and the usual failures with runners in scoring position - we went 1-for-9 - overshadowed another fine outing for Webb.
He went seven innings, and allowed only a first-innings run on seven hits and two walks. However, Zambrano was better yet, taking less than a hundred pitches to get into the ninth innings. Cormier wasn't as effective as usual, allowing one run in the eighth on three hits, and that proved the game-winning score. Green had two hits, and Glaus was on base three times, with a hit and two walks.
Still, at least we didn't lose any ground, with everyone in the NL West losing too. But it was a blow to lose to one of the weaker links in the Mets rotation, even if he did pitch longer and better than previously this season. But a 4:10pm start, and a quick game, meant I still had time to watch a 165-minute Bollywood version of E.T., complete with musical numbers and starring a guy with two thumbs on one hand. I kid you not. Bet he's got a wicked curveball.
Thanks to Otacon and azpenguin for their thoughts. As the latter said, it's not going to get any easier today, but more on that later. Instead, let's go back in time...er, a couple of days, anyway.
Heroes and Zeroes: May
Overall, the team went 16-12, which is solid enough; we never won or lost more than three in a row. It's the first over .500 May since 2002, and is a lot better than 2004's 9-20 record. Breaking it down by position:
- POSITION PLAYERS
- C: Snyder - He got the bulk of the playing time, but his average was basically the same. We can't afford the weakness much longer. NEUTRAL
- 1B: Tracy/Clark - 3rd and =4th on the team in RBIs, though Tracy still can't take a walk to save himself. Clark hit .319 for the month and was invaluable off the bench. HERO
- 2B: Clayton - only hit .232 for the month, and still leads the team in double plays by a mile. ZERO
- SS: Counsell - 34 hits in 24 games, including 12 doubles, and an OBP of .442. But only one stolen base in May. HERO
- 3B: Glaus - 6 homers and 18 RBIs led the team. So did his 24 K's. HERO
- LF: Gonzalez - Cooling off? Finished in a 6-for-33 slump, but had a trio of straight three-hit games against the Giants early on. NEUTRAL
- CF: Cruz/McCracken - Cruz's return was welcome, but despite a better HR/AB ratio than Glaus, he only hit .254. McCracken was the same black hole as April. ZERO
- RF: Green - Signs of life here, a .273 average that's 20 points up on April. But one HR and 8 RBI's is still far too few. NEUTRAL
- Bench: Terrero/Cintron/Kata/Hill - Terrero was the only one to hit above .265, and he had one walk in 37 ABs. Cintron's .241 is especially low. Decent as pinch-hitters, but less effective in their spot starts. NEUTRAL
- Starters: Vazquez, Halsey and Webb: HEROES, the first two had ERA's under 3.00, and Halsey's defeat of Clemens was the highlight of the month. Webb had 34 K's in 35.2 innings, and only 9 BB's. Estes gets a NEUTRAL, since 37 hits in 29.2 is too many, but a 4.25 ERA is about what we expected. What can we say about Ortiz, except ZERO. As previously mentioned, 50 hits and 26 walks in only 28.2 innings, and an ERA of 7.85. Yuck.
- Relievers: Collectively, an ERA of 6.45, thus a ZERO, despite bright spots like Cormier's scoreless streak. Lyon's injury hurt a lot, and outside of those two, no-one had an ERA under 4.91. That was Bruney, and it got a lot uglier from there on, up to Lopez and Ligtenberg's double-digit performance for May.
As expected, the Diamondbacks are getting no love in the All-Star balloting - which is a good place to remind you of our poll on who should be the D'backs All-Star. Troy Glaus is the only AZ man to rate in the top five at any position, and even there, he's got barely half the votes of leader Scott Rolen. However, as usual, there are some excellent arguments against democracy in the current #1's, particularly Nomar "51 ABs and a .157 avg." Garciaparra and Mike "sub-.250, still can't play defense" Piazza.
And with that, must go. Just discovered the house has been attacked by termites. It appears to be a minor infestation - touch (damp, rotten) wood - but comes as something of a novelty, since we don't have termites in Britain. All I know about them, I learned from Warner Bros cartoons...