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AZ 1/2, Indians 3/3 - Teetering on the brink

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

Say "Hello!" to .500 baseball. It's been a while. We'd almost forgotten what perfect mediocrity felt like. Coincidentally, the last time we were at this level, was just at the end of the previous time we were swept, on the road in Washington. [That doesn't sting quite so bad, given the Nats are still serious contenders for the NL East] And, on an optimistic note, we then went on to win 8 of the next ten games.

However, our bats were largely impotent over the past couple of days, and we wasted a pair of complete games - which does at least prove that keeping our bullpen inactive is not a guaranteed way to win. Compare and contrast the Indians relievers, who over the two games, pitched 4.2 innings, allowed two hits and no walks or runs, while striking out five. I doubt Cleveland fans have quite the same sense of dread as we do, when their manager goes to the mound.

Solid outing from Webb: eight innings, five hits, three walks and three earned runs. He only really got into much trouble in the fifth, when two hits and two walks lead to two runs, and that was all the Indians would need. We'd taken the lead in the first, on an RBI single by Clark, but didn't get a man past second the rest of the way. A pair of hits apiece for Counsell and Clark.

Sunday was more of the same, and was over by the time most people woke up [or at least, finished watching Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy...]. Estes threw a complete game and allowed three earned runs this time [but took 116 pitches to do it, compared to Webb's 113]. He scattered nine hits and two walks, but we could muster only five hits in support, though Cruz did have the only home-run of the game. The closest we came to threatening was in the seventh, but a double play by Green ended that rally.

Cruz got pilloried for his outfield play: he bobbled a fourth-innings RBI single allowing a run to score, and should have had another error in the sixth. "I had a lot of tough balls out there," whined Cruz, but his manager disagreed. "Those are plays that I think should be made," growled Melvin in an atypically critical moment, and Cruz returned to his locker to find a picture of Darth Vader attached to it.

Definitely keeping the Injury Threat meter at High - perhaps even the wrist-specific one. We get Cintron back for his first start in a week, but now Glaus is "day-to-day" thanks to a knock suffered in the eighth when he tagged out Belliard, who charged into him - this lead to Glaus being pinch-hit for in the ninth, by Royce Clayton. That's Things We Never Thought We'd See, #278.

Head trainer Paul Lessard called it a sprain, but we'll have to wait for word from his full wrist examination today. Glaus is already being treated for his knee, which continues to hamper his running - after three steals the first month of the season, he hasn't swiped a bag since May 1st.

Heroes + Zeroes, Series 23: vs. Indians, on road
Estes: 8 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 2 ER
Webb: 8 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 ER
Counsell: 5-for-13
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Green: 2-for-12, GIDP
Halsey: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 ER
Herges: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 ER

Clayton's 5-for-8 performance was negated by his part in the ten-run innings in the opener, which will have me waking up in a cold sweat for some time to come. Estes and Webb did pretty much all we could have hoped for - any complete game from a starter is welcome - while Counsell was his usual reliable self in the leadoff spot.

Shawn Green's alleged "hot streak" seems to have been dumped into liquid nitrogen, mustering just a pair of singles in this series, while Halsey looked like a very fringe #5 starter. But he wasn't helped by having the late, unlamented Herges to clean up after him. Give our warm regards to Tucson, Matt.

Still no word on negotiations with Justin Upton, but we got our next pick, Matthew Green, with a deal that includes $650K for signing. He'll be sent to Class A Yakima to start with.

Long flight for the D'backs yesterday, as they come back to face the Giants, a woeful shadow of themselves this season without Bonds. Both teams have been limping badly in June: we have a 5-13 record for the month, while San Franciso are at 5-12. So this should be a good chance to kickstart the team and get some momentum going. But I'm sure the Giants are thinking the same thing...