Record: 37-37. Change on last season: +10
That's what I call a good night. We beat up on the Giants bullpen; our comedy show has a packed house, and the night ends with a midnight viewing of the first George Romero zombie flick in two decades. An intestine-chomping good time for all.
Another excellent outing for Webb, who pitched seven solid innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits and - the key to his 8-3 record this season - no walks. He's now won more games than he did all last season; if, by some miracle, we should end up in the playoff, a rotation of Vazquez, Webb, Estes and Halsey would probably not be a weak point.
Cormier tidied up the last two frames, though ended with the interesting line: 2 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 3 K. I'm sure I wasn't the only one getting nervous after he walked the first two in the ninth, but he then recovered about as well as imaginable, fanning the next three hitters. That extends the scoreless streak for the bullpen to 8.2 innings, which I'm thinking is likely a season high, given how they've played.
Hits for everyone bar Webb, who is the only guy in the majors with 25+ at-bats and no hits - although given his career .079 average, he must be about due. Two hits for Gonzalez, Glaus and McCracken; Q is showing dangerous signs of competence, going 5-for-12 in this series.
We may be seeing more of McCracken in CF, with Cruz's slump and back-issues. Said Melvin, somewhat cryptically: "He's been struggling. Guys struggle at times. He's been struggling a little bit right now, so we'll just give 'Q' a day out there. He got a couple of hits the other day, and he seems to when we put him in there. When we need him for any particular thing that we need him to do, he's very good about doing it."
Glaus homered in the ninth, his seventeenth of the season, off the fabulously-named Puffer - if I was a Giants fan, I'd wear his shirt with pride. After that blast, I kinda hoped the TV would show the pitcher suddenly inflating himself with air as a defensive measure... Er, just me then. Hey, it's what they do on the Discovery Channel. ;-)
And, let the record show, Danieldamus said at 4:24 pm, Pacific time: "When coupled with the fact that the Giants won't be good for anymore than four runs, it's possible the Giants bullpen could cough up the game. Jason Christiansen is pitching well recently, which of course leads me to think he's due for an implosion."
Christiansen: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER
Good call, Daniel. Almost as good as my predicting the 12-11 game against the Royals. :-) We also welcomed back Englishdback, and frienetic too could be found lurking.
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 24: vs. Giants, on road
Gonzalez: 7-for-16, 2 RBI
Medders: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB
Vargas: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 4 ER
Cormier: 4 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 5 K, 4 ER
An even split, and with the Dodgers bouncing back against the Padres, we remain 3 1/2 games back. But hard to find particular good or bad guys; we were mediocre in both directions. Gonzo's streak of multi-hit games anchored the offense - though he came very close to hitting into a triple-play early on yesterday - and Clayton's hot June continues, despite another GIDP.
Medders made his big-league debut in the opener, and seems to be something of a talisman, as the bullpen hasn't allowed a run since. Snyder's struggles as the plate continue, while Vargas's start was the worst to get a W in quite some time. Cormier's 4-run innings in the opener cost us any chance there.
Bit of a flame-war over in the Diamondbacks Bullpen regarding Glaus and his low average with RISP. What annoys me most about Glaus is his failure to adjust to situations where you now longer need to knock the ball out of the park to score a run. A good cleanup hitter will choke up and put the ball in play, rather than swinging for the seats. Compare and contrast:
Overall: 276 AB, 44 K, 42 BB - 6.27 AB/K, 6.57 AB/BB
No RISP: 201 AB, 34 K, 23 BB - 5.91 AB/K, 8.74 AB/BB
W/ RISP: 75 AB, 10 K, 19 BB - 7.50 AB/K, 3.95 AB/BB
Overall: 264 AB, 70 K, 34 BB - 3.77 AB/K, 7.76 AB/BB
No RISP: 184 AB, 42 K, 24 BB - 4.38 AB/K, 7.67 AB/BB
W/ RISP: 80 AB, 28 K, 10 BB - 2.86 AB/K, 8.00 AB/BB
To summarize, with RISP, Gonzalez is 25% less likely to be fanned, and 120% more likely to take a walk. Glaus, on the other hand, 35% more likely to be fanned, and is less likely to walk, albeit fractionally.
The "small sample size!" argument gets less credible with every series, but the stats seem a symptom of an underlying cause - specifically, the refusal to adapt his approach at the plate to the game situation. I don't know if this has changed since previous years, when his RISP performance was much better; I hardly saw him play, so can't say. But at the moment, his value in the cleanup spot continues to be questionable.
More news on the draft front, with 7th and 22nd round picks, Anthony Cupps and Maels Rodriguez, signed. The Diamondbacks also spoke to Justin Upton's representative - who is, fortunately, not Scott Boras - but word is that negotiations remain at a very, very early stage. There's no need to rush, even if after the long, drawn-out Drew affair, I imagine we'd rather get him signed sooner than later.
And in news that must surely qualify as the least surprising of the year so far, Matt Herges cleared waivers and will report to Tucson. What, nobody wanted a pitcher cut from two teams in a month, and possessing a 13.50 ERA with the Diamondbacks?