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AZ 0, Twins 10 - Twin Dragons

Record: 31-29. Change on last season: +7

Back before Jackie Chan descended into the Hollywood mire, he made gloriously dumb yet entertaining nonsense like Twin Dragons, in which he plays two brothers, separated at birth. Years later, one is a concert pianist, the other a shady character. When the pianist travels to Hong Kong, hilarity ensues. And, needless to say, so do spectacular martial arts sequences, including a battle in a garage which is quite wince-inducing.

And that brings us nicely to last night's performance, which was equally wince-inducing. Went about as well as anticipated, didn't it? Vargas, a Nationals reject, allowed six earned runs in five innings, on eight hits including two homers. Otacon thinks he still might have some value in the bullpen - this is possible, for at least Vargas throws strikes (64 of 94 last night). However, they seemed to be unfortunately hittable strikes. He even allowed a hit to Johan Santana, who has 17 career at-bats.

I'm not sure our policy of picking up other teams' castoffs has been a roaring success so far. I mean, how bad do you have to be as a pitcher before the Rockies get rid of you? Here are the lines of the four hand-me-downs so far:

            IP  H  BB  ER   ERA
Lopez     13.0 16   6  12  8.31
Herges     5.0  5   2   5  9.00
Vargas     5.0  8   0   6 10.80
Ligtenberg 9.2 16   4  15 13.97

In total, that comes to 45 hits and 12 walks over 32.2 innings, leading to 38 earned runs and a combined ERA of 10.47. No real surprise they were pink-slipped by their previous employers, and we've already seen Ligtenberg sent to Tucson. As Aquino, Villareal and Lyon return, wouldn't be surprised to see more of these temps thanked for their services, and sent on their way.

At least our bullpen didn't blow this game for us - albeit since we were never in it. The instant the Twins took the lead on a two-run homer in the second, hope evaporated, because it was pretty clear we weren't going to score anything off Santana. We managed only four hits, and got one man to second base all night - Chris Snyder, who had two hits, and was the only D'back to find any real success off Santana.

Here's another chart for you. In the past two weeks, we've faced a pair of past Cy Young winners (Martinez, Santana) and one future one (Peavy). Here's the lines put up by those pitchers:

                IP  H BB ER  K
Peavy, 5/26    9.0  2  0  0  2
Martinez, 6/2  8.0  5  0  1  9
Santana, 6/7   9.0  4  0  0  9

I know these guys are good, but an 0.35 ERA? I think that illustrates why the Diamondbacks will not be in the World Series this year. Even if we should, by some chance, make the playoffs, Arizona just can't hit serious pitching.

Game notes:

  • The ticket-takers all wore nifty "Vote For Gonzo/Troy/Craig" shirts, in the style of Napoleon Dynamite - it's part of a campaign to get D'backs players in the All-Star game. They're even getting Pedro [a.k.a. Efren Ramirez] to throw out the first pitch tonight - accompanied by his bike...
  • Sad to see in the team shop, tables of Randy and Curt merchandise, reduced to clear. As well as an entire rack of Richie Sexson T-shirts.
  • In the second innings, the scoreboard flashed GET LOUD!, and received absolutely no reaction at all. There were a lot of Twins fans, but I think even the D'backs ones were resigned to a loss.
  • I'm fairly impressed by the D'backs' players current selection of music: The Prodigy, Blur, and Alex Cintron's choice of Daddy Yankee - despite my Scottish ancestry, I find myself curiously drawn to Reggaeton.
  • Speaking of music, I wonder about the irony of Baxter dancing to Toxic. I notice he no longer fires T-shirts from a compressed-air cannon, but runs through the crowd lobbing them gently at people.
  • It is one thing to note when the Fan Cam comes perilously close to turning into the Lesbian Kiss Cam. It is quite another to blurt this out loud. Especially when attending a game with your wife.
  • On the other hand, I did learn from her that a Sharpie marker can, in a push, be used as an acceptable eyeliner substitute.
  • D-Bingo is no fun to play when your card contains unlikely events like the 4-2-3 double play or the ever-popular 7-5 putout.
  • The crowd started doing the wave in the top of the fifth. With the score 6-0, I almost joined in, but just restrained myself.
  • Our 13th-round draft pick, Brett Jacobson from Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, was in attendance. I'm surprised he didn't actually get to start.
  • People were leaving from the sixth innings on. While we stuck it out to the bitter end (and beat the rush that way!), by the seventh, it was a case of: "And now the streaming starts..."

Memo to self. Remind me not to believe anything the D'backs management say about injuries. First there was "It (tendinitis) is nothing that we are very concerned about, but we really want to make sure that we don't tax him too much" [Bob Melvin, Tribune, May 18]. This translates to, Lyon hasn't pitched in four weeks, and there's still no timetable for his return.

Now, we go from "Melvin said he didn't think there was a chance for Terrero to be available on Tuesday, but said before the game that he could be," [Banana, Tuesday] to, "They were a little concerned that if he made an explosive move it would cost him a few months." [MLB.com, Wednesday] Terrero goes on the DL, Hairston comes up, but I'm leaving the Injury Threat Meter where it is, as this move is kind of a wash.

Couple of links to other stories. Over at Beyond the Box Score looks at the Big Unit trade, and concludes we got the better of it. To which I can only say, "HaHaHa!". And up in LDitHD, Devin comes up with some great suggestions for interleague play.

From the LA Daily News: "That prized prospect Stephen Drew was making his debut for the Lancaster JetHawks on Tuesday didn't matter much to the sparse crowd of 763 at Sam Lynn Ballpark. Nobody seemed particularly interested in Drew's yearlong holdout, which he ended a week ago by agreeing to a $5.5 million contract with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks.

To fans in the Central Valley city, what mattered most was that Drew was the designated "beer batter," meaning $1 dollar beers for 15 minutes after his sixth-inning strikeout in the JetHawks' 6-5 victory over the Blaze. Drew was 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs, including the game-winner in the top of the ninth on Edgar Varela's two-out single to right.

Apart from a few cheers from JetHawks fans when he got his first hit in affiliated ball - he played professionally for Camden, N.J., in the independent Atlantic League before signing with Arizona - his strikeout drew the biggest reaction for Bakersfield fans."