Record: 43-47. Change on last season: +12
The term, "dead cat bounce" is one from my days working for a stockbroker; after a market collapse, there is almost inevitably a slight uptick at the end. The (somewhat callous) derivation is that even a dead cat will bounce if tossed off a high-enough building; the implication is, that it's meaningless, and the movement doesn't mean the cat is alive.
Much the same probably applies to the win yesterday. While there were certainly some positives to be taken from the game - most obviously, the sterling job done by Mike Gosling in his first start of the year - interpreting these as any sign of a corner being turned would seem hideously premature.
We still gave the Reds their first road series win of the year. We scored a total of seven runs in three chances against the worst pitching lineup in the NL. We've had an entire seven-game homestand without scoring more than three runs, and averaging just two. The much-mentioned "momentum" heading into the All-Star break, is that of a team now hitting .223 for the month. The struggle is particularly apparent at the top of the order, where our regular 1-2-3 - Counsell, Tracy, Gonzalez - are a combined .162 in July (17-for-105).
But credit where it's due: Mike Gosling continued the recent run of quality starts. Usually you give a present to someone getting married, but in this case he gave the team 5 2/3 shutout innings. Said Mike, "I was nervous about the game, but I thought this was something I had done before. The wedding is not something I have done before. I was looking at it if it went well that would be a great way to carry me into the wedding. If it didn't, at least I had the wedding to quickly get my mind off of baseball."
In truth, though, it was a game that looks better in the box-score than in real-life, and Gosling almost always pitched out of the stretch. The leadoff hitter for the Reds reached in four of six innings; other than those leadoff men, he only faced three of 18 batters with the bases empty. But with the help of a couple of early double-plays he survived, allowing four walks and five hits but no runs.
When he left, it was still a scoreless game, as our hitters were making Eric Milton look like a pitcher who deserved the fat, juicy contract he signed before the season, rather than man who leads the league in homeruns. Typically, it was Tony Clark who finally broke the deadlock, with his 13th homer of the year, and Sean Green and Luis Terrero followed with hits - that was the entire productive offense for Arizona.
Meanwhile, our bullpen followed up Cormier in putting zeroes on the board, with 3 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball. This ended in Bruney striking out the Reds in the ninth innings - a far more upbeat way to end the game, the homestand and, indeed, the first half of the season, than they all truly deserved. Thanks to Devin and englishdback for their thoughts on the game.
Despite this victory, a really scary headline in the Banana today: Despite flaws, '05 team in position to make run. I think I speak for most knowledgeable fans when I say: "Nooooooo!" "One of us has to win," said Ken Kendrick, Diamondbacks managing general partner. "And why not the Diamondbacks?" Well, we have a shaky rotation, our bullpen largely sucks, and at the moment, we can't hit our way out of a wet paper-bag. Any other questions?
There is some good news - and, no, it doesn't involve me switching to Geico. "Although the names of Diamondbacks prospects Carlos Quentin, Conor Jackson and Sergio Santos have been linked to a possible trade, Kendrick intimated that none is likely to be dealt. "It is more likely that you would see one or more of our top prospects playing on our major league team before the season is out than you would see them traded to another team," Kendrick said." However, he then goes on to muse about bringing them up - read into that what you like...
And I think that will do for just now, as I have to head off to work - Heroes and Zeroes for the series to follow. With the All-Star Break, no need for game previews for a few days, but we'll see what other things I can come up with.