Record: 44-49. Change on last season: +13
The eagerly-anticipated matchup between Jared Weaver and Stephen Drew turned out to be not much of a contest. Drew was 0-for-2 against Weaver, but did draw a walk. However, he went hitless on the night, snapping a 16-game hitting streak - the second best by a Jethawk this year, behind Miguel Montero, who hit in 19 straight before being promoted to Tennessee. Weaver, on the other hand, allowed one run on three hits, and struck out eleven, including six in a row. But this one has legs...
It sums up the game last night, that I'm leading off with a story about our single-A affiliate. Remember the optimism after the opener? How long ago that all seems. Now we're back to grinding mediocrity. We took the lead in the second at-bat, on a homer by Tracy - thereby surpassing our run total the last time we faced Peavy - but surrendered it without a hit in the bottom half. Dave Roberts was walked by Webb, stole second, was bunted to third, and came home on a groundout.
After Klesko then homered to give the Padres the lead, you sensed this wasn't going to be our night, and so it proved; we were shutout the rest of the way, while the Padres tacked on a couple more long bombs. And won't you please join me, in a rousing chorus of that traditional Diamondbacks song, "We had our chances, but couldn't take advantage of them"? Fourth innings, two on, no-one out: K, groundout, pop-up. And as William K noted, runners on the corners, one out in two straight innings: nada.
Vargas was credible: three runs over six innings, and - unlike some of his outings - deserved a better fate. Aquino allowed another run in his innings, while we got Bruney some work in a perfect eighth. Chad Tracy had two of our six hits; like yesterday, we actually had more baserunners (8-7), but it was just that three of theirs were trotting slowly around, acknowledging the cheers of the crowd.
Six and a half games back now, and while our division hopes are not yet dead, they would likely have fallen off their perch if they hadn't been nailed there. Part of the problem is, I can't see any easy way for the team to get "better" without a trade, and that's probably the last thing I want to see.
It's not as if we're waiting for a superstar slugger to come back; Glaus's knee is not going to be fixed until next season; Lyon won't return until after the trade deadline. July has just been a bad month for most of our everyday players. In declining order of batting average:
Alex Cintron: .238
Chris Snyder: .231
Jose Cruz: .222
Troy Glaus: .205
Royce Clayton: .200
Craig Counsell: .146
Luis Gonzalez: .143
To put that into context, all of the above are hitting worse than our pitchers (6-for-24) - even Brandon Webb finally broke his season-long streak with a single in Friday's game!
Basically, we've had credible hitting from just two positions this month: 1B (Tracy/Clark: .293) and RF (Green: .340). Interestingly, Green could end up moving to center field: there have been discussions, and Green says he's fine with the idea. I'm sure there'd be a period of adjustment, but it would likely be no worse than Jose "Bad Back" Cruz out there. The aim would likely be to free up right field for Carlos Quentin, though he has also been playing some center down in Tucson.
Looks like MostValuableNetwork.com are trying to corner the market in D'backs blogs. Not content with sucking up Line Drive in the High Desert, they've now snagged Baby Backs: TNG. That leaves Random Fandom as the only "indie" D'back blog currently active; West Coast Bias hasn't seen a post in almost five weeks. Has Ryan's enthusiasm evaporated? If so, can hardly blame him...