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AZ 1, Cardinals 7 - Reality Bites

Record: 41-44. Change on last season: +11

St. Louis Cardinals = playoff team
Arizona Diamondbacks = not playoff team

I think the above is an accurate summary of the first two games of this series, where we've been outscored 17-4, and can hardly claim it's an unfair reflection of how we've been outplayed, in almost every department. If, god forbid, we should squeak into the playoffs at the wild card winners, we would likely find ourselves facing these same Cardinals in the first round - I see no reason to believe the result would be any different or less humiliating.

And, let's be honest: getting Danys Baez as a closer won't alter the outcome in the slightest - not least, since the odds are we will not have any games to save. Yet the Diamondbacks still sent top scout Bob Gebhard to the Tampa game yesterday. Let's hope he was scoping out a center fielder; with so many teams rumoured to be interested in Baez (the Braves, Marlins, Red Sox and Cubs), we would almost certainly have to overpay for him if we got him.

Anyway, let's see how my crystal ball stacked up against reality last night:

  • Estes: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 R, 4 ER.
    6.1 IP, 6 H, BB, 6 R, 6 ER.
    Not too bad; and after six innings, he had allowed the predicted five runs. I'd have pulled him at that stage. The Cardinals got on the board in the first, and though we pulled within one run in the third - Estes scoring after his first hit, a triple - the Cardinals immediately replied with three, and this one was, effectively, over.

  • Bullpen allow a couple more runs.
    Well, one run in 2.2 innings, charged to Greg Aquino - who still saw his ERA decline, albeit only to 12.54. His starts remain badly hurt by his first two appearances (1.1 IP, 8 ER!), but he's been very poor in this series.

  • We go down 7-2. Well, 7-1. The Cardinals only had twelve baserunners to our eleven, but did a much better job at not leaving men on base: only four, to our nine. We had our chances, getting runners to scoring position in six different innings - but here are our subsequent at-bats:
    2nd, Glaus on 2nd: Clayton flied out, Snyder K'd swinging
    3rd, Estes on 3rd: Counsell hit, Estes scored
    4th, Glaus on 2nd: Snyder grounded out
    6th, Glaus on 2nd: Cruz flied out, Clayton GIDP
    7th, Counsell on 2nd: Gonzalez flied out
    8th, Cruz on 2nd: Clark flied out

    0-for-7 with a sacrifice fly. Overall, we're hitting .251 with RISP; our opponents, .290.

  • Green hits a late, meaningless homer. Make that 7-3.
    He did get a hit. Then again, so did Counsell, Tracy, Glaus (two for him), Cruz and Clayton. And Green had the chance, coming up in the 8th with the bases empty, but grounded out. Not my fault he didn't execute. :-) Okay, I admit this one was wide of the mark - memo to self: don't get too specific with the predictions. But, hey, imagine if he had done it?

Thanks to Devin, William K and Otacon for their support in my absence; I actually should have a chance to watch the game tonight, though for how long, depends entirely on the D'backs performance. William K notes the departure of Lopez and the arrival of Armando Almanza. Who? Good question.

He's recently been the Tucson LOOGY, but much like Lopez, he's a retread no-one else wants - he was released by Giants, then opted out of his minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks as recently as May 12 - but after there were no takers as a free agent, he signed back with Arizona two weeks later. I'm not expecting him to be a huge improvement over Lopez.

In case you're wondering about Nance, I didn't realise he was released on June 15, to make room for Edgar Gonzalez (sent back to Triple-A after his 0.1 IP, 108.00 ERA stint in the majors). He's now playing for the Kansas Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, which is a real shame. I'd have though that with a 3.63 ERA in 22.1 innings at the time of departure, he deserved a shot - rather than us yanking every left-handed veteran we can find off the waiver wire. He's now 2-0 for Omaha, with a 2.79 ERA.

Various other rumblings down below. We got Vladimir Nunez back, signed to to a minor-league contract. He's an ex-Cuban (in the sense he defected), and is an "original" D'back, having signed with us in 1996. He was traded for Florida in the Matt Mantei deal, then got moved to St. Louis, but they released him over the weekend. Now, any chance of the Dodgers releasing another part of that deal, Brad Penny? Thought not. And as far as I can tell, we've now signed almost all our early draft picks bar the big one: Justin Upton. Of course, that's the one we want.