Record: 54-60. Change on last season: +19
As Otacon mentioned in the comments, D'backs former first baseman Mark Grace is in hot water, after delivering what the media would likely call 'a profanity-filled tirade' during the broadcast last night. Said Grace, "I was having a private conversation with the truck, like we do everyday, and evidently some words that aren't air-able came out and through a technical difficulty, I may have offended some people. If that's the case, I apologize and I will face any consequences." I guess he'll now be the off-color commentator. :-)
Bad puns aside, yesterday's game showed us Burnett and Vazquez are similar pitchers, in that, on their day, they can both be virtually unhittable. Yesterday, one of them was. The bad news for us is, it wasn't Vazquez.
Well, actually, he was kinda unhittable, but only in the sense that he kept throwing pitches out of the strike-zone. He walked four, including both Burnett (who also had an RBI single) and a bases-loaded walk, taking 110 pitches to get through only five innings. Said Vazquez, "Today I was really off. I was out of rhythm. I didn't do anything right. I was all over the place and I got hit. It was just an ugly game all around... Today was one of the worst games I've ever thrown."
The Marlins' fourth was the most rancid innings. After opening single, single, double, Vazquez struck out Burnett, but on a fielder's choice, Snyder missed the tag at home ("He just got around somehow," Snyder said...). Cabrera was intentionally walked, which is fair enough - except Vazquez then walked Conine with the bases loaded. Fortunately, by that stage, I'd abandoned watching the game and was in my car, or I'd have hurled the sofa towards the screen.
Obviously, with only three hits, not much to go around our offense. Craig Counsell had a double, and we did have a couple of opportunities: men on second with no-one out in the seventh and eighth innings, but we weren't helped by hitting into four double-plays. Two of those were for Conor Jackson: he's only had six opportunities to GIDP in his career so far, and has delivered in half of them.
Which brings us to today's meaningless statistic - which D'back is best at staying out of double-plays? The table below shows the number of times a player could have grounded into a double play, the number of times he actually did, and the resulting % chance of him avoiding it. [Min. 40 GIDP chances]
Player Opps GIDP % Avoided Hits Glaus 84 5 94.05 R Counsell 58 5 91.38 L Gonzalez 103 9 91.26 L Clark 43 4 90.70 S Snyder 53 5 90.57 R Tracy 71 9 87.32 L Cruz 47 6 87.23 S Green 85 11 87.06 L Cintron 40 6 85.00 S Clayton 79 13 83.54 R
The final column is whether they bat left, right, or switch-hit. I was curious to see if perhaps this affected tendency to GIDP, but it doesn't appear to make that match of a difference, albeit for the small sample size offered by the 2005 Diamondbacks. No real shock to see Royce the Rally-Killer languishing at the bottom - seems like a lot more than one in six times he's delivered the twin-killing.
The big surprise is perhaps to see Glaus clearly the best - such excellent bat-control seems at-odds with the issue of his "clutch" performance (though whiffing 30% of the time probably helps!). He's still hitting only .203 with RISP, and in 27 opportunities with a man on 3rd and less than two outs, he's brought the runner home just five times (two hits and three sac flys).
As well as Otacon, thanks to Englishdback and Devin for their in-game comments - Devin 'fessed up to a lack of enthusiasm, which is really more than understandable. Also to icecoldmo for his acerbic comments after the ball was over: I'd forgotten how many dreadful deals Joe Jr. was involved in. Put that way, the 2001 World Series looks almost like a blind squirrel stumbling over a nut.
It's official: Russ Ortiz will pitch on Saturday. The Diamondbacks moved Mike Gosling off the roster, though for the moment will carry a third catcher in the shape of Kelly Stinnett. Here comes so much spin, I fear it will rip my head clean off:
- Bob Melvin: "He gave up some runs, but felt a lot better. All and all, we felt like [the outing was] a lot better than last time out."
Russ Ortiz: "I think the most important thing is I'm able to feel like I can throw all my pitches for strikes in the area that I want to."
Guess we'll see on Saturday, won't we?
Murder at Savings and Loan Ballpark last night was very entertaining. It was one of those "interactive" murder-mystery plays, where the action takes place among the audience, and centered on the killing of Arizona Piggybacks owner, Colonel Angelo. [Think about it...] Who was the perpetrator? Disgruntled ace, Rusty 'The Big Unit' Schwantz? Veteran Pete Petunia, desperate for a shot at the hit-by-pitch record? And so on - I'm sure you get the idea. Subtle? Not at all. But fun? For sure. It crops up around the valley sporadically: go see, if you get a chance.
Interestingly, the Rockies have apologized for throwing at Chad Tracy's head in Sunday's game. Said Melvin, "I had a call. I'm not going to say from who, but I did have a call." Rockies' manager Clint Hurdle declined comment, and referred questions to bench coach Jamie Quirk, but much credit to Colorado for 'fessing up to the deed. In the heat of the moment, it may have made sense, but if you're going to hit an opposing batter, don't aim for the head.
Might be a while until we see Justin Upton. Seems that our #1 pick is going to junior college, because we won't currently budge from the $4.6 million signing bonus offered. That's the problem with paying huge bucks to Stephen Drew. Everyone now thinks we have bottomless pockets, and demands equal money. I can see Upton's point though: he's not half the player Drew is, so why should he settle for half the money? However, opinion seems to be that this is largely an idle threat.
The Sidewinders lost 3-2 in Omaha. The Royals scored all their runs in the third off loser Mark Freed, but was otherwise solid, allowing just those runs over five innings. He came in for the third, after Oscar Villarreal and Brandon Lyon pitched the first two. Each threw a perfect innings, striking out a batter, and it's hard to see how they could be much more ready. Carlos Quentin had three hits, including his 21st home-run, and Juan Brito had two knocks.
If you need more to read, check out today's blistering sarcasm, courtesy of Sports Illustrated: Four foolproof ways to figure out if your team stinks.