Record: 56-65. change on last year: +20
Well, I had a deeply analytical blog under way, explaining in detail how the Cardinals have owned us totally this year, but my computer crashed and ate it. Probably for the best, it was largely too depressing. However, here are the basic points:
- Over six games we've hit .193
- Troy Glaus is 10-for-16, with an OBP of .727.
- Next best current player: Shawn Green at .211.
- Counsell, Clark, Snyder; 3-for-39 combined.
- 41 K's + nine walks, for an OBP of just .240.
- Compare: the Cards are hitting .290 off us.
I could go on. And on. But it's yet another salutory lesson of the gulf between the 2005 Diamondbacks and a genuine quality team. It doesn't matter that we're only four games back, no matter what Melvin says: we're nine games below .500, and outside of our division, we're 29-43. Optimism is fine - and I remain very optimistic about the 2006 season - but we are exactly on pace for 75 wins [well, 74.98 actually], which is precisely where most people expected us to be.
However, if we don't start playing better soon, even 75 wins is going to prove unattainable. We were last above even ball on June 26; since then, we've gone just 17-27, and won only three of fourteen series. We haven't put together a three-game winning streak in three months, we're 0-9 after winning two in a row since then. The weird thing is, is since the All-Star break, we actually have been playing better:
Before = 4.87 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
After = 4.58 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
Before = .749 OPS [.257/.329/.420]
After = .790 OPS [.267/.347/.443]
But this isn't reflected in win percentage: Before = .478, After = .419. Perhaps this is the long-expected statistical correction, following our over-achievement on the run differential front during the first half?
Yesterday, however, we were simply owned by Mulder, who pitched a complete game shut-out for the second consecutive start against us - he had a one-hitter back in 2001, with the A's, and added a five-hitter last night. He only faced one batter over the minimum, because we didn't help our cause, hitting into three double-plays and having Glaus picked off first. Two of those GIDPs came from Jackson, who now has nine double-play eligible at-bats, and five double-plays.
He also made an error, gifting the Cardinals another early run, and even though he's been in the majors for only three weeks, has already made more errors (5) than anyone on the club bar Craig Counsell (8) and Troy Glaus (19). Terrero was also tagged with one, albeit a little unluckily, when a ball to centre took a weird hop and swept past our flailing center-fielder, like Donald Trump ignoring a pan-handler.
Webb's recent run of good form came to a grinding halt, allowing eleven hits and two walks over 6.2 innings (Groom and Cormier performed mop-up duties) - two of those hits were to Mulder, a career .114 hitter, including an RBI single. But I didn't think he actually pitched all that badly, and got out of some tough situations, including getting Pujols to ground into a double-play; the Cardinals hit into three too.
That's partly why the game took only 2:14, there were only 65 plate appearances, in total. Here are the ten quickest games we've played this year:
Apr 23: W 2-1 vs. Padres (2:12, 66 hitters)
Apr 30: L 0-2 vs. Padres (1:58, 59)
May 3: W 3-2 vs. Giants (2:22, 66)
June 1: L 1-2 vs. Mets (2:21, 70)
June 18: L 1-3 vs. Indians (2:27, 68)
June 19: L 2-3 vs. Indians (2:15, 63)
June 22: L 0-4 vs. Giants (2:29, 68)
July 6: L 1-2 vs. Cards (2:20, 63)
July 24: L 2-3 vs. Atlanta (2:22, 65)
August 17: L 0-5 vs. Cards (2:14, 65)
We're 2-8 in games this year that take less than 2 1/2 hours, with an ongoing seven-game losing streak. Surprisingly, the one you'd think was quick - the May 22nd 1-0 win over the Tigers - didn't actually make the cut, at a leisurely 2:33.
Thanks to Otacon for hanging out yesterday, and to andrewinnewyork for comments elsewhere. Says Otacon, "I hate looking at the scores and praying San Diego would lose so that it covers up the failure of Arizona," and I know what he means. Might not have to worry about that much longer though: don't look now, but the Dodgers are only a game back, and the Giants - the Giants! - are only two behind us. Fourth place in the NL West by the time we come home, is a very distinct possibility.
Brandon Lyon responded in the Banana today, following two less-than-stunning appearances since returning from injury: "I'm the same guy, and I'll be back to that form. It's just a matter of getting back out there and feeling comfortable and moving forward. Obviously, I'm just not making the pitches I want to make. That's basically it." He's just not hitting his spots, he said, having left too many pitches over the heart of the plate.
Mike Koplove has been taken off the 40-man roster entirely, having cleared waivers - which is kinda weird, since he still had options remaining. In Koplove's first game for Tucson, he allowed 6 earned runs in 0.2 innings, and Corey Myers - yes, not a pitcher - had to get the final out for him.
The speculation is that Andy Green, still playing like a man possessed for Tucson (he leads all minor league players in hits this year), might come up. Cintron has been largely ineffective lately, hitting just .158 in 22 games since the All-Star Break, so we could do with an alternative.