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AZ 3, Reds 17 - Dead Red

Record: 57-66. change on last year: +20

"I'd say this is the low point of the season."
    The Tao of Bob, #519

The season, Mr, Melvin? Or were those the worst two innings in Arizona history? Let's review, shall we? In the 3rd and 4th combined, the Reds sent twenty-six men to the plate. Twenty of them reached, on 12 hits, seven walks and a hit batter. Sixteen of them scored, six in the third, then ten more in the fourth. Let's save icecoldmo the trouble, and post the gory details:

Third inning

  • F. Lopez tripled to deep center
  • R. Aurilia hit sacrifice fly to right, F. Lopez scored
  • K. Griffey Jr. singled to right
  • A. Dunn singled to center, K. Griffey Jr. to third, A. Dunn to second advancing on throw
  • S. Casey flied out to center
  • A. Kearns homered to deep center, A. Dunn and K. Griffey Jr. scored
  • J. LaRue doubled to deep left
  • E. Encarnacion intentionally walked
  • B. Claussen walked, J. LaRue to third, E. Encarnacion to second
  • F. Lopez walked, J. LaRue scored, E. Encarnacion to third, B. Claussen to second
  • R. Aurilia singled to left, E. Encarnacion scored, B. Claussen to third, F. Lopez to second
  • B. Bruney relieved R. Ortiz
  • K. Griffey Jr. fouled out to third

Fourth inning

  • A. Dunn walked
  • S. Casey singled to left, A. Dunn to second
  • A. Kearns walked, A. Dunn to third, S. Casey to second
  • J. LaRue singled to right, A. Dunn scored, S. Casey to third, A. Kearns to second
  • E. Encarnacion singled to center, S. Casey and A. Kearns scored, J. LaRue to second
  • B. Claussen sacrificed to first, J. LaRue to third, E. Encarnacion to second
  • F. Lopez homered to deep center, J. LaRue and E. Encarnacion scored
  • L. Cormier relieved B. Bruney
  • R. Aurilia doubled to deep right
  • K. Griffey Jr. walked
  • A. Dunn hit by pitch, R. Aurilia to third, K. Griffey Jr. to second
  • S. Casey grounded into fielder's choice, R. Aurilia scored, K. Griffey Jr. to third, A. Dunn out at second
  • A. Kearns homered to deep right, K. Griffey Jr. and S. Casey scored
  • J. LaRue walked
  • E. Encarnacion grounded out to second

I mean, it was very nice of Cormier and - especially - Bruney, to try and bolster Ortiz's confidence, by sucking even harder than our starter. Commendable team spirit. And since we only managed five hits, about 3/4 of these runs were meaningless pile-ons, harming only our run differential. Which now sits at -115, better than only Tampa, Colorado and Kansas in the major leagues.

Positives? I mean, apart from "our pitching positively blew chunks"? Three hits for Clayton, whose season average has now surpassed Gonzo's at .280. Indeed, among everyday players, he's now passed everyone bar Green and Tracy. Terrero knocked in two runs, and Jackson added an RBI with a bases-loaded walk. Aquino and Lyon were pretty good in the seventh and eight innings.

After the game, Bruney was sent to Tucson. Said Bruney, "If I'm manager I send me down too...I have no excuses. I know I'm better than this. I think everyone knows that." Hmm, strangely echoing the words of Mike Koplove from his new home in Tucson: "I just didn't pitch well. I'm a much better pitcher than that. I expect more from myself than that." Added Bruney, with refreshing frankness: "I don't want to be here, right now, if I'm not helping. Obviously, I'm not."

Now, if only we can get Ortiz to adopt the same attitude - here's his line since May 24:
37.1 IP, 49 H, 23 BB, 34 ER, 0 wins, 5 losses, 8.20 ERA
What was that about "not helping"? Ortiz is far, far more lethal in that department. It would seem the team has a simple decision: do we want to win the NL West, or Ortiz to pitch? For the two appear mutually exclusive.

Anyway, Medders got called up to replace Bruney. Yes, Brandon "1.74 ERA, never should have been sent down" Medders. I fear Bruney may not come back, in any meaningful sense. Sure, he's relatively young, only 23 (though he looks mid-30's!), but needs to get his game seriously sorted. He's always had control issues - 27 walks in 31.1 innings last year, 34 in 45 this - only in 2005, batters are hitting 108 points higher off Bruney than in 2004.

The low point of the season? Hard to argue with that, though when I saw the score was 16-3 in the fourth innings, my reaction involved more eye-rolling than surprise or outrage: "Oh, no - not again", to quote a certain bowl of petunias. And, to complete a wretched baseball day, the players I had benched on my fantasy team (and so didn't count), went a combined 10-for-14 with three stolen bases. :-(

But it could be worse. Much worse. Indeed, yesterday hardly registers, when you look at Kansas - now up to 19 straight losses, and still counting. As low points go, that rates somewhere in the Marianas Trench.

Over at SI, Stephen Cannella has an interesting piece, looking at how rosters would look, without free agency or trades, purely on draft picks. Here's his D'backs line-up:

  • 1B: Lyle Overbay
  • 2B: Junior Spivey
  • 3B: ???
  • SS: Alex Cintron
  • C: Rod Barajas
  • LF: ???
  • CF: Luis Terrero
  • RF: Erubiel Durazo
  • SP: Vicente Padilla, Brad Penny, Brandon Webb, Chris Capuano, John Patterson
  • RP: Mike Koplove, Duaner Sanchez, Jorge de la Rosa, Jose Valverde, Greg Aquino

The "???" are ones without a pick, but I'd put David Dellucci in left (bit of a loophole, since he was our draft-pick, albeit the 45th pick in the 1997 expansion draft), and either Alex Cintron or Andy Green at third. It's a cop-out to have Durazo in right, where he's played a whopping four career games, and Chad Tracy is likely a better fit. But it's not a bad team; a little light on superstars, but given the youth of the franchise, not shameful at all.