Record: 58-71. Change on last year: +18
It was 'Good' Vazquez that turned up last night - just not 'Good Enough' Vazquez, especially on a night when our offense failed again. If you look in the dictionary beside "ineffective", you'll find a picture of Royce Clayton, stranded on third after a leadoff triple.
While we lost, and got swept, at least we showed an acceptable amount of fight this game, especially on the pitching front. When Vazquez allowed two runs in the second, another collapse seemed possible, but he buckled down and kept the Mets scoreless after that: four hits and two walks over seven innings, with six K's.
This gave the bullpen a much-needed rest, with only Medders being used - he pitched two innings, and looked good in the first, but allowed an insurance run in the ninth, though the Mets didn't need to use it. Not when Martinez took a no-hitter into the sixth, despite allowing four walks and hitting a batter, and when we eventually got hits, they weren't when we needed them - 0-for-9 with RISP.
The seventh was the shining poster-boy for futility: Clayton tripled and McCracken was hit by a pitch. But Cintron grounded to third and Clayton was caught in a rundown having broken for home. Then Counsell hit a liner straight to Cairo at second, who flipped to Reyes for the inning-ending double-play.
Tracy provided the sum total of our offense with a solo home-run in the eighth. That was a very nice at-bat: he looked bad early on, but kept fighting off pitches, until he finally dispatched one off the top of the fence in right field. Good job, albeit a futile endeavour in a lost cause.
Thanks to Devin, William K, and special guest MetsFan1 for showing up. Though perhaps the most frequent commentator was Comment-Bot v1.0, now in beta-testing and who got a thorough workout. "What is it with us and runners in scoring position?" came in for particularly-heavy use...
And on the whole, this is a series that is best forgotten, to put it mildly - though I'm sure I'll wake up in the night, sweating and screaming about it for a while. Let's compare the stats for the past four games, shall we?
New York Arizona Wins 4 0 Runs 39 7 BA .327 .183 OBP .399 .270 SLG .640 .270 Hits 49 23 X-Base 26 6 HR 9 2 BB 17 9 Start ERA 1.24 7.88 Bull. ERA 1.29 13.50
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 41: vs. Mets, at home
Vargas: 5 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 8 ER
Ortiz: 4 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 8 ER
Heroes are obviously few and far between in this series. Vazquez and Webb gave us quality starts, but getting tagged with the loss, only makes you a hero in Shakespearean tragedies. Instead, let's give it to Gonzalez, who deserves a nod for at least trying, with almost 30% of all Arizona's hits for the series.
The villains. Oh, where to start? Vargas lasted slightly longer than Ortiz, while Counsell went hitless, was 1-for-2 stealing bases, lined into a double-play with a man on third, and was involved in the Keystone Cops-like Mets' double-play, during which two runs came home. Ortiz simply sucked - film at 11.
But another fresh arm arrives in the bullpen, in the shape of Jason Bulger, our first-round pick in the 2001 draft, who will be making his major-league debut. Said Bulger, "From the time you're a kid playing Little League, you dream about being in the big leagues and here it is. It's surreal, and I'm still waiting to wake up from it, but it's a great feeling." Sure reality will bite soon, kid. ;-) At Tucson, he was 3-6 with four saves and a 3.54 ERA in 56 games.
Bulger replaces Greg Aquino, who is sent back down after a lacklustre and injury-plagued season that failed to fulfill the promised of 2004. He missed the best part of two months with an elbow problem and, while he performed better on his return, the last couple of appearances were awful. On the whole, it's probably no bad thing he was sent down: unlike some of our rehab cases, I still believe there's hope for him.
According to the East Valley Tribune, D'backs managing partner Ken Kendrick called Bob Melvin yesterday. Melvin was vague on the details, but said, "He's frustrated with the way things are going. I'm frustrated...The players obviously are. Everybody is on the same page in that we're not happy about the way things are going." Join the club, Bob.