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AZ 3, Phillies 11 - How Low Can We Go?

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Record: 58-72. Change on last year: +17

"Horrible, just like the last couple of nights. Frustrating, whatever you want to call it. It's just been tough, man. I know everybody wants us to get more fired up and emotional and things like that. This is the same team that was here when we were winning games in April and May, and we've just got to find a way to turn it around."
    -- Luis Gonzalez

So you keep saying, Gonzo. Yet it's another day, another double-digit score against. That's a leading contender to implement when we upgrade Comment-Bot - for in five of the past eight games now, the opposition have scored ten or more. During that time we've been outscored 25-82. Put another way, since last weekend, conceding ten runs and losing by eight has been an average game.

There was a slight variation on the usual theme last night, in that we actually took "a lead". I'll explain this term, which may be unfamiliar, since it's not been heard often in Arizona lately. This happens when - and I know you'll find this difficult to believe - the Diamondbacks score more runs than the opposition.

We'd got rid of the Phillies starter after four innings, and come back to take "the lead" on an RBI single by Stinnett, and a bunt by Halsey, which brought home Jackson from third. [Curious stat: Halsey has six walks in 52 times at the plate - a better ratio than any hitter bar Counsell and Glaus] Glaus added a homer in the third and we were feeling pretty good. However, the key was our traditional bete noire, the seventh innings.

We took a 3-2 margin in, but a homer tied the game: after Halsey got an out and walked a guy, he was yanked for Lyon, but he did no better, allowing a single and a walk to load the bases with two out. Worrell came in, and an infield single gave the Phillies the lead, with Bobby Abreu at the plate.

Now, Abreu's a leftie - traditional baseball logic would have had Groom come in to face him, but Melvin went with Tim Worrell, on the basis of, er, five at-bats. Over Abreu's ten-season career. Let's also ignore the 96 games Abreu saw Worrell pitch this year and last, when they both played for the Phillies - you don't think that might have helped Abreu deposit a 3-1 fastball over the center-field fence for a grand-slam, do you?

Worrell took the blame, saying "Fell behind, made a bad pitch, up and over the plate," but the question has to be asked: should he have been there at all? Okay, hindsight is 20/20, but this was definitely one of those 10% of decision which would not have been made by a well-trained ape. And those calling for Bob Melvin's head now have another exhibit for their case.

Not a great day for anyone - except perhaps Shawn Green, who was off helping his wife give birth to their second child, Chandler Rose (he'll probably miss today's game too). Only five hits for Arizona: Craig Counsell is now 0-for-15 on this homestand. Jason Bulger made his big-league debut - our nineteenth reliever this year - and was promptly whacked for four hits and three earned runs in 0.2 innings. As someone said yesterday, "I'm sure reality will bite soon." His ERA now stands at 40.50. Welcome to the big leagues.

Another dumb play on the basepaths - and this one was by Gonzalez, so we can't even blame reckless youth. He beat out an infield hit, but after reaching first, turned towards second, when the ball got away from Myers, covering first. When he realised it wasn't going anywhere, Gonzo meandered back to the bag, but was tagged out before he got there.

To his credit, Gonzo 'fessed up: "I tried to sell it and tell them I didn't go. I did, I knew I did. It's like telling a cop you didn't go over the speed limit and he's got you on radar." However, in a 2-1 game, it's still pretty inexcusable as a mental lapse - and to make matters worse, it turned Glaus's home-run, which followed immediately, into a solo shot.

As Nick Piecoro's wrote in View from the Press Box from today's Banana: "It's hard to remember another stretch when the Diamondbacks have looked this bad. Ever. They lost 14 consecutive games last season, but at no point were the games this uncompetitive...They were bad last year, but never this bad for a weeklong stretch."

Thanks to Englishdback, Devin, andrewinnewyork, Otacon and William K for their thoughts - in case anyone is wondering, the Spanish Comment-Bot was saying, "I do not like the oranges!" Babelfish is a wonderful thing. :-) We almost had more people here than turned up at BOB, where a pitiful 22,397 showed up, a record low for a Friday game. Seems like apathy regarding this team has reached new depths all over...