Lieber (12-11, 4.91)
Webb (10-10, 3.87)
Gazing into my crystal ball, I feel pretty confident that the Diamondbacks might win this one. I'm thinking seven scoreless innings for Webb, and - I'll go out on a limb here - a two-run pinch-hit home run for Alex Cintron. Any takers?
Record: 59-72. Change on last year: +18
Okay, somewhat embarrassingly, I admit it. I managed not to notice there was a day game today, until it was all over. Probably for the best, at least as far as the Diamondbacks go, since they a) won, and b) posted a shutout. It seems like a very long time since they did either, but it's only a week and 15 days respectively.
Bonus points are due to andrewinnewyork for being the only one of us sharp enough to realise there was a game on, while Devin sunned himself by the lake, and I put my nose to the grindstone and worked. And greetings to azdb7 too, the latest member of our (fairly) happy (today, at least) family.
At least the pitching side of things went well, with Webb allowing five hits and four walks over seven shutout innings, despite some wobbles - such as a 31-pitch second inning. The Phillies were taking a lot of pitches, in an obvious effort to get to our pen, but Webb adjusted well, became more aggressive, and ended up surviving long enough to get the win.
Less impressive on the offense side, however, where our woes continued. Our first fourteen hitters failed to reach, and we had just five hits all told - two for Tracy - with the sole meaningful blow being Cintron's pinch-golfed homer ("hit" is too strong a word), which only just escaped Bobby Abreu's.
This is a rare area in which we've excelled in 2005. It's Arizona's ninth, which convincingly leads the majors; no-one else has more than five. Indeed both Cintron and Tony Clark individually now have more pinch-hit homers (three) than all of Washington and Pittsburgh combined this year (two). However, overall, our pinch-hitters are hitting a mere .233, below average in the league.
After Webb's departure, Groom allowed a walk to lead off the eighth, but got Abreu, whom he had not been allowed to face the previous day. Then Valverde came on and got four strikeouts in six hitters faced, for his first save in 17 days, despite allowing a leadoff walk in the ninth.
And, as Comment-Bot would say, "at least San Diego lost again", to Colorado, on a grand-slam by Todd Helton. This made a winner out of Kim - no, not that Kim, the other Korean starter called Kim pitching for the Rockies. Sun-Woo, rather Byung-Hyun. At least he won't be quite so lonely there as he was playing for the Diamondbacks!
Oscar Villarreal is now rattling around the clubhouse: he had to come up, because there's a maximum 30-day rehab and he'd used up all that down in Tucson. But he can't get to play yet, because we haven't got the room on the roster. When they expand from 25 to 40 players on Thursday, I imagine he'll be added, to give our bullpen more - and I use quotes advisedly here - "depth".
Ok: it's late (in more senses than one!) so I'll cut this short. Will definitely be back tomorrow. In time for the game. For sure. Promise. :-)