Record: 53-59. Change on last season: +18
"You don't walk the first guy on four pitches."
-- The Tao of Melvin, #122
When we pitch, we can't hit. When we hit - Conor Jackson delivering his first multi-homer game, in only his third start - we serve up batting practice, allowing the most runs we've conceded at home since the 16-2 thumping by Pittsburgh on May 8.
And, to use the phrase that seems to have cropped up at least once per series so far: it was all looking so promising too. Most particularly after the third innings, when we'd taken a 5-1 lead thanks to three solo homers, from Glaus, Jackson and Terrero. Jackson first home run came on an elevated change-up, which Conor deposited into left. Said Jackson, "By the time you're rounding first base, you're asking yourself, 'OK, what'd you do on that one?' It's really hard to explain." I hope he gets the hang of it. ;-)
Terrero lined the next pitch into left center, and this one was well under control. Unfortunately, Mike Gosling didn't get the memo, allowing the first five Rockies to reach: walk, homer, single, walk, error by Gosling. He was yanked, but Koplove then allowed both inherited runners to score, and the dream of victory melted faster than a Cold Stone Creamery tub, left atop your car on a Phoenix August day.
Gosling was, at least, brutally honest on himself. "I just fell apart, I was terrible. To have the offense put up the inning they did and I go out there and just lose command of the strike zone, it's just inexcusable. Not much more to say than that." However, he went on anyway: "Awful, terrible, pick your word. This loss is 100 percent on my shoulders tonight because, I go out there and just do a halfway decent job for a couple more innings, we're probably in command. We had the momentum; I went out and gave it right back."
That's a little harsh, considering we did still have the lead when he left. A large part of the blame must be levelled at the atrocity exhibition which was our bullpen. Admittedly, six innings will tax any relievers, but fourteen baserunners allowed? Not pretty at all.
Koplove tired badly in his third innings, but why was he out there at all? He ended up throwing 50 pitches, I believe the most ever in his major-league career, covering 214 games - he hasn't even thrown 40 since April 2003. After Worrell tidied up, Bruney allowed 4 hits in 1.1 innings, but was victimised by Terrero's flapping in center field. Groom came on, was bearable in the eighth, then sucked hard in the ninth, allowing three of four hitters to reach. Aquino got the final two outs, around a walk and hit, and this one was mercifully over.
The hitting wasn't bad: two homers for Jackson, as already mentioned, and Clayton, Gonzalez and Terrero also had multi-hit games. But, while scoring seven runs was pleasant enough, you're really not going to win many games when your pitching staff allows fourteen, even if four of those were unearned.
It wasn't on TV, which was probably something of a mercy for us in Phoenix; Devin did get to see much of it, and thanks also to Otacon for stopping by. icecoldmo was actually at the game, and delivered his scathing report, which is well worth a read (as opposed to the glossing-over you'll see in today's Banana), and can be found in the comments section: "I am prepared to officially call this an end to the season," he says. After last night, it's difficult to argue, though I'd still say that, on their day, this team can take on anyone - for some bizarre reason, we have an especial affinity for Chicago...
However, last night was, very clearly, not our day.
Just enough time to mention the latest from our Tucson affiliate; I got a little out of sync yesterday, reporting on Thursday and Friday's games, but Tucson did win yesterday, 4-1. Lyon and Villarreal pitched the first two innings: Lyon struck out two in a perfect first, while Villarreal allowed a single in the second, but only threw 6 pitches. Murphy followed up with 6.2 innings, allowing only an unearned run, and Medders got his 8th save. Brian Barden's two-run double in the third was all the offense we would need, while Colin Porter had two doubles and an RBI.
And with that, a very short preview will follow in about two minutes. ;-)