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AZ 2, Rockies 7 - Coors Fright

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Record: 65-79. Change on last season: +22

I think they'll have to rename the Rockies' stadium The Glaus House after this series, in which Troy cracked four home runs, including two in today's game. Unfortunately, this afternoon, his three hits represented the sum total of our runs and RBIs, as well as 1/3 of our base-runners. No-one else reached first more than once.

Two runs won't win many games in Denver, and on the other end, Russ Ortiz was about as forgettable as you'd expect. Though at first, he was surprisingly good, pitching to the minimum hitters through three innings - he allowed only one walk, which was erased by a double-play on the very next pitch. However, it all fell apart at the start of the fourth, where the first seven Rockies hitters all reached off Ortiz, on three singles, two walks, a double and an error.

"I wish I could explain what happened," said Ortiz. "Nothing seemed to be where I wanted it to be or even in the general area." Oh, sometimes, the jokes just write themselves, don't they? Ortiz is a gift to bloggers everywhere, both for his comment-worthy performances, and his convoluted explanations for them. "I wish I could explain it, but I just couldn't keep the same rhythm. I felt fine. I felt like every pitch was going to be a good pitch."

We'll take the easy, snide responses as read for this one, I think, and just stick to the facts: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 R, 5 ER. Stellar stuff. Alex Cintron, too, had a game he'll want to forget - he made two errors in that fourth innings, then fouled the ball off his foot in the sixth, and had to leave the game. Not what you want after a glowing article regarding his play this year.

The question of who'll be playing at shortstop next season is an interesting one, with a range of possibilities. Clayton might be re-signed; Cintron is eligible for arbitration, so it's uncertain what he might ask for or get; Andy Green has hardly been given a fair shot (9 at-bats!); Sergio Santos lurks down in Tucson; and of course, then there's Stephen Drew.

I've a horrible feeling we'll end up going with Clayton again. Alex will be wished all the best, and allowed to walk - with the cheaper Green perhaps in the Cintron utility role for 2006. Drew won't be in the picture (save perhaps a September call-up), but should be there or thereabouts for Opening Day 2007, with Sergio Santos becoming the forgotten man among Arizona short-stops. [A .239 average at Tucson this year isn't exactly impressive]

Anyway, back at the game, credit to our bullpen for allowing only one run over five innings, on four hits and no walks. A particular gold star to the long presumed-dead Oscar Villarreal (previously scheduled to appear as The Man Who Wasn't There), who made his first trip to the mound in over a week, and pitched three shutout innings. Aquino allowed the run - keeping his ERA over 9.00 - but Bulger pitched a shutout eighth, albeit in a lost cause. Thanks to Englishdback, Devin, azdb7 and Otacon for their comments.

A 4-2 road trip doesn't seem so bad, except that it came against the worst two teams in the National League, and it could - indeed, should - easily have been 5-1, if we hadn't blown that ninth-inning lead in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Not that it matters much, but it does demonstrate our lack of "killer instinct". That's now 38 consecutive series without a sweep - you'd think we'd have managed one by accident by now. We're a .450 team. The chance of sweeping a three-games series is about 1-in-11. But the chances of not sweeping that many in a row? About 38-to-1. Good work, boys.

Looks like there might be a feud between the Rockies and the D'backs. Medders was ejected in Friday's game, but this story reports, the Rockies believe Estes was throwing at Helton earlier in the game. "I'm not going to talk about it in the press," Helton said, adding, somewhat ominously: "I'll deal with it accordingly."

Heroes and Zeroes for the series to follow tomorrow, since we have an off-day, before the D'backs come home for the series against the Brewers. That is, of course, the "let's raise funds for Hurricane Katrina" series, though there has been significant muttering over how it doesn't involve the D'backs doing much actual giving - it's only the additional sales of tickets which are going to charity, and there has been dead silence on what will happened to the increased concession sales...

Of course, the D'backs have given money themselves too - most recently, this story which reports the raising of $76,500. But putting that in context, it represents about 0.1% of their collective salary for the year. Or, put another way, it's about the equivalent of me forking over $30, and I don't get lengthy write-ups in the paper when I do that. And this money will be used to buy tickets for the Brewers series...again, leading back to the concession issue.

Charity is good (though I have serious qualms about giving any money to the American Red Cross, who proved woefully inept at handling hundreds of millions of dollars raised post-9/11 in their Liberty Fund). But this series is charity that does not appear to be costing the Arizona Diamondbacks anything - it's we, the fans, who are largely funding it - yet they are reaping the rewards. In fact, it doesn't really seem very charitable at all...