Record: 66-81. Change on last season: +20
Ah, the enigma which is Shawn Estes. He pitches six shutout frames in Coors Field, then comes back home and doesn't even escape the third innings, getting caned for seven runs in 2.2 innings on six hits and three walks. Perhaps the key was a double-play that wasn't, with one out out in the third and the score only 3-0: Counsell believed he'd tagged Bill Hall as he headed for second, then threw to first.
However, second-base umpire Paul Nauert ruled otherwise, and the Brewers scored six more times before we finally finished them off. The normally mild-mannered Counsell argued vehemently with Nauert, and he seems to have a point - even Hall said later, "He got me. I was out." But blame could also go to Brandon Lyon, who came in to relieve Estes, faced five hitters and didn't retire any of them. And overall, our bullpen left a lot to be desired, allowing 13 hits, four walks and seven runs in 6.1 innings of work.
Meanwhile, our batters were continuing their recent run of indifference. Tracy and Cintron had two hits (the latter deserves extra credit, since he didn't enter the game until after the seventh-inning stretch), but Ohka retired the first 14 that he faced for the Brewers. All told, this was a feeble performance in just about every conceivable way. Thanks to Englishdback, andrewinnewyork, azdb7 and (albeit, very late!) Devin for their contributions,
While listening to yesterday's game on the radio (it wasn't on TV, and barely 20,000 turned up at the park), I heard a really dumb comment. I forget which commentator it was, but he said, "I bet Counsell and Clayton have saved this team 100 runs this year." While this is clearly one of those figures pulled out of his ass, let's examine the statistics for Royce Clayton in particular:
- Fielding percentage: .980 = 9th among 25 MLB SS's
- Range Factor: 4.43 = 14th of 25
- Zone Rating: .809 = 23rd of 25
Now, fielding statistics are largely a matter of interpretation, but this would appear to show someone who is, at best, mediocre when in comes to playing his position. Add in his offensive production (OPS = .661, 21st of 23 qualifiers at SS), and this does not appear to be someone who saved us very many runs this year at all.
Overall, in terms of Win Shares, Clayton is 27th at his position. On fielding alone, nineteen teams have more valuable shortstops; Oakland has two, in Crosby and Scutaro. Counsell, on the other hand, ranks 5th at 2B, and 8th as a fielder. If the pair truly have saved 100 runs this year, it seems Craig is likely responsible for about 90 of them. All this puffing of Clayton makes me suspect strongly that, through a combination of smoke and mirrors, he's going to get a contract extension, and block a younger, cheaper, better alternative such as Andy Green.
Heroes and Zeroes, Series 47: vs. Brewers, at home
Webb: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER
Medders: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 ER, Win
Glaus: 1-for-10, 4 K
Counsell: 1-for-12, 0 BB
Estes: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 ER
This was a pretty dire performance from our hitters, who batted just .204 (21-for-103) for the series - and that's excluding all our pitchers. Glaus failed to find the same success at home he had in Coors Field, though his sole hit was his 35th home run of the season: he's now equal third in franchise history, behind Jay Bell (38 in 1999) and, of course, Gonzo's 57 in 2001. Counsell continues to have a poor September (.227), while Estes's start yesterday speaks for itself.
Speaking of September, looking at the stats for the month so far revealed another quirk. Troy Glaus leads the club in walks - no surprise there, but tied for second with six are Shawn Green, Chris Snyder (largely to reach the pitcher) and...Andy Green. Which isn't bad, given he's stepped to the plate a mere fifteen times: despite only two hits, his OBP is better than Tony Clark and almost parallel with Chad Tracy.
With nine home games left, Arizona need to average about 17,500 in attendance over the remaining weeks to reach two million for the year, about 29,000 to reach 2.1 million. I think the truth will likely fall in between, putting us in 22nd place for attendance this year - markedly down from 2004 (14th), 2003 (8th) and 2002 (4th). While this team has been significantly better than last year, and even led the division as late as the end of July, this didn't turn into any increase in fan attendance, or I'd say, interest.
Finally, a hopeful sign for the future. the South Bend Silver Hawks are just one game from winning the Midwest League. They took the second game 4-1, but were shutout last night in a 1-0 pitchers' duel, Ross Ohlendorf allowing a solo homer in 7 2/3 innings. They play again tonight, and have two more chances to clinch the title.