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AZ 6, Rockies 5 - Turnabout is fair play

Record: 67-82. Change on last season: +21

Firstly, see below this entry for Sunday's game-day thread, which is already ongoing. With that out of the way, yesterday was almost a mirror-image of Friday's game. It was the Rockies' turn to leap out to an early lead, before we clawed our way back into things, tying the game up at five each in the fifth innings. We then took a 6-5 lead on a solo home-run, and our much-criticized bullpen held the opposition at bay the rest of the way.

Tony Clark was, once again, the source of most of our offense: for the second day in a row, he hit two home-runs and drove in four. Also having excellent days were Chad Tracy, who went 4-for-4 and is now one point ahead of Shawn Green in the race for the batting crown, and Royce Clayton who had three hits. However, our 1-2, Counsell and Gonzalez, were 0-for-8, with seven men left on base - both are being "rested" today.

Not the best outing from Vargas: he got through six innings, and only threw 90 pitches, but allowed eight hits, a walk and five earned runs. However, Villarreal, Worrell and Valverde - the only three members of our bullpen to have ERAs under four for Arizona this year - gave up just one base-runner over the remaining three innings to make the one-run lead stand up.

But it's Clark who continues to defy all expectations: the prophets of doom have been predicting a collapse all season, but it simply hasn't happened. Here's his lines, month-by-month, so far:

      BA  OBP   SLG   OPS
Apr .323 .400  .677 1.077 
May .319 .360  .596  .956 
Jun .333 .341  .642  .983 
Jul .349 .440  .814 1.254 
Aug .256 .326  .500  .826 
Sep .351 .429 1.000 1.429

Apart from a drop-off to merely "mortal" levels in August, this has been an astonishing season. Perhaps most amazingly, despite barely passing 300 AB's for the year, Clark has now broken into the franchise top ten for home-runs in a season, with a dozen games to go. Here's the complete list:

All-Time D'backs Single-Season Home-Run Leaders

  • 1. 57 - Luis Gonzalez, 2001
  • 2. 38 - Jay Bell, 1999
  • 3. 36* - Troy Glaus, 2005
  • 4. 35 - Matt Williams, 1999 + Steve Finley, 2000
  • 6. 34 - Steve Finley, 1999
  • 7. 33 - Reggie Sanders, 2001
  • 8. 31 - Luis Gonzalez, 2000
  • 9. 29* - Tony Clark, 2005
  • 10. 28 - Luis Gonzalez, 2002
    * = So far

Thanks to Otacon, azdb7, William K and icecoldmo, for their comments - the last-named wrote a very worthwhile piece making suggestions for the off-season and our overall performance over the past year, on and off the field. Not much I can argue with in that one: Tracy has been excellent this year, while Cintron and Terrero are in serious danger of being passed by better prospects very soon.

And in case you missed it, congratulations to South Bend, who won the deciding game in their minor-league title series 4-0 - according to William K, the first time a D'backs affiliate has taken the championship. Congratulations to both the players and management for this success. And with that, I'm off to get ready for work while Russ Ortiz does his unconvincing impression of a major-league pitcher worth $8m per year...