Record: 67-83. Change on last season: +20
Optimism and any genuine expectation of victory left rather early on Sunday. In fact, they probably lasted no later than one out in the top of the first innings, as the Rockies pounced early on Ortiz, scoring two runs. While that's all they'd get off our Underperforming Starter (TM), it proved more than enough, given that the Diamondbacks didn't have anyone reach second base until after the seventh-inning stretch.
And then, after Tracy brought us within one with his 24th home-run, our bullpen had its scheduled blow-up. Villarreal, who cruised through the seventh, loaded the bases up while only getting a sacrifice out. Then Worrell came in and allowed all three inherited runners to score, as well as one of his own, to give the Rockies a 6-1 advantage. Thank you for coming to Bank One Ballpark. Please drive safely.
But what Ortiz (5-11) start would be complete without an excuse for his performance? He's got a million of 'em - that'd be about $8 apiece for his salary this year...
"I felt like I was able to throw the ball where I wanted to every hitter. I've had a better mindset throwing every pitch these last four for five outings and sometimes it doesn't work out."
-- Russ Ortiz
These last four or five outings? We'll be charitable and assume he means four - that way, he gets to avoid the eight earned-run shambles against the Mets. Over those four outings, his combined line is:
Ortiz: 20.1 IP, 23 H, 9 BB, 13 ER, 6 K, 5.75 ERA
And that's with "a better mindset"? One shudders to think.
Two hits for Tracy, two for Green. But overall, this performance was utterly blah and mediocre: poor starting and relief pitching, weak hitting (the number of double-plays equalling that of extra-base hits) and bad baserunning, with Green getting picked off after dropping down a bunt single. The last-named pretty much sums up the entire season: the team can be both brilliant and awful in the same series, game or even inning, with the only consistent factor our inconsistency.
Heroes and Villains, Series 48: vs. Rockies, at home
Clark: 5-for-10, 4 HR, 8 RBI
Tracy: 6-for-10, 3 RBI
Vargas: 6 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 ER
Counsell: 0-for-9, 7 LOB
Nippert: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 6 BB, 5 ER
Not a great series for our rotation: a combined line of 15.2 IP, 18 H, 11 BB, 12 ER. It says something that Russ Ortiz had the best start. Hence Vargas and Nippert appear in the zeroes: Nippert does, of course, deserve some slack, having never pitched about Double-A, but I've not yet seen anything to make me believe he won't start 2006 in Tucson.
Offensively, Clark and Tracy were about it - the rest of the roster managed just one RBI between them all series (Glaus's solo HR). There really isn't much more you can say about Clark, but if Tracy gets traded in the off-season - simply because of a lack of anywhere to play him - we'd better get something really good in exchange. Not a good series to lose, given that coming in here, the Rockies were 22-49 on the road.
Tracy is now one hit away from .300: here are the other qualifying (hence, no Clark) NL players hitting .300 with 24 homers this year. It's a pretty elite list:
- Lee: 44 HR, .341
- Pujols: 39, .336
- Griffey: 35, .301
- Cabrera: 32, .325
- Delgado: 31, .305
- Ramirez: 31, .302
- Bay: 30, .305
And, it's important to note, Tracy has also had his playing-time reduced this year too. Not as much as Clark, true, but of all NL players with 20+ home-runs, only Tony and Jim Edmonds have fewer at-bats than Tracy. And with that, I must depart for work. No game today - in fact, no Monday games in September or the rest of the way at all - so no preview; I'll figure out something to do tomorrow though!