Record 70-84. Change on last season: +23
Maybe we should change the name back to BOB. Our four-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt in the newly-named Chase Field, the Diamondbacks unable to christen the park with a win. Said D'backs president, Rich Dozer, "The new name is great. Its simplicity helps us maintain the spirit of classic American baseball in one of the most technically advanced, convenient and fan-friendly baseball fields in the country."
Hmm... I think most fans could care less what the place is called, as long as it's accompanied by lots of W's, which was not the case last night. Though given the Giants won, I don't mind too much. Only slightly behind "Anyone but the Yankees," comes "Anyone but Barry"; the prospect of Bonds' smug, puffy face swanning into the playoffs, having sat on his fat ass for the first 140+ games, is too much to bear. So if we got swept this weekend...hey, Go Padres. ;-)
[As an aside, if the Padres do take the division, that'll mean four different teams have won the NL West in the past four years. Regardless of how "weak" it is this year, isn't that true competitive balance, and much better than the sterile AL East, where first and second have gone to the same teams every year since 1997? Indeed, since Tampa Bay joined the following season, the order has been exactly New York, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, every year bar one - and at the moment, is the order yet again. Booooo-ring!]
Vargas wobbled his way through six innings, testing the definition of "quality start" to the maximum. Sure, he allowed only three earned runs, but allowed seven hits and - ouch! - seven walks. Said catcher Kelly Stinnett, "He couldn't spot the fastball, so he was working behind, but he did a pretty good job working out of those jams. He battled his way through it."
Well, mostly: Vargas walked in a run with the bases loaded in the first, and allowed a two-run homer to Greene, on a fastball that wasn't fast - or indeed a ball, being over the heart of the plate. We gave up a couple more in the eighth, in part because Stinnett couldn't handle a pitchout which should have nailed Roberts stealing second, and the Padres subsequently scored a pair of two-out insurance runs.
Two hits for Gonzalez, but we managed only seven: both RBIs went to the CCT Force (one each for Tracy and Clark) - the third scored on a wild-pitch, with Tracy at the plate naturally. Villarreal, Cormier and Aquino filled in the bullpen, mostly because Medders, Groom, Valverde and Worrell were all unavailable, either through mild injuries or overuse. Medders hurt his groin stumbling down the dugout steps: between that and the Rockies' Barmes, it seems baseball players have some kind of issue with stairs.
Villarreal was charged with both earned runs, and is scheduled to pitch for Hermosillo in the Mexican League this winter. Says Oscar, "This season, with what happened, I want to pitch. I want to throw more innings, get my confidence back." He missed more than four months both in 2004 and 2005, and has only pitched less than thirty innings over the two years combined, after appearing in 86 games his rookie season.
30,303 was the official attendance for the first game at Chase - except that, according to MLB.com, "Around 10,000 Chase employees are scheduled to be in attendance on Friday night when the D-Backs play their first game in the newly renamed field." And I'm fairly sure they didn't pay for their tickets! Still, it was enough to make us the 19th club to pass two million spectators for the year.
Thanks to Devin - no doubt wearing his Chase T-shirt, and waving his Chase rally-towel - for his comments, and Otacon, for his diary at right, wondering about Royce Clayton. I'll hopefully get round to posting my thoughts at some point over the weekend. Not quite sure when though...finding the appeal of Clayton is going to require some serious effort! :-)