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AZ 4, Pirates 2 - We Suck. Pittsburgh Sucks Harder

Record: 62-77. Change on last season: +20

If ever both teams deserves a loss, yesterday's game was it, for that has to be about the worst-played victory I've seen in a long time. Our starter allowed eleven hits through five innings; we managed only five hits through the first ten innings; we had two men thrown out on the basepaths (and it would have been three had a throw not pinged off a runner's back); and chuck in an error, a passed ball and Luis Terrero showing, as andrewinnewyork put it, that he was all legs and no glove. How the hell did we win this one?

Said Melvin, "I saw a lot of things I didn't like seeing early in the game today. We missed a hit-and-run sign, tried to steal when we're not supposed to be stealing - a lot of things that usually end up costing you games. But we kept playing hard and came up on the wining side."

Actually, I think it was more because the Pirates were still worse than we were - you can see why they are 55-82, the worst record in the National League. Their inability to drive runners home made us look like mere amateurs in this department; they left 15 - fifteen! - runners on base. They had men in scoring position every innings through the sixth; in #3-5, they had them with one out, but went:

  • 3rd: Man on third, one out; fail to score.
  • 4th: First and second, one out; fail to score.
  • 5th: Bases loaded, one out: fail to score.
    Are you Arizona in disguise? It was after the fifth, when a double-play bailed out Vazquez, that I realised the baseball gods wanted us to win this game, no matter how badly we played.

Even so, took our sweet time about it: another seven innings, the go-ahead run scoring when Chris "0-for-21" Snyder lined one into right field. Tracy, on second, completely ignored Carlos Tosca's stop sign - and you know Tosca is unwilling to give any stop sign, unless a mile-deep chasm filled with irritated piranhas opens up between third-base and home. Tracy was about 20 feet short when the throw arrived; he turned back to third, but the catcher's throw plunked him in the shoulder, the ball ricocheted foul, and Tracy trotted home, trying to look as if that was what he meant to do all along.

Of course, we weren't exactly great ourselves with runners in scoring position. Witness the 10th, which started with Luis Terrero doing his Oscar-worthy impression of a man getting hit by a pitch, shrieking in pain on a pitch that, on the replay, clearly sailed under his arm. He took second on a passed-ball, and we had runners on the corners with no-one out thanks to McCracken's bunt. But Green lined out, and Terrero made an ill-advised dash for home on a comebacker, and was tagged out in a rundown.

This overshadowed one decent area of play, our bullpen, which put together six shutout innings, on three hits and a walk, by Medders, Worrell, Valverde and Groom. That area has been pretty solid of late, and is currently on a scoreless streak of 9.1 innings, allowing 4 hits and three walks with ten K's. Yesterday, Medders and Valverde were particularly impressive, combining to retire twelve of fifteen hitters, fanning seven of them.

Vazquez had a "quality start" in that he allowed two runs over six innings; but twelve hits must be about the worst quality start of the year so far in the majors. We went 7-for-39 at the plate, so not much glory there, though Jackson did get two hits. As we're facing all-leftie starters this series, I expect he'll probably play today and tomorrow too.

A sparking selection of comments yesterday: Englishdback, Otacon, azdb7, andrewinnewyork, Devin, William K and Maria Sharapova all turned one form or another. As promised, posted an advert for my wife in the left-hand column. We've got enough cash to ensure it should be there for the rest of the season and the playoffs, so thanks to all who contributed. She has yet to see it, so if you don't hear from me again, you know why.

Noticed there's also another advert lurking up there: if you've got a second or two, I'd appreciate it if you could click on it. You don't have to buy anything, the mere recognition of its existence is all that's tracked. Better yet, click on it every day. Repeatedly. From any computer you can find. ;-)

Greg Aquino has been called up from Tucson; that gives us (at last count) 11 men in our bullpen. Word is, this will likely complete our roster expansion for the foreseeable future. The only other alteration expected is the return of Estes on Friday, which will be made room for on the roster, by recalling Jerry Gil, and putting him on the 60-day DL.