Record: 6-8. Change on last season: -1
The less charitable among you might assume the title today is a Russ Ortiz reference - after all, what better way than to describe his situation (hey, he gets paid $8m regardless of how well he pitches, or even if he comes out in the 3rd inning with "cramp") - but it is, of course, a Jimmy Buffett one. Had fun at the show last night: it's basically a party with a concert attached, and Buffett genuinely seems to be enjoying himself, which is infectious, even for someone (like me!) who doesn't know his songs all that well.
Actually, Buffett is a baseball fan - he was part owner of the Fort Myers Miracle (High-A Twins affiliate), along with Bill Murray. He is also active in the Save the Manatee Club: wonder if he could give a home to Russ Ortiz? [Insert rim-shot here] Oh, the huge manatee... :-) Not that you'd know Ortiz was even playing last night, from the MLB.com recap, as his name isn't even mentioned: it's almost all about Gonzo reaching the 500-double, 300-HR mark. Which is fair enough, really. Took him long enough - said Gonzalez, "My kids were tired of bringing posters to the game. They made those about a week ago." But well done, Luis!
Lost in all this, was the fact that we actually won a Russ Ortiz start, cause enough for Governer Napolitano to declare a public holiday in Arizona. Not that we really have Ortiz to thank, since he only lasted 2.1 innings before cramp set in, and he headed for the showers. He did only allow one hit, though walked three and was the fortunate recipient of a GIDP from Bonds, when he came up with two men on in the first [one of four double-plays hit into by the Giants on the night].
After Ortiz departed, Cruz came in as understudy, and played the role of Russ to perfection. To be specific: three hits, three walks and three earned runs in 2.2 innings. The trouble came in the sixth inning, when he faced three batters and didn't retire any of them, including a two-run homer to Finley, who seems to be taking delight in tormenting his old team. [Though on his return to Chase, he did misplay Counsell's hit in the first, turning it into a triple and eventual go-ahead run.]
While Lyon got us out of that inning, it didn't look good with the Giants ahead in the middle of the sixth; however, we tore Morris apart in the bottom of the inning. Including Gonzo's 500th double, we sent eleven men to the plate, scored five runs, and basically cruised home thereafter: Daigle and Vizcaino took care of the seventh and eighth. Grisley offered Valverde the chance of a save situation, but Jose said, "No, thanks - you take this one, man," and we held on to get a much-needed win.
Shawn Green had his third straight multi-hit game, and climbed above the Mendoza line to .205. Only five more nights to go, Shawn. Do that, and a drink of your choice, at any establishment in town, will be on me. Davanon had three hits, to raise his average to .414, and Counsell continued his good early-season form with a pair, as every starter bar Ortiz (who didn't bat) had a hit. We also only struck out three times, but our overall K:BB ratio remains worrisome, at almost 2:1 [91:47], ahead only of the Rockies in the NL West. On the plus side, we are actually hitting better, and are up to .255, better than both the Giants and Padres in the division.
Thanks to Ben, dahlian, Devin, Otacon, IndyDBack and 4CornersFan for keeping things going while I swayed away in a Hawaiian shirt and drank margaritas. Actually, I skipped the latter: it's no fun when Mrs. SnakePit can't indulge too. Though I do have to say, the fashion police should have been present for some of the costumes worn by paying guests at the show. Drunkeness is no excuse for that kind of thing. ;-)
Interesting decision today for the D'backs, with Medders looking likely to come off the DL. The obvious candidate to be sent back down is Casey Daigle, but I'm wondering if Grisly - another home run surrendered yesterday; he leads the pitching staff with three so far - is perhaps likely to find himself scouring the 'Help Wanted' ads. For one of these things is not like the others...
Current Bullpen Stats
IP H R ER BB K ERA Cruz 9.0 4 3 3 7 11 3.00 Vizcaino 8.1 3 2 2 4 8 2.16 Grisly 7.2 11 9 9 2 2 10.57 Lyon 6.1 2 1 1 4 3 1.42 Aquino 5.1 4 1 1 1 6 1.69 Valverde 5.1 3 2 2 3 7 3.38 Daigle 4.2 5 2 2 0 4 3.86
Finally, rather disturbing to see Angel Rocha, a minor-league player in our system, get whacked with a 100-game suspension for his second violation of the minor-league abuse policy. So far, we've had a fairly clean organization, compared to some (cough, Seattle), and it's disappointing to see that even getting caught once is not, apparently, sufficient for the message to get home. It works for me: I was stopped by the cops for speeding on the 101 in Scottsdale coming home Monday night. That had the desired effect, though I got off with a warning - luckily, I resisted the urge to say, "Hey, I thought you guys had all been replaced by cameras..." :-)