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AZ 3, Dodgers 6 - Can't see the wood for El Duque

Record: 7-10. Change on last season: -2

I'm left to my own devices today. Today is The Big Day of MTV filming, so Mrs. SnakePit and the SnakePitette went off to do that around six this morning. Can't tell you yet what show it's for, but will let you know when it airs. You'll be pleased to hear that I do not appear: burblings about VORP and RISP were probably deemed too terminally unhip for MTV or something. :-) At least until sabermetrics is declared the new rap, anyway, and Wu Tang Clan leader The RZA changes his name to The ERA...

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Today: Swiss Mountain Railway

For the first time this year, I was stuck unable to watch or listen to the game, and had to follow it on Gameday. Especially after the wild excitement of the Giants series, it's a strangely cold, unemotional experience. Watching dots shuffle round the diamond, as other pixels flash on and off to indicate balls and strikes, just doesn't do it for me.

As a result, you find yourself fixating on stuff you wouldn't normally particularly notice. Last night, it was Orlando Hernandez's pitch count, which I tracked with monkish assiduousness through six innings. It looked bad when he took 20 pitches to get through the first frame, then he settled down. With the aid of a couple of quick 1-2-3 innings, he managed to deliver the first quality start by a pitcher not named Webb, since game six of the season.

However, it is hard to tell how "well" Hernandez pitched. Seven hits and no walks with four K's isn't bad, but those numbers could easily fall short of telling the whole story. Certainly, the Dodgers struck first, with remarkable ease, scoring on two singles and a stolen base - they swiped three in total, which is more than I'm comfortable with. We did hit back right away, Shawn Green scoring after a triple, on Hudson's ground out; the Dodgers then took the lead once more, on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Mueller and Loney.

We had a chance, again, to answer immediately - Hernandez, of all people, singled, and ended up on third after Kenny Lofton tried an ill-advised flip, right from the Shawn Green Big Book of Defensive Indifference. El Duque found himself on third with one out, and might have been forgiven for wondering where to go from there. The last - indeed, only - time in his career that he scored a run was back in 1999. However, Byrnes and Tracy lined out, so Hernandez didn't need to visit MapQuest for verification of the best route to home plate.

He was yanked for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, with the score 3-1 - while then scored, Greg Aquino took care of that, allowing four hits and three runs in the eighth. This made it a four-run lead for LA, not quite enough for the D'backs comeback reflex to kick in - we need to be six or seven runs back for that to happen. So all we got was a slight twitch in the ninth, and the tying run making it to the on-deck circle. But six hits isn't very good: we're batting .225 on the road, more than sixty points less than what we managed at Chase.

Maybe it was because I couldn't see or hear the game, but it just felt very "blah". I couldn't get up much enthusiasm for it at all: we were playing catch-up from the first inning, and I never really believe we were genuinely in the hunt. Shawn Green had another two-hit game, but that was it: we fell back into our old habits, fanning nine times while walking only two. About the only plus, was the bullpen needing to pitch just two innings. This'll hopefully give the other members a chance to regroup for the rest of the trip, after averaging more than four innings per night during the home-stand.

Thanks to frienetic, William K, VIII and an Anonymous Hero for their comments on the game. The last-named was actually present, I guess checking in via wireless laptop: if that's the case, I'm not sure if this is the coolest thing I've ever heard, or the nerdiest. Probably both. :-) Seems a bit risky for me, unless your laptop comes with a beer-proof cover - I mean, hotdog relish and delicate electronic equipment don't mix. We also learned Upton's pro debut was none too successful: 0-for-5 with a pair of K's. Send him back down to, ah, high school, that's what I say...

Forbes published their annual Business of Baseball report, where they analyze the finances of the various teams. Much to the disapproval of MLB, of course, who will never admit 25 teams made a profit (and one that didn't was the Yankees, who own a very lucrative cable channel not included in the loss). "It's important that people understand and realize these are not in real in any sense of the word," said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive VP of labor relations. Feel free to give us the real figures, any time, Rob. What's that? No? Ah, so pardon us if we don't believe you.

According to Forbes, Arizona made a $21.8m profit last year, on an income of $145m. This does tie in with Jeff Moorad's statements that we're pretty solid financially: the only fly in the ointment is the high debt-to-value ratio. I'm not sure if that includes the deferred salaries as debt: instinct says it should, but the ways of accountancy are alien to me. The franchise as a whole is valued at $305m, only ten million less than the World Champion White Sox. No surprise who's #1: the Yankees are worth more than a billion dollars. The Marlins, meanwhile, will fund this season's salaries from loose change dropped beneath the cushions of the sofa in George Steinbrenner's office.