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AZ 7, Padres 0 - Role Reversal

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Record: 10-11. Change on last season: -3

After last night's fine outing, at any moment I'm expecting Claudio Vargas to do something like at the start of Charlie's Angels, tearing off his face to reveal (surprise!) Javier Vazquez. Because the earlier frontrunner in the Javy Memorial Award for Consistent Inconsistency is...Claudio Vargas, with these four frighteningly - and here's a new word to run out the next time you play Scrabble - Vazquezesque performances.

             IP  H  R ER BB  K
Apr 09 @MIL 6.0  2  0  0  1  6
Apr 15 HOU  3.1  8  5  5  1  4
Apr 20 SF   2.2  8  6  6  4  1
Apr 25 @SD  7.0  4  0  0  0  4 

Two shutout starts - both on the road, both 7-0 wins. Two wretched ones - both at Chase Field. Might be a bit of a small sample size, but the difference is so radical as to raise an eyebrow. We'll keep an eye on this. For the record, Claudio's next start should be in San Francisco, but after that he's back in Phoenix, against Cincinnati. Pitching coach Bryan Price thinks it's simpler than that: "He really commanded the low part of the strike zone and he pitched ahead in the count." Adds Steve Gilbert, with an almost-British degree of sarcasm, "So there you have it, mystery solved." This pitching lark is really quite over-rated...

Thanks to William K, johngordonma, azdb7, Devin, stephen and dahlian for keeping things busy here in my absence. Can't say the final scoreline, 7-0, surprised me. That we were not the ones posting the zero? Didn't see that coming: Jake Peavy had basically owned us, five wins and no losses in his previous seven starts against Arizona, with a sub-2.00 ERA. Especially gratifying to hear about Jackson's bases-clearing double: while the logic behind intentionally walking Gonzalez was sound, it was great that Conor turned this around, clearing the bases against someone often mentioned as a Cy Young candidate pre-season. I imagine more respect will be due next time.

Three hits for Counsell, Gonzalez and Jackson; a pair for Hudson and Shawn Green. Though the last named, with the reliability of a Swiss timepiece, failed to get the runs home with men in scoring position. He grounded out in the third, and - worse yet - did so again with men on second and third and nobody out in the sixth. Even when he got a hit with Jackson on second in the seventh, Conor was held at third. Green's splits for the season; usual small sample size caveats apply, but as with Vargas, it's less a split than a chasm. Some hurlers have difficulty pitching out of the stretch, but Green seems to dislike batting out of the stretch:

  • None on: .278/.316/.417 - OPS .732
  • Runners on: .194/.242/.194 - OPS .436
  • RISP: .118/.211/.118 - OPS .328

Your daily dose of yummy Fangraphs goodness
Today: Pour encourager les autres

Some quirky stat fun on a Wednesday. All five teams in the NL West are 5-5 over their last ten games. No team is above .500 both at home and on the road. Only the Giants currently have a winning record against any other division (4-2 vs. the East). But we may actually not be the worst division this year. Overall, our combined record outside the West is 21-23; the East are 18-31 when not playing each other. That's mostly because they've been owned by the Central (5-17), against whom we've gone 7-10.

Today's excerpt from How to Win Friends and Influence People the Russ Ortiz Way: "I realize that I haven't gotten off to the greatest start in the world, but am I the only one in the league? I'm not talking about our team, I'm talking about around the league. Am I the only one? And the answer is no." Yes, Russ, this is technically true. Of the sixty pitchers in the National League who have started four or more games, there are a couple who have an ERA of 6.91 or higher, combined with a WHIP above two, like yours: Perez of the Pirates and Williams from the Reds.

So, you're merely 58th out of 60. Oh, I guess that's alright then. Here: have $250K for the start you're not making this weekend. Never mind the fact that the salaries of the men below you, combined, are less than half what we're paying you for the year. Never mind that it's not just this season: after coming back off the DL last year, you posted an ERA in eight starts of 9.00. $8m per year gets you a lot of donuts, and magnifies expectations accordingly. If you were a #5 starter, earning a #5 salary, a certain level of suckiness would be expected. I'm sure the D'backs would appreciate a refund check, any time.

So, work out whatever issues you may have in the bullpen. If the team asks you to go on the DL so you can have a lengthy rehab down in Tucson, do it. You're still getting paid, so what do you care? You will certainly be better-liked and respected for it by the fans, than by pulling pissy, prima-donna nonsense like, "I'm not happy with the situation. I'm not happy having to go through this." Neither are we, Russ - neither are we...