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AZ 2, Giants 10 - Bonds-age and (Poor Plate) Discipline

Record: 11-12. Change on last season: -3

That'll leave a mark. Following a series in San Diego, where our pitching was as good as could possibly be hoped, today was a cold, hard reality check. There was no heroic, almost successful comeback; no decent hitting; no bullpen resistance. This was a weak performance from just about every area of the team.

Miguel Batista eased his way through the first 2.1 innings facing one batter over the minimum, and holding a two-run lead. Then he fell apart. We should probably have known the apocalypse was coming, when he allowed a hit to the opposing pitcher, Jason Schmidt. A walk and a hit batter around an out loaded them up for Bonds, who didn't knock the ball out of there, but did enough to clear the bases and give the Giants a lead they never surrendered, only piled more onto. The impact of that hit can clearly be seen below:

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Today: The Bonds Effect

The Giants added a fourth run before that inning was finished, then tacked two more on in the fifth, and another in the sixth off Grimsley. Medders escaped with the bases loaded in the seventh, but in the eighth, after Bonds had been pulled for a pinch-runner, Alou smacked a three-run shot off Aquino. Eighteen hits in all - remarkably, those two by Alou and Bonds were the only ones for extra bases, the other sixteen were all singles.

Batista allowed six runs on ten hits and two walks. This outing continued a disturbing trend down in length: since his first start went seven frames, he has gone 5.2, 5, 5, and this time only 4.1 innings. With Cruz making his first major-league start in three years tomorrow, the bullpen could have done with a bit less work tonight, but Grimsley, Medders and Aquino seem to be the "B-list" of relievers. If Cruz goes early, Ortiz will probably be sent in to mop up.

On the other hand, we did push Schmidt early on, racking his pitch count up to near seventy after only three innings. The damage all came in the second. Estrada got us on the board with an RBI single, and after Hudson walked, Batista helped with an RBI groundout. But we made things very easy for Schmidt subsequent to the fourth inning: he took just a total of twenty-four pitches to get through the fifth, sixth, and seventh frames, combined.

That was definitely not the hoped-for gameplan, and the top of the order did especially poorly. Counsell and Davanon, between them, saw just 18 pitches from Schmidt in six at-bats, and went 0-for-6 with 3 strikeouts. Tracy went 0-for-4, and has one hit in twenty at-bats, since that four-hit game against the Dodgers. Not quite what you want when is saying, Tracy eyes first All-Star appearance.

Green had a hit - naturally, not with runners in scoring position. Please direct your eyes to the sidebar, just below our list of SportsBlogs kin. We introduce a new feature, to monitor the production - or lack thereof - we're getting from right field. Shawn Green has managed the striking feat of 55 at-bats and 17 hits, without driving in a single run. You think such a feat would have happened, purely by chance, but Mr. Green has remained resolute in his refusal to advance the scoreboard while at the plate, since homering against the Rockies on April 11th.

Ten pitchers, including Brandon Webb, currently match or beat Green's total of two RBIs. Hell, Bronson Arroyo has as many home runs as Green has RBIs. Shawn has fewer extra-base hits than 220 other players in the majors this year, including such feared power threats as David Eckstein, Juan Pierre and - most embarrassingly of all - Royce Clayton. We'll keep this feature alive until Green passes his replacement, Carlos Quentin, in the RBI stakes. I wouldn't hold my breath for that.

Thanks to VIII and azdb7 for their input - though nobody exactly hung around long for this one. Can't blame them: I sidled off to lunch, and didn't really pay much attention after that, beyond a quick flip to the scoreboard every fifteen minutes, just in case the Giants bullpen was doing its patented Hindenburg impression again. But they even escaped that fate, so we'll write this one off, and look forward to better things later today, in Cruz's first outing as a Diamondbacks starter. Hopefully, anyway.