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AZ ?, Padres ? - The Great Unknown

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Record: ??-??. Change on last season: ?

The above is because, at time of writing, I still do not know the score to last night's game. There's a certain Zen-like calm to this approach, knowing there's no point in getting all worked up about the outcome. It's there, waiting for me to look at it, and I'll get round to it shortly. Instead of the game last night, we went to dinner, came home, watched a very good Japanese horror film (Booth, about a talk radio host who finds his callers suddenly seem to know all his dirty little secrets), and then Serenity, which was a good TV movie, but less successful as a cinematic one.

I felt almost blasphemous, ignoring the Diamondbacks so completely. It's one thing to have something specific, which means you can't follow the game, but simply to spurn the team? Admittedly, it was hard. The temptation to flick the game on after dinner was tough, and there was also a strong urge "just to see the final score" before going to bed - we all know where that would have led (to approximately two hours of review, analysis and blogging sarcasm).

But I held on, so all I currently know about the game, is that there were 94 comments in the Gameday Thread, another season high - from previous experience, this suggests it was probably closer than expected. Blowouts, in either direction, tend to lead to silence, because there's not really much to say - see Grace and Brennaman's mindless twitterings in such cases, for an example. It is, admittedly, their job to fill the air: here, we get on with our lives, and leave the lack of discussion as a silent testimonial to the one-sided nature of the contest. The extra-inning win that opened the series mustered 86 comments, so we may be talking something similar.

There will now be a brief pause, while I start pulling back the curtain from the game. We'll begin this process in the traditional way, with...

Your daily dose of yummy Fangraphs goodness
[Click pic to see full version in new window]
Today: Filling in the blanks

This, by itself, doesn't tell me all that much, though it has to be said, "Bloody hell - we won!" was pretty much my first reaction. It does mean we can fill in the following:
Record: 22-17. Change on last season: -1
And also tells me that we wake up this morning, top of the National League West. This is, already, more than I anticipated. Looks like Counsell led off with a triple but, somehow, we failed to bring him home. Scoreless through two. A double-play by Cameron kept the Padres off the board in the third, and a Tracy double gave us the lead in the bottom half of that inning. From there, we were ahead all the way, though Giles' home-run looks to have made things interesting for a bit in the sixth.

We move onto the box-score, and after seeing it was 5-2 Arizona (not as close as I thought), immediately notice this key element:
O. Hernandez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Now, given he only threw 34 pitches, it seems likely that there was some kind of issue. Either that, or the new method of use involves him being a reliever in all but name. Another heroic performance from Grimsley (three shutout innings), and the bullpen as a whole was solid, allowing just Giles' 2-run homer in seven innings. Interesting to see Medders getting the seventh-inning setup job, rather than Vizcaino. Wonder if there was any reason for that?

13 hits all told for Arizona, as we beat Peavy for the second time this season. Byrnes had three of them, Counsell, Tracy, Shawn Green and Hudson two apiece. Both the Gonzo and Hudson Watches remain intact. Tony Clark did get into the game, as a late-innings defensive replacement, part of a double-switch that involved Conor Jackson. In his only at bat, he walked. And we turned three more double-plays, to keep us top of the majors in such things.

The final step is to check the game reports, and I'm definitely looking for more information on that early departure by El Ma?ati Pequeno. Ah, here we are: "Starter Orlando Hernandez left the game in the third with a mid-back strain. He also may have injured his right knee." I refer you to the picture accompanying yesterday's Gameday Thread, for the best method of dealing with this situation. It'd probably be kinder, in the long run. [Well, for us, anyway]

Other highlights: Cameron's double-play was with the bases loaded and only one out in the third, so was crucial. And Tracy also hit a 445-foot home-run in the fifth, off the foul pole [which actually counts as fair, despite its name] going back-to-back after Eric Byrnes had given us a 2-0 lead. Oddly, 1B umpire John Hirschbeck was also forced out of the game in the third inning with back spasms, the rest of the game we were an umpire short. Anyone notice which base was unmanned? I'm guessing probably third, but am curious to know.

Equally enlightening are the comments, so many thanks to everyone who posted in my absence: VIII, azdb7, Ben, William K, npineda, Spencer, Devin, azshadowwalker and an anonymous, apparently slightly-bitter Padres fan (hey, I still appreciate the effort). Of course, you know y'all have to do the same tonight, because it wouldn't do to "jinx" the team, by me actually posting. :-) Impressed we got rid of Peavy, by running his pitch-count to 109 by the fifth. I have no intentions of starting a CoJack RBI Watch (not yet...) but despite azsw's hopes, I suspect there'll be more Peavy in our future. Looks like we had some problems with men in scoring positions, but got enough to take the win.

Interesting nugget, stolen unashamedly from Steve Gilbert on MLB.com: "The D-Backs are 21-0 when leading after eight innings, 21-1 when leading after seven and 19-2 when they're ahead after six." Just goes to show the power of the bullpen. And Ortiz's first start in Tucson went, ah, what's the word? I can't think of it, in connection with an Ortiz start... Oh, yes: "well". Two hits over four innings, with one earned run and no walks. Nippert followed him, and if El Duque is toast, might be the replacement guy. Guess we'll know more when Hernandez has been examined today by the doctor. Or the vet. :-)