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AZ 10, Dodgers 8 - The Great Escape

Record: 14-13. Change on last season: -2

What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the going gets tough . . . the tough get going. Who's with me? Let's Go! Come on! AAAAEEEEEGGGHHHH!!
    -- Animal House

Now, that's what I call an evening. Mrs. Snakepit made her famous chicken stir-fry; I then meander through to the living-room, just in time to watch Arizona pull out a franchise-historic comeback; we finish the night with four episodes of 24, back-to-back. And so, the following took place between 6:40pm and 10:15pm...

Your daily dose of yummy Fangraphs goodness
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Today: Best. Game. Ever.

It's interesting to see who on our team made the biggest contribution: obviously, Tracy's slam was pivotal, and he added 23.8% to our victory chances. But overall, it was Counsell at 24.2% who was the day's MVP: not least for the crucial seventh inning single which gave us the lead after the Dodgers had tied it up in the top of the inning. While Green and Byrnes may both have four hits, they were only fourth and fifth in terms of overall impact (16.9% and 14.0%), with Jackson's double to cap the fifth inning more valuable (18.2%).

Still, every member of this team deserves praise for a stubborn refusal to lie down, even when El Duque was far less than regal, letting the Dodgers romp out to a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning, and forcing the Diamondbacks to go to their bullpen early once more. He only managed 3.2 innings - it took him 84 pitches to get that far - allowing nine hits, two walks, and six earned runs. This performance was a mere shadow of his earlier success, with only two strikeouts, and his off-speed stuff was fooling nobody. To be honest, I bailed after two painful innings for the stir-fry, and an early evening of 24 was mooted.

But it was as if Special Agent Jack Bauer took our roster into the locker room in the middle of the inning, shot a couple of minor prospects to get our attention, then screamed "WHERE'S THE OFFENSE?" in the lineup's face for ten minutes. Because all of a sudden, we started hitting like Mike Tyson (in his golden era, not the strip-club brawler seen around Phoenix these days). Let's relive that fifth inning in full, shall we? Heck, I've done this often enough when we've been on the receiving end, so nice to see it from the other side.

  • S.Green homered to right on the first pitch.
  • A.Green bunt single to second.
  • Snyder walked on a full count, A.Green to second.
  • Grimsley grounded into fielder's choice, pitcher Perez to shortstop Furcal, A.Green to third, Snyder out.
  • Counsell singled to left, A.Green scored, Grimsley to second.
  • Byrnes singled to left, Grimsley to third, Counsell to second.
  • Tracy homered to right on a 1-1 count, Grimsley scored, Counsell scored, Byrnes scored.
  • L.Gonzalez walked on a full count.
  • Jackson doubled to center, L.Gonzalez scored.
  • S.Green walked on four pitches.
  • A.Green struck out.
  • Snyder walked on four pitches, Jackson to third, S.Green to second.
  • DaVanon, pinch-hitting for Grimsley, grounded into fielder's choice, pitcher Beimel to second baseman Kent to shortstop Furcal, Snyder out.

Seven runs, off six hits and four walks, on 46 pitches - of the first ten men we sent to the plate, the only out was Grimsley's failed sacrifice. The D'backs have scored more runs in an inning - they've done eight a few times - but I don't think ever in such dramatic circumstances. And while they have come back from six runs behind before (September 15, 1998 vs. SF), it took six innings to do so. Said Melvin - no doubt suppressing a yawn - "We're kind of getting used to it."

Nostradumbass or Nostradamus?

Let's take a look at various predictive statements made over the course of the comments, and see how prophetic - or not - they turned out to be. Mine unless otherwise stated.

  • "I do not look at this line up and think, offensive powerhouse, capable of crushing left-handed pitching". NOSTRADUMBASS In my defense, Perez shut us down very effectively through the first four, facing two hitters over the minimum.

  • "I do not smell 'comeback' tonight." NOSTRADUMBASS 'Nuff said.

  • "Odie Perez is capable of imploding during any start (fingers crossed)." NOSTRADAMUS johngordonma nailed that one pretty well.

  • "Of course, from previous experience, you know we're still going to lose." NOSTRADUMBASS While we did blow the lead, this time we didn't buckle and held on for victory.

  • "I'm not guaranteeing a win here, but I like our chances." NOSTRADAMUS johngordonma comes through again.

  • "Okay, Jim, I'll give you a rundown of 24 -- hope you're talking about last night's show. Chloe finds stuff out on the computer, the Prez looks menacing, Jack gets into quite a pickle, Mike looks thoughtful, as does Karen. Bill smirks. Things are left up in the air by the end of the show. 2:58, 2:59, 3:00." NOSTRADAMUS Predicting something the day after wouldn't usually count, but 4 Corners Fan also accurately described next Monday's episode too. :-)

So, what can I say? I sucked on the ol' prediction front. Thanks also to Ben, IndyDBack, npineda and azdb7 for stopping by, even if the last two quit to watch the Suns game. Which is where I roll my eyes, mutter something snarky about "fair weather fans", and ignore the fact it was largely good fortune that I tuned in for the fifth inning, not the fourth, or I'd have started watching 24 a good two hours earlier.

Byrnes and Shawn Green had four hits apiece - Green set a season high with, ah, two RBI. Counsell had three hits, and while Snyder was hitless, he still reached base safely three times on walks. General kudos to the bullpen for allowing two runs on four hits over 5.1 innings, though could have done without the five walks, and nobody really looked their best [Vizcaino and Valverde phoned in their appearances]. Hopefully Miguel Batista will go at least seven tonight...okay, I'd settle for six.

And, oh my, what's this? Russ Ortiz going to the DL? With a "calf injury". Yeah, right: he choked on a mouthful of veal*. Said Ortiz, "I was trying to extend my running to make sure I was ready and felt something, and that's kind of where we're at right now." Hmm, roughly translated, a friendly doctor writes a sick note. But while a hit to his massive ego, it's probably for the best - he can at least start for Tucson, still get $250K per game, and if he proves there genuinely was a flaw, then we can call him up when Hernandez collapses entirely. Which, going by last night, will probably be about the time Ortiz is eligible to come off the DL.

Finally, remember my suggestion that our Latino players might boycott the game on Monday? Amused to read their brothers in Seattle pranked manager Mike Hargrove by saying they intended to do just that. "There was about 15 seconds where I thought they were on the level. But then Eddie [Guardado] gave it away." Mind you, the way the Mariners have been playing - not least Adrian Beltre, the ringleader in this particular jape - I think Hargrove might want to check out the talent available at the nearest Home Depot.

* That one's courtesy of Oden over at Diamondbacks Bullpen. I accept neither credit, nor blame, for any nasal-expelled coffee injuries suffered as a result.