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Heroes and Zeroes

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Series 21: vs. Mets, at home

Counsell: 6-for-14, .500 OBP, 2 RBI, HR
Webb: 8 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 4 R, 1 ER
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Green: 1-for-13
Valverde: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 ER
Ortiz: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 7 R, 5 ER

Despite the disastrous series, there were some credible performances. Craig Counsell got back to getting on base, took his first walks in a very long time, and hit his first home-run of the season. And, of course, Brandon Webb was his usual heroic self; a botched play in the opening inning was all the help the Mets needed to end his unbeaten streak.

Villains... Where to start? Really, it was mostly the pitching, with an overall team ERA for the series which sat up at a meaty 8.00. But Shawn Green's lacklustre performance is included, as much as a reminder that no-one was innocent, and to ensure the hitters don't think they've been forgotten. Gonzalez [2-for-13] is also worthy of mention, while Hudson and Tracy had a forgettable series with the glove.

It says something that a performance like Greg Aquino [3 hits and four walks in two innings] is not even on the radar - not when four pitchers had more earned runs than innings pitched. So Kevin Jarvis, who allowed six earned runs in 3.1 innings, doesn't qualify for more than an honourary mention. Nor does Miguel Batista [4.1 IP, 7 ER] get more than a sad shake of the head, in passing.

No, the second prize for rankness goes to Papa Grande's awful pair of performances, where the Large Potato was peeled, chopped, boiled and flat-out mashed by the Mets. Jorge Julio looks to have a firm grasp on any upcoming save situations. But worse still was - to no-one's surprise, save his - Russ Ortiz, whose match-up against the Mets turned into the worst drubbing the D'backs have received since...hey, actually, the last time Russ Ortiz faced the Mets. [August 24, 2005: we lost that one 18-4]

Technically, I suppose, both Jarvis and Batista were worse, in that their ERA's were higher than the Huge Manatee's. However, the inevitability of the awfulness, combined with the fact he got paid $250,000 for his appearance, add on to his previously poor record and result in him, once again, being consigned to the bottom of the villain's pile. The question of where he goes from there, is likely something that will be contemplated by the organization over the next few days.

An unwanted first for the Diamondbacks, with the news that Grimsley has become the first player to be suspended for substance abuse, without failing a drug test. It's probably irrelevant, however, considering he's most unlikely ever to play again. Though it might mean, if the D'backs end up having to pay him, that they have to hand over a lot less cash, since the suspension is without pay.

Speaking of which, the papers relating to the D'backs termination of Grimsley were filed on Monday morning. The grounds given by Ken Kendrick? "There are clauses in the contract that allow for us to terminate him without pay. We did so, saying he was mentally unfit to play. We still think he is." However, MLBPA spokesman, Greg Bouris, said "It is a blatant violation of the Basic Agreement." You bring the beers, I'll bring the popcorn: this promises to be a nasty, brutal fight.

Tomorrow, after a break, we take on the Giants and I'll be rooting doubly hard for our boys, against Bazza and the Eight Dwarfs. Luckily, we don't have to face Jason Schmidt in this series: two of the three Giants pitchers have an ERA north of five. Two of three in the series would be a good result, but I simply want to see us turning up, ready to play, and we'll take things from there.