Record: 35-33. Change on last season: 0
"Hopefully, like a virus, it will pass. You keep going out there and battling and doing the best you can. Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest."
-- Bob Melvin
I think Melvin might finally have cracked, and it may not be long before he is heard wittering on about "trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket-weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!" And, to be honest, I can't say I blame him. We stretched the run to eleven defeats in twelve games: boy, this does not feel like a team only one game out of first place.
But that's the case, since every team in the NL West lost on Saturday (though the Dodgers did, at least, make it interesting, taking seventeen innings and five hours, before falling to Oakland). This is, however, getting pretty old. Stop me if you've heard this before: we fall to a first-inning deficit, lacklustre hitting then kicks in, and by the time we wake up, the game is effectively over.
I would not be surprised if Jarvis is dumped when it comes time for Cruz to return to the rotation, because his start was simply horrible. He got through five innings, sure - but the Rangers scored in every one. He allowed eight runs, including three in the first, on nine hits and two walks. From there, the bullpen kept things in check well, with Aquino and (a pleasant surprise) Valverde, fanning the Rangers in their innings, round a hit and a walk respectively, while Julio threw a 1-2-3 eighth.
Tracy had two hits, but despite Melvin mixing things up on the scorecard [Andy Green in left! Jackson batting clean-up! Byrnes in the seven-hole!], the top of the order was remarkably ineffective. The top five slots were a combined 2-for-20, though they did at least take four walks, and made Koronka throw 94 pitches in 5.1 innings (almost four per batter, a distinct improvement over what we managed against Millwood yesterday).
The bottom third of the order did rather better: Byrnes, Hudson and Snyder went 5-for-10 with Snyder driving in three runs. That gives him 17 for the year, in only 67 at-bats: he managed just 28 all last season, in 326 at-bats. He's also batting a career-high .269. They helped maked things interesting in the sixth inning, when we scored three times to make it 8-4, with two men on base, but the rally was abruptly snuffed out, and we didn't seriously threaten again.
One momentary delight was that the main victim in the Texas bullpen of our offense was Bryan Corey. He is a former Diamondback who was #10 on the Least Significant D'backs of All-Time list that we did back in January. Here's what we said then, with almost Nostradamus-like precision:
And lo, on June 10th, the Rangers purchased his contract from their AAA affiliate in Oklahoma. He has now pitched 9.2 major-league innings, over eight years, in three different organizations. I imagine he's quite looking forward to 2010...
But overall, I'm finding it difficult to retain much optimism in the face of this streak, during which we've staggered from one crisis to another, like a sailor on shore-leave. Personally, today's defeat provoked little more than a rolling of the eyes, and a "Here we go again...", as I watched the Rangers tee off from the first inning on. It's a salutory lesson on the gulf between a career AAAA pitcher like Jarvis, and the major-leagues. It's almost enough to make you miss Russ Ortiz. Almost.
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Today: Jarvis sucks. Hard
Enthusiasm seems equally muted for everyone else. Ben was the only visitor to lob more than one comment at the Gameday Thread, but thanks also to 4CornersFan, icecoldmo and a visiting Rangers fan, who was enquiring about the logic behind using Jarvis. I think after today's performance, that Diamondbacks management may well wake up in the morning, and wonder "What on earth were we thinking?"
Sunday's preview will be up shortly: as it's a 11:05 am start, I do not anticipate rising in time to post much beforehand. We'll be curled up watching Werewolf Hunter - Legend of Romasanta - despite the title, it'll probably be a good deal less horrifying than our recent performances...