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AZ 2, Angels 8 - A Walk in the Field

Record: 36-38. Change on last season: -1

As William K noted, at least we outhit the opposition this time, ten to nine. After a game like this, you are simply left to try and extract comfort where you can, because right from the top of the first inning, it was painfully obvious that this wasn't Arizona's night. Starter Enrique Gonzalez - who came in with just six walks in 25 innings of work - walked four Angels hitters in the first frame, including two with the bases loaded.

We were three runs down before coming to bat, and have now been outscored 27-4 in the first innings of games since June 5th. Diamondback fandom, collectively, slumped in their seats and pulled their caps down over their eyes, knowing instinctively what was going to unfold. "Oh, no - not again," we thought, like a bowl of petunias crashing to earth alongside a very surprised sperm whale. And that's pretty much what came to pass: variations on a theme called "Defeat", as played by your 2006 Arizona Diamondbacks. Once more, with feeling.

We had our chances; we had one or more hit in every inning bar the first, and averaged a walk per frame from Santana too. But we left 12 men on base, hit into two double plays in the first three innings, and by that stage, we were 5-0 down. Even after we loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and Santana then walked Jackson in, putting the tying run on base, Shawn Green popped the ball up, hacking at a 2-0 pitch when Santana was at his wildest, and the chance went begging.

After his hideous first inning, EnGon settled down a bit, though only lasted four frames - largely because it took him more than 40 pitches to get through the opener. He allowed five hits, in addition to the four first-inning walks, but two of those were home runs. [They included a shot up to Friday's Front Row patio by Mike Napoli, measured at approximately 470 feet, the third-longest in ballpark history.] Greg Aquino relieved EnGon, and Vlad Guerrero greeted him with a homer to left too, but he pitched the rest of the fifth and sixth without further incident.

Valverde's return to form hit a nasty bump, with three runs scoring on two hits and two walks during the seventh, before Medders and Choate posted zeroes thereafter. Poor Choate can't get work even when left in for a whole inning: it only took him eight pitches to get through the ninth. In the past ten days, he's appeared in seven games, but has yet to throw more than fifteen pitches in any of them.

The offense only scored two runs, on a solo homer by Tracy, and the aforementioned based-loaded walk to Jackson. Conor did, at least, reach safely four times, on two hits and two free passes - that's his first multi-walk game since April 8. Gonzalez and Estrada also had two hits apiece, while DaVanon drew two more walks, and improved his OBP lead over Counsell to forty points.

At the moment, it seems that we can't even buy a win, and we now find ourselves behind the 2005 pace for the first time since May 23rd. Thanks to Devin, IndyDback and William K for showing up - which is really much more than the Diamondbacks did for the first game in the homestand. Though nobody even noticed that I'd left the Tampa Bay logo up for the gameday thread... It's fixed now. :-)

[Morning update]

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Today: Snakes Talk, Angels Walk