Record 34-23. Change on last season: +4
Brandon Webb set a new franchise record for scoreless innings, adding five shutout frames to take his streak to 30 consecutive donuts. But despite a three-run lead in the sixth, he was unable to hold it - the Phillies scored twice in the sixth, tied the game in the seventh, took the lead in the eighth, and hung on to inflict another one-run defeat on us. The last time we lost a game by more than one run, was all the way back on May 17th, almost three weeks ago.
If there was a key play, it was probably the tying run, which saw Jimmy Rollins score from second on an infield single. A grounder was hit to Hudson, who slipped slightly on the grass, and Jackson had to dig out the throw at first. Utley just beat it out, and Jackson's pause for the call from the umpire gave Rollins the chance to motor round third. By the time Jackson reacted and threw home, it was too late.
Add on an error by Jackson earlier, and it was a miserable game, defensively, for our prospect. However, in the race for Rookie of the Year honours, he is still performing better at first with the glove than his main rival, and fellow first-baseman, Prince Fielder. Fielder currently has four errors and a Range Factor of 8.92; Jackson has only three errors and a Range Factor of 10.15.
Still, as Spencer pointed out in the comments, you won't win many games when the top of your order goes 1-for-15. You have to wonder if perhaps we might have been better off playing Easley and DaVanon, who were red-hot against the Braves, rather than Counsell and Byrnes, who went 0-for-10. The only D'back to have a multi-hit night was J-Strada, who went 4-for-4 with four singles. He is now batting .325 - good enough for third among all major-league catchers with 150+ PA's.
Though Webb had his scoreless streak snapped, he still posted a quality start, with three earned runs over seven innings, on seven hits, and fanned seven, albeit with a season-high three walks - all to Abreu, for some reason. Lyon took the loss for allowing a run in the eighth, but Valverde's return seems closer. Jose was inserted into a one-run situation in the ninth, and was perfect, striking out two Phillies hitters. Next step would appear to be a ninth-inning appearance with the advantage Arizona...
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Today: Time for a new streak
Interesting to note how crucial Clark's eighth-inning appearance turned out to be. Striking out with the bases loaded whacked 19.9% off our chances of winning, almost the same as Counsell's entire 0-for-5 night (20.8%). Thanks to William K, VIII, Spencer and Devin for popping in. It was a disappointing loss, especially coming off such a strong performance in Atlanta. With our ace on the mound, I was certainly expecting the win streak to continue.
However, Webb remains undefeated, and runs his quality start record to 17 in 18 outings since September 2nd last year. Gonzalez hit his 515th double, and is now tied with Hall of Famer Joe Cronin for 34th on the all-time list. Cronin played between 1926 and 1945, mostly for Boston: he was a career .301 hitter with 170 homers, and was second in the 1933 AL MVP voting, to Jimmie Foxx.
The return of the Huge Manatee has been confirmed for Wednesday night, though no announcement yet on what roster move will be made as a result. [Good job it's not done by weight, or we'd have to dump two or three players to make enough space for Ortiz...] His performances down in Tucson has been okay, rather than dominating (22 hits and five walks in 20.2 IP, while fanning 10), but the line is, it was more about him getting his mechanics sorted out. Ortiz still seems in denial:
"It was one thing -- it was basic mechanics that's all. In my mind, it wasn't a big deal. As far as arm-wise, I've felt great this whole time. I never thought I was off track. I thought I could make things better." - mlb.com
We'll see how that goes on Wednesday night. But to turn to happier things, it's Draft Day today, with our first pick already in the bag: Max Scherzer, a pitcher from Missouri. Luke Hochevar - who, it was hoped, might drop to us - was the first man chosen. Longoria and Lincecum, two others potentially targetted by AZ, went at #3 and #10 respectively. See the diary on the right for more coverage of our picks.
Mulholland's role in our bullpen has been, ah, "clarified". "Terry Mulholland might be the only left-hander in the DBacks? bullpen, but he will not be used as a situational substitution against left-handed hitters... "I see him more in a longer role, where he can eat some innings for us," Melvin said." So, basically exactly the same role as Jarvis and Grimsley then: any particular reason we need three long relief men? I think this probably indicates the writing is on the wall for Jarvis, who may well be put on waivers - odds are, though, he'll get through and end up back down in Tucson.