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AZ 1, Dodgers 4 - While Our Offense Gently Sleeps...

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Record: 46-47. Change on last season: +2

Aggression. Passion. Intensity. Commitment. These are all words. Some of them quite long. And that might explain why, it would seem, most of them were also absent from the Diamondbacks' lexicon - at least, judging by our performance at Chase Field last night, as we sank back into fourth place in the ever-changing world of the NL West. This time, everyone else in the division won bar Arizona, so the ground we caught up Monday night, evaporated like a puddle of split beer on your backyard barbecue.

We managed our usual charitable task, of making previously indifferent pitchers look like Cy Young nominees. While, as William K pointed out, Chad Billingsley was highly touted in the Dodgers' farm system - one of the best in baseball - his performances since coming up were nowhere near that level. Enter the D'backs, and it started off well enough, with DaVanon and Byrnes both singling. However, LuGon lined out, and DaVanon was caught stealing third. After that, we only had one player reach third until two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

That was when we scored our lone run, Hudson knocking in Tracy with his second hit of the night. However, O-Dawg also badly botched a play that led to the Dodgers' fourth run, in the seventh, and it was a fundamentally blah evening, which I am entirely glad to have missed. There was no shortage of the four words starting this entry, at the IZW show, and my brushage against the baseball was largely limited to seeing Estrada ground into a double [his hitting streak ended at eleven games], and seeing Shawn Green make the second out of the ninth.

A particularly telling comment on Billingsley in the report: "[Eric Byrnes said] "He was throwing a slider tonight more than he's ever featured. He was throwing that for strikes and that made him tough." Billingsley would later say that it wasn't a slider, but rather a cut fastball that he used more than he had before." If our veteran center-fielder can't tell, what hope for anyone? In stark contrast to his previous wildness, we coaxed just two walks from Billingsley over seven shutout innings. Arizona now moves on, its job of rehabilitation there, over...

Meanwhile, Cruz got through only five innings again, allowing six hits, three walks and three earned runs - it was the walks that hurt, as two came around to score. He posted zeroes through the first three innings, but gave up one in the fourth and two in the fifth, before being pulled. Tony Pena then made his major-league debut, and should have had two scoreless innings, if not for Hudson's grounder gaffe, about which the Republic wrote: "Second baseman Orlando Hudson took a couple of steps toward the hole before realizing the ball was hit directly where he had been standing. There was no bad hop, no deflection, no strange spin. It was just a mistake... "I had no clue where it was," said Hudson, who said he lost sight of the ball because of a fan's white shirt." Which is, at least, original.

Choate got the final out, and Aquino delivered two scoreless innings. Which was nice, I guess, since I'm casting around for any crumbs of comfort to take from the evening. One kinda cute note was, Cruz left with the following line on the play-by-play: "Drew caught stealing, catcher Estrada to shortstop Drew, Drew out." That's Stephen applying the tag on brother J.D, in case you'd forgotten; and the very next at-bat could then also have been written "Drew singled to Drew", since Stephen put one through to J.D. in right.

Was also impressed by Eric Byrnes' forward flip as he threw home, unsuccessfully, to try and stop a sac. fly. For any other player that'd be grandstanding (one of our wrestlers does the same, after he hurls his opponent into the corner), but I suspect that was just Eric being Eric. He had a fine catch in the eighth, though his hair in the dugout subsequently was...flails for an appropriate word... interesting, in a "Warning - 30,000 Volts" kinda way. [Memo to self: get haircut] Speaking of head-gear, after losing his yesterday, Dodgers' third-base coach Mariano Duncan delivered the lineup to the umpires with his cap tied to his head.

Outside of Byrnes, enthusiasm seemed thin; we've had almost as many comments in the GameDay Thread, discussing whether Russ Ortiz has any future, as concerning the actual game itself. Still, thanks to trevjohnson, Keith, flyingdutchman, andrewinnewyork, Spencer, William K, kylerkenney and johngordonma for their contributions. I plan to be around and commenting tonight, especially as I imagine comments tomorrow will be slim. That is my 4th wedding anniversary [what's that one: 50/50 polyester-cotton mix?]; I might get to view the game, but only snuggling with Mrs. SnakePit on the couch. Popping up to blog every half-inning = less likely. :-)

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