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AZ 8, Dodgers 0 - And a hearty "Well done," all round

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

Better. Much better. This series has been like a 1/30 scale model of the season in general, with the Diamondbacks swinging from ruthlessly efficient to woefully inadequate, and then back again - only within the space of three days, rather than three months. But last night might make it into the end of season awards for Best Diamondbacks Performance of 2006. We slapped around the Dodgers' co-ace, who beat us two weeks ago, Batista pitched a complete game shutout, and Stephen Drew had the breakout game we've all been waiting for, rapping out two doubles and a triple.

This one was kept scoreless through the front three and a half innings, both teams benefiting from the double-play ball: with Lowe pitching for Los Angeles, this was almost an inevitable occurrence. However, we finally started hitting the other way in the bottom of the fourth. Tracy, batting in the #2 spot, got on base and came home on another one of Gonzo's patent doubles [now 3rd in the NL this year, with thirty - one-third of all his hits]. Estrada then singled home LuGon, and after he should have been walked, failing to get the call on a 3-0 pitch well below the zone, Green smacked a pitch 443 ft. into the picnic area for a 4-0 lead, and Arizona didn't look back.

Batista was in command the entire night - not a single Dodger reached third base. He only fanned two, continuing the streak of low-strikeout appearances noted in the Gameday thread, but only walked two as well, in completing the six-hitter. That's his third complete game of the season, which is already a career high, and his second of the month. It was just the fourth shutout of Miggy's career, and the second in a D'backs uniform: the other occasion was almost exactly three years ago to the day, on July 18, 2003, when he pitched a five-hitter against the Padres in Qualcomm.

As well as Green, Hudson matched him with another two-run homer, this one off Broxton in the eighth - that was the ninth of the season for both men. Estrada, Green and Byrnes all had two hits, while Gonzalez and Drew [the past and the future faces of the franchise, if you like] each had three knock nights. The latter was particularly gratifying, after Drew had done 2-for-16 since being called up: not that I was worried you know...but concerned might be acceptable. As William K suggested, if he keeps hitting like that, he won't be hitting #8 in the order for long.

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Today: Who will buy my Miggy Batista?

I'm definitely happier to have been watching this one than Tuesday night's phoned-in performance. Thanks to npineda, William K, trevjohnson, VIII, TheMainMan and wimb for their contributions. The victory puts us in a great position, with Webb pitching tonight, to take the series 3-1, and carry some momentum forward for the Rockies, who are rapidly imploding out of the division race. Here's how Baseball Prospectus rates the post-season odds of the NL West teams [they add up to more than 100% because of the wild card, obviously]:

  1. Padres: 53.2%
  2. Dodgers: 27.9%
  3. Giants: 24.4%
  4. Diamondbacks: 20.9%
  5. Rockies: 14.2%

I think the fact we're back in fourth is largely due to the tough schedule that awaits us down the line. However, we only have one series (SF, Aug 7-9) in the next four weeks against a team currently above .500, so we should take advantage of that before things swing the other way. More imminently, with the Padres facing the Giants in a four game series this weekend, the ideal scenario would be for SF to take three from SD, while we win behind Webb, then sweep the Rockies. That would result in virtually a three way tie: Padres 51-47, AZ 51-47, Giants 51-48.

And on to the various rumours:

  • Sports Illustrated: "Diamondbacks fans must be salivating at the rumors that the Yankees are interested in acquiring Shawn Green. He'd have to waive his limited no-trade clause, and whoever picks him up will be on the hook for at least $11.5 million of salary through next season. And that's not even counting the expense of buying a time machine to go back to 2002 when Green was still kind of good. [Memo to SI: Green's .309 BA is actually 5th best among all qualifying major-league right-fielders this year, and even his OPS is still in the top ten.] However, some team looking for an outfield power bat always bites on this kind of guy, and this year probably will be no exception."

  • But the East Valley Tribune says: "The New York Yankees have shown off-and-on interest in acquiring Diamondbacks right fielder Shawn Green, according to industry sources, although at this point a deal seems highly improbable... Yankees owner George Steinbrenner appears to have more interest in Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu." Okay, then: what about Detroit, perhaps? The Detroit News says, "If the Yankees end up with Abreu, the Tigers might take a shot at Shawn Green," but at the moment, this appears to be little more than kite-flying.

  • The complete game shutout last night undoubtedly increased Miguel Batista's value, and the Tribune again, says the Mets are sniffing around: The New York Mets have scouted the starts by Miguel Batista and Juan Cruz the last two days amid reports they were looking for more pitching for the stretch run, and the teams have had preliminary conversations about a possible deadline trade... The D-Backs likely would have interest in Mike Pelfrey, the Mets' first-round draft pick in 2005, but it is unknown if the Mets would trade part of their future for a more proven veteran such as Batista, who will become a free agent this winter."

Finally, something that is nothing to do with baseball, but more to do with Arizona life in general. From the Republic:

A Motel 6 had some unlikely guests Wednesday when a customer's luggage included a large alligator, snakes and other wildlife. Police were called about 5:30 p.m. after someone saw a man carry a 6-feet-long alligator into a hotel room at 4130 N. Black Canyon Highway. Several officers entered the room to discover nearly a dozen caged snakes, several desert tortoises, a possum, and spiders. The alligator was lying in a bathroom tub.

The owner, who was not present when police arrived, later provided permits for the animals, Sgt. Mike Gurry said. He said the animals were used as educational tools. "If you're the next person to use that room, I'm sure they'll do a really good job of scrubbing the tub," Phoenix Lt. John Humphrey said.