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AZ 5, Dodgers 2 - Moving on up

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Record: 48-47. Change on last season: +2

I wanted to get the whole Gonzalez thing out of the way, before moving onto a discussion of last night's game, where the victory moved us above .500 for the first time in a month. And I call "Nostradamus!" on myself: "If we can pry three runs from the Dodgers tonight, that should be enough," I said, and that would indeed have been exactly enough. Webb gaves us eight innings of solid pitching, aided enormously by four double-plays. He seemed almost to be able to generate them at will, when most needed:

  • 2nd inning, 1st and 3rd, no outs - go-ahead run on base
  • 6th inning, man on 1st, one out - tying run at plate
  • 7th inning, 1st and 2nd, no outs
  • 8th inning, 1st and 2nd, one out - tying run at plate

However, all that probably counts as business as usual for Webb, so isn't much of a story: not when we've got Carlos Quentin to talk about, anyway. He became the third Diamondback to hit a home-run in his first major-league game, joining...oh, answer to that one at the end of this paragraph. It was in his third at-bat, when he deposited a hanging curveball 390 feet to left field for his first hit in the bigs. "The guy gave it back," Quentin said after the game. "He didn't want anything. He wrote me a note. I think I'm going to send him maybe a bat or something, and say thank you." [Answer: Travis Lee and Alex Cabrera]

Meanwhile, Stephen Drew added another two hits, so is now batting over .300, and also had his first RBI. However, while his glove was generally good, he did make his first error - I'm sure it was entirely coincidence, that it allowed bro' J.D. to reach base. :-) [Or maybe the sniper behind the grassy bullpen knoll distracted him...] Chad Tracy was dropped to the sixth spot in the order, and responded with a pair of hits, with Hudson and Jackson also getting RBIs. And Julio closed out the ninth inning for the save, after putting the leadoff hitter aboard.

But according to the AP Wire Report, Quentin wasn't the only player to make his debut: "Josh Byrnes led off the first with a single, stole second and scored on Conor Jackson's single to put Arizona ahead 1-0." Jeez, I knew he was talented, but I have a whole new level of respect for the man. No wonder Gonzo was miffed, when he's getting benched to allow the GM a spot in the lineup. :-) Okay, that was, of course, Eric: he has now gone 56 at-bats without striking out, which is the longest active streak in the majors. Good job there, especially in the leadoff spot.

Step one of the four-stage mission, to be atop the NL West by Sunday night, was therefore successfully accomplished. The Giants beat the Padres, so we are now two games behind San Diego, and Baseball Prospectus ranks us third most-likely to make the playoffs, leapfrogging the Dodgers with a 25.0% chance. Thanks to flyingdutchman, William K, VIII, johngordonma, Mister T in AZ, npineda and Devin for their contributions, on a night that was memorable for all the right reasons, for everyone save perhaps Luis Gonzalez.

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Today: Luis who?

Interesting stat in the Republic this morning, kinda tying up with something William K noted in the comments. With the call-up of Quentin, we are now the youngest roster in the NL West, with an average age of 28 years, six months and nine days. We have six players who are 25 or younger; compare that with the Giants and Dodgers, who each have fourteen players thirty or older. That we are managing to turn the lineup over, and bring new players on board, without apparently collapsing the team's results, is very, very encouraging.