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AZ 4, Phillies 6 - Post Road-trip Catch-up, Part II

Record: 51-49. Change on last season: +3

I just watched the first episode of the new SciFi Channel "reality" series, Who Wants to be a Superhero?. That's an hour of my life I'll never have back. Worse still, that will probably be an hour I'll never have back for the next few weeks as well. :-) [And we actually recognised someone we know in the auditions!] Anyway. Back in Philadelphia, it's good to know that the Diamondbacks can still draw a crowd, with the biggest attendance in Citizens Bank Park history turning out to see Arizo... What? The crowd of 45,459 were really there for Ryan Howard bobblehead night? Oh.

Frankly, on the evidence of this performance, I can see their point, as once again the Diamondbacks fell behind early, and this time we couldn't dig ourselves out. After Batista's three-run first on Tuesday, we allowed two more on Wednesday, and worse yet, both of these were unearned, thanks to errors by Orlando "I was a Gold Glove winner - honest!" Hudson and Chad Tracy. However, Webb allowed a three-run homer to D'back killer Chase Utley in the second, and it was then a 5-0 deficit. Said Webb, "It didn't seem like I had my best stuff. I wasn't locating very well at all...even with the right-handers on this team."

We did fight back in the third, scoring three runs, but for the second night in a row, Johnny Estrada flunked Baserunning 1.0.1, going too wide round first and getting stuck in no-man's land. And former D'back favourite, David Dellucci homered in the bottom to kill Webb's quality start. An RBI single from Jackson cut the margin to 6-4 in the fifth, but CoJack was nailed at second, trying to make it a double, and that was the end of the scoring for either side, with the two unearned first inning runs, the eventual margin of victory for Philadelphia.

Webb went six innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and three walks, while fanning four. Choate and Aquino pitched scoreless innings, but there was some bad news from the bullpen, where Luis Vizcaino's status remains day-to-day. He hasn't pitched since July 23rd, and has been held out of games after feeling some pain in his right elbow. He reckons he'll be ready to go over the weekend, but I'll believe that when I see it, and will be holding my breath till then. He remains the team leader in appearances with 46, and even with this series off, is on pace for 74, which would be close to a career high (76 in 2002).

Interestingly, though, his 3.79 ERA is actually now worse than average for the current members of the bullpen. It's behind Pe?a (1.59), Choate (2.45), Julio (3.16) and Medders (3.38). Though, especially for the first two, small sample sizes are a significant concern: they're both one flaky outing from an ERA around five. But if they maintain their form thus far - and Pe?a, in particular, seems to have been very impressive (21 hitters faced, four reached base, on three hits and a walks) - then we might have the makings of a solid bullpen. If Julio goes down, my money's on The Man With A Thousand Visas as your 2006 Closer, v3.0. As shoewizard noted in the diaries, maybe we should be looking to sell relief help to a sucker contending team somewhere?

We outhit the Phillies 12-7, but still lost - the first time this year, when we've outhit the opposition by five or more. Byrnes, Jackson, Estrada and Drew all got two hits apiece; Drew fouled a ball off his ankle in his final plate appearance, and as a result was scratched from Thursday's game. Normal service is expected to be resumed Friday though. Word is, Stevie was also getting some flak from the Phillies fans, because brother J.D. failed to sign for the team after they drafted him in 1997. Tough crowd.

Thanks to npineda for posting the GameDay Thread (even if it had to make do for Thursday's game too!), and Ben, flyingdutchman, Wimb, William K and unnamedDBacksfan for their contributions during the game. I think, at the time, we were travelling the Strip in Vegas, where we did see what may have been the best sign of all-time outside Gilley's, the bar at the Frontier. "Mud Wrestling: Cold Beer and Dirty Girls". Sadly, we already had our Phantom of the Opera tickets, or Mrs. SnakePit and I would have been so there. :-)

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Today: The Terrors of Errors

Ok, that's the back of the backlog broken, as it were, so I'm going to scurry off to bed. Final report tomorrow morning, and possibly Heroes and Zeroes, if I get a chance before heading to work. Sigh. Seems like I've never been away...