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AZ 1, Astros 4 - Lead? Hardly! Oswalt...

Record: 52-51. Change on last season: +3

First things first. Interesting article over at Beyond the Boxscore, where Marc analyzes the defensive play of infielders so far this season. Before I give the link, and discuss the findings for our D'backs, see if you can arrange the following, in order for defensive value, as measured by Runs Above Average. Answer to follow, later in this entry:

  • 1B Conor Jackson
  • 2B Orlando Hudson
  • SS Craig Counsell
  • 3B Chad Tracy

Far better to think about than the walkless, witless performance put up by the Diamondbacks in Houston today. We mustered six baserunners the entire game, and it took Oswalt and Lidge just 110 pitches to mow the Diamondbacks down nine times. Byrnes has two hits in the lead-off spot: Snyder had two hits, both out extra-base knocks, and drove in the only run with a solo homer in the fifth.

This was the first time that the three FutureBacks - Quentin, Drew and Jackson - had all been in the starting lineup together, but it was not an auspicious day for them. Together, they went a combined 1-for-11, with five K's - Jackson notched three of them, while Quentin was the only one to get a hit. He also provided the scariest moment, cartwheeling over after catching a fly-ball. He said:

I was going to catch it standing, but it just went into the lights at the last second and that's never a great feeling. So I tried to adjust my angle on the ball at the last second ,and my knee caught on the ground pretty good -- about half a foot into the ground -- and I was airborne. Everything's fine; I'll see [how it is] tomorrow morning."

About the only pleasant aspect to proceedings was a solid performance from Juan Cruz, who went seven innings, and allowed three earned runs. He gave up five hits and three walks, hit a batter, and struck out eight while throwing 110 pitches - the last two were both season-highs. It's the first time he's gone past 100 pitches, though his walks still remain an area of concern.

Thanks to ASUJon, suitsmetoATnT, icecoldmo and flyingdutchman for their comments, though you would have missed entire Diamondback innings if you'd blinked. flyingdutchman floated the D'backs trading for Zito; but this, like all the other trade rumours seems to have little real backing to it. Remember the frantic swirling around two years ago, when Johnson + Finley trades were ripping about? This year seems like a dead-calm millpond in comparison.

Reports do say that Shawn Green "expects to be traded", but any deal is under a tighter veil of secrecy than the Manhattan project. However, it is worth nothing that it is not impossible that Green could be dealt after Monday. He'd just need to go through waivers - or, indeed, he may already have done so, in the super-secretive world of MLB player contracts. We'll see...

And the answer to the puzzle posed earlier - rank our infielders by their defensive value - is as follows.

  1. SS Craig Counsell: +3.98 (ranked 10th of 30)
  2. 3B Chad Tracy: +3.70 (9/28)
  3. 1B Conor Jackson: +3.38 (13/35)
  4. 2B Orlando Hudson: -4.71 (21/30)

Hmm... One of these is not like the others... Now, I know we've all been disappointed in Hudson's performance with the glove, but this is quite yick-worthy. On the other hand, both Jackson and Tracy have, by this measure at least, acquitted themselves pretty well with the leather this year. The full article can be found here.

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