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AZ 4, Dodgers 10 - And the hits just keep on coming

Record: 40-43. Change on last season -1

If you're going to play badly, then I suppose it's best to get all your awfulness out there in one game, rather than spreading it over an entire series. And, boy, were we pretty woeful. We gave up three runs in the first inning; our starter was gone after three; we left twelve men on base; and made three errors, with at least one, possibly two or three others, being charitably recorded by the home scorer as "hits".

In other "highlights", we also turned Garciaparra into a human pi?ata, making him the first NL batter in more than six years to be hit by pitches three times in a game. His third plunking led to the ejection of both Randy Choate and Bob Melvin; our record is now 0-4 in games where BoMel gets tossed, so he might want to look into, oh, trying to avoid this in future? [Though if we were trying to win games, Counsell would not be batting leadoff, and Gonzo would have been replaced by Quentin, weeks ago. But I digress...]

It started so well, too; Byrnes reached second with one out, and was stranded. Cruz then struck our Lofton, and went to an 0-2 count on Izturis. However, he doubled, Garciapi?ata was hit, and two singles and another double turned up before the next out was recorded. Cruz finally got his opposite number to strike out with the bases loaded, and Arizona came back in the second inning, on RBI hits by Estrada and Hudson: however, that was the end of our productive offense until the eighth.

The Dodgers scored on in the third, before Cruz departed, having been on a scheduled pitch-count of 80. It was a good job Edgar Gonzalez had been shuffled sideways [Valverde getting optioned down to Tucson to make room for Cruz], as his services were then called upon for some long relief. The fourth went quietly - save Nomar being used for his second bit of target practice. No, it was the fifth where things went badly wrong...

The play-by-play describes it as "Ethier doubled to left," but Luis Gonzalez must have cut a very large check to the scorer immediately after the game. Let's just review 10.13 of the official rules, shall we? They have this to say on the topic:

An error shall be charged for each misplay (fumble, muff or wild throw) which prolongs the time at bat of a batter or which prolongs the life of a runner, or which permits a runner to advance one or more bases.

There then follows a long stream of caveats about "ordinary effort", but none of these appear to excuse what was a very run-of-the-mill play, and one which should certainly have been made. By the time the inning eventually ended, the Dodgers had added four more runs. Thanks to the error being reversed, all of them were blamed on EdGon when, in reality, they can all be lined up outside LuGon's locker. Take that, and an 0-for-5 night, with six men left on base, and all the credit he gained for the A's series is today's fish-wrapper.*

Vizcaino got through the sixth, and Choate came in for the seventh. However, more carnage from our defense followed: after a single, Tracy and Counsell made official errors on back-to-back hitters, loading the bases with no outs. Choate then - with the inevitability of a glacier moving down a mountain - hit Nomar again. Even though it was clearly not deliberate [the bases being loaded], both benches had been warned after Jackson was hit in the top of the inning. So pitcher and manager were both ejected. Choate faced four hitters, retired none of them, was charged with two runs but none were earned, keeping his ERA at 0.00. Quite a busy eleven pitches for Randy.

Medders came in to tidy up, getting two K's before some more Dodgers "hitting" - which appears to be LA-speak for infield errors - brought Los Angeles into double figures. Arizona finally showed some signs of life in the last couple of innings, scoring a run in each of the eighth and ninth, but to no real purpose. The bad news is, we used everyone bar Julio in the bullpen to get us through the game after Cruz left. However, only EdGon threw more than 14 pitches, so we should be able to cope on Tuesday, barring another horrendously early exit.

An...interesting selection of comments, which finally led to my getting to use the "ban" button, after our itinerant Giants fan flew off the handle. The Bay Area is that way. unnamedDBacksfan, flyingdutchman, William K, Devin and icecoldmo were the voices of sanity - or, at least, sobriety - in the thread. The first-named's comment, "I see a night of comedy central on the game thread tonight..." perhaps came true - but I don't think he was expecting the humour to be found in the D'backs glovework.

* [I thought this was a quaint British turn of phrase, which would require detailed explanation for Yankee readers. But a Google search seems to suggest it's known on this side of the pond as well. But an explanation is still available on request, should anyone care. ;-)]

[Late-afternoon update]

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Today: In which we suck, and move on