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AZ 4, Dodgers 5 - Thrown Away

Record: 40-45. Change on last season: -1

On the evidence thus far, I think we'd probably be better off with Orlando Bloom at second-base, not Orlando Hudson. His latest error, which turned an inning-ending double-play into two unearned runs, handed the Dodgers another early lead last night. And while Arizona came back to make it a one-run game - magnifying the impact of O-Dawg's howler - we still lost, and were swept out of Los Angeles. "I just threw it away," Hudson snapped. "They ended up getting three runs because of it and we ended up losing by one run. I lost the game. It was my fault, so I'll take that L."

Actually, Vargas did, and that's fair enough too since - for the third game this series - our starter didn't get past the fourth inning, throwing 88 pitches, and allowing seven hits and three walks. That's bad enough without your alleged "Gold Glover" [can someone please check the records - I'm beginning to think Hudson simply padded his resume] airmailing a twenty-foot throw, ten feet wide. Credit to the much-taxed relievers for managing to pull four shutout innings out of their, ah, bullpen.

At least our offense didn't give us any false hope, y'know by taking the lead. No, sirree: they didn't show up until we were five runs down, like a drunk who got lost on the way to the pub. True, from that point on, they outscored the Dodgers 4-0, and we got the scoring run to second-base in the ninth inning, after a two-run single by Chad Tracy, with the bases loaded. We almost got to LA closer Saito, but Jackson struck out to end it. Tracy, Byrnes and Jackson all had two hits apiece - the latter pair also had a walk apiece - and Hudson fractionally redeemed himself with a home-run in the fifth. But it was too little offense, too late; or too little defense, too early, I guess.

Sadly, the anticipated brawl never came to pass. And I'd made popcorn, too. Even when Luis Gonzalez was nicked by a pitch from Danys Baez, whom he'd called "gutless" less than 24 hours before, all Gonzo did was look over a couple of times as he trotted down towards first-base. I'm sorry, Hard Stares don't quite satisfy the blood-lust in me: knew I should have told Gonzo I heard Baez talking smack about Luis's mother in a bar. Frankly, I saw more aggression last night on the Disney Channel Original Movie, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. I wonder if Wendy can play left-field? [Or, to be honest, on our ep of Room Raiders. :-)]

Thanks to Keith, William K, highandtight, LAT, Ben, Devin, kylerkenney and TheMainMan for stopping in, on what I suppose you could say was a slightly-better D'backs performance. We kept the Dodgers down to single-digits in runs, and were only outhit 11-10. Still, the net result is the same as the two previous blowouts: a loss to a divisional rival. It sends another iceberg scraping down the side of the increasingly-untenable illusion, that the Diamondbacks are serious contenders.

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Today: Hudson sends AZ down the river

We're now 4 1/2 games back of the division-leading trifecta of Dodger, Padres and...I'm finding it difficult to write this...Rockies, whom we face over the weekend in Coors. As William K noted in the comments, anything less that a series win, and we'll be sharply inclined to a swift fire sale of our own before the trade deadline. Underachieving infielders! Veteran presences! Everything Must Go! And, on the whole, that would not be an unappealing prospect.

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 27: vs Dodgers, on road

Byrnes: 6-for-14
Aquino: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 ER
-----------------------------
Cruz: 3 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 4 ER
L.Gonzalez: 1-for-12
En.Gonzalez: 4 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 7 ER

Could probably slap all three of our starters in there, but Vargas just dodges the bullet, thanks largely to Hudson's fielding foul-up. O-Dawg, too, was a contender, though did perform decently with the bat, whatever his performance at second was like. It's Gonzo who splits Cruz and EnGon, thanks to a feeble performance with the bat, and also for showing that he was all mouth and no trousers. Calling someone "gutless" is one thing, but when he then tags you the very next game, you barely can be bothered to look at him? If you talk the talk, you'd better be prepared to walk the walk; either quit yakking or start whacking. And other cliches.

Not much brightness to be found in a series sweep, though Aquino did post some solid innings out of the bullpen - Brandon Lyon also had a pair of zeroes. Byrnes was about the only hitter who seemed to be trying very hard, though his "hustle" wasn't necessarily a good thing (witness his wild dive in the outfield, that probably ended up costing his team bases). Tracy had a decent series, and you do get the sense that he actually cares, something notably absent from certain other players.

Curious sidenote on mlb.com: "Union leader Donald Fehr was in attendance on Wednesday night and met with Arizona players Tony Clark, Damion Easley and Craig Counsell -- who are members of the union's executive council -- before having a private chat with Gonzalez." Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what that might all be about? Hangover from the Ken Kendrick PR gaffe? Or is Gonzalez exploring his options for the months to come?

Nice to have the day off today. We're heading over to the Painted Heart Gallery in downtown Phoenix for a charity screening of Trees - a spoof on Jaws, with a Giant White Pine replacing the Giant White Shark. Be hanging out with the Brain Damage Films and Syn Devil, with whom we went to Burbank, and the Painted Heart sells Stella Artois, so I'll be very, very happy. :-) And, hey, the D'backs won't lose today! Can't get much better than that.

Finally, I have to share this story with you, from Rich Marazzi's The Rules and Lore of Baseball, via Mike's Baseball Rants:

It is now illegal for the coach to assist a runner anytime, whether a play is being made on him or not. However, if a runner assists another runner, it is perfectly legal.

Because of this rule interpretation, a dead man once scored a run in a game played in New Jersey many years ago between the University of St. Joseph and the Chatham Stars. According to Baseball Magazine, "Chatham was leading 2-0 and two were out in the bottom of the ninth when O'Hara, a weak hitter, doubled to left. He was followed by Robidoux, "a scrappy young Arcadian," who hit a long ball over the center fielder's head.

As O'Hara reached third base, he collapsed and died. Robidoux, rounding third, picked O'Hara up and carried him down the base line, touching home plate first with O'Hara and then stepping on the plate himself. The game was tied, 2-2.