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Pluto no more...

No update yesterday: I was mourning the loss as a planet of Arizona's own Pluto. Though, to be honest, I was hoping they added a few more, including the one named, I kid you not, "Xena". I can just imagine that one swinging feistily out of orbit, and rampaging through the inner solar system, kicking the ass of larger planets with a merry quip and a mild lesbian subtext. Oh, well, it was not to be, and our solar system now officially numbers eight. That's got to screw up your daily horoscope.

Little to talk about on the Diamondbacks front, as the team returned home from a disappointing road trip, which ended with a sweep at the hands of the Giants and six losses in the past seven games. Cincinnati beat San Francisco tonight though, so we moved back up into third place in the division, albeit losing half-a-game in the wild-card race. Shawn Green made his debut for the Mets, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a K. So, instead, let's take a look at:

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 40: vs Giants, on road

Estrada: 5-for-8, 4 RBI
Hernandez: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 7 K
Valverde: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K
Byrnes: 1-for-12, 2 RBI
Jackson: 1-for-11, 4 K
Pena: 1 IP, 4 H, BB, 4 ER

Not a great series, but there were still some individual performances worthy of note. Estrada carried the offense single-handed, despite his ulcer-induced switch to decaffeinated coffee [I trust it's also the "unleaded" variety...]. Hernandez v2.0 delivered the best start of his short D'backs career, tying his season high for strikeouts with seven innings that didn't deserve an L. And it was good to see Valverde back, looking strong and making the pitches that he needs to. Since his return from Tucson, he has thrown six innings, allowing three hits, two walks, just one earned run, and has fanned seven hitters.

On the downside, as you'd expect in a sweep against you, there's no shortage of candidates. Pena was the most obvious member of the bullpen, with a blow-up of Valverde (June vintage) proportions. Vizcaino and Medders receive honorary mentions, for their double act: Luis gets the runners on, Medders brings them home. Neither Enrique Gonzalez nor Webb exactly covered themselves in glory with their outings, but neither took the loss. Instead, we'll give the other two spots to our offensive offense. Byrnes is having a wretched August (batting .205), but did at least drive in a couple of runs. Jackson is hitting over .300 this month, but has only 2 RBIs to his credit.

Dodgers come to town tomorrow. Should be an interesting series, especially as they just got swept by the Padres, scoring only four runs. If we lose this set, that will basically be it for the season...on the other hand, if we were to sweep Los Angeles... But ERA-wise, the Dodgers have the edge in all three pitching matchups, so I suspect by Sunday night, we'll probably be looking forward to the roster expansion as the most exciting thing left to AZ this year. Go on, Diamondbacks - surprise me! :-)