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Into the teeth of Ernesto...

Off-day for Arizona, which should have meant I had plenty of time to catch up with all the other stuff that I need to do. S'funny how it doesn't quite work out like that...but then, it never does! Couple of interesting things to point out, as the Diamondbacks enjoy their time in Washington. The Tribune reports that catcher Miguel Montero, infielder Andy Green and pitcher Greg Aquino will join the D-Backs when rosters expand Friday. Green and Aquino have been on rehab assignments following DL stints, but it will be our first look at Montero - a good performance could set the table for him and Snyder to be the mainstays behind the plate next season, with Estrada being traded. The report also says that Doug Slaten or Choate could also be added: Choate isn't on the 40-man roster, but we do have two spots free. [He'd be removed before the Rule V draft though, to protect a prospect instead]

Another interesting element from that story is worth quoting at length:

Juan Cruz was taken out of the starting rotation three weeks ago because of concerns about his right shoulder, Melvin revealed Wednesday, a day after Melvin and pitching coach and Bryan Price went to the mound to check on Cruz after a 2-1 pitch to his first batter. "One of the reasons I did put him in the bullpen was because he was suffering, not some pain, but getting into a tired arm type of area," Melvin said. "The longer we were running him out there, we felt that was going to crop up at some point."

"I didn't feel too good yesterday, that's all," said Cruz, adding he did not believe his shoulder should have been a rotation issue. Melvin said winter ball or a winter strengthening program "may be something we look at in the offseason." "I may play winter ball, but I don't need the innings," said Cruz, who has 89 2/3.

That would certainly explain why Cruz - whose numbers were largely superior - was yanked from the rotation rather than Claudio Vargas or Enrique Gonzalez. Given the performances of this trio in August (Vargas ERA: 5.51; E.Gonzalez: 6.32; Cruz: 2.84), it seems likely we will be aiming to have Cruz back in the starting rotation for 2007.

And in a somewhat surprising move, we traded Kevin Jarvis to the Boston Red Sox, "in exchange for a player-to-be-named or cash considerations." Given his 11.91 ERA for the Diamondbacks this year, and overall career figure north of six, I wonder if it might be a poker player-to-be-named later, rather than anyone with any actual baseball skills. Though, in Jarvis's defence, his 3.44 ERA for Tucson suggests he was much more serviceable facing minor-league hitters. [The previous sentence may also be found in the dictionary, as part of the definition for "Damned, with faint praise"] I'm trying to remember why we signed Jarvis to start with...

David Wells was indeed traded, however, it turned out to be to the Padres. A little bit odd, given their pitching hasn't been much of an issue this year, despite the shakiness of Peavy. It's no secret they were looking to upgrade at third-base, but I guess they decided that preventing the opposition from scoring runs would work as well as scoring more themselves. Much is being made of David Wells' great post-season record, but I'm unconvinced this is much of a predictor as far as future success goes. Anyone remember Randy Johnson's post-season record before the 2001 campaign? Try 2-6 with a mediocre ERA of 3.74.

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 42: vs Padres, at home

Byrnes: 5-for-13, 4 RBI
Hudson: 4-for-11
Webb: 2 RBI
-----------------------------
Estrada: 2-for-12
Counsell: 1-for-9
L.Gonzalez: 1-for-12

Welcome to a special, all-hitter edition of Heroes and Zeroes. No particular reason, beyond no pitcher standing out as worthy of attention. Webb was our best starter, allowing three runs over 7.1 innings, but he qualifies as much for driving in both the tying and go-ahead runs in the second, with only the third extra-base hit of his career (in 236 at-bats). Hudson continues his furious pace of offense, as noted in previous posts, while Byrnes' position is almost entirely based on the opening game - after that, he was 1-for-8 with five K's in the cleanup spot. One minor point worthy of praise: we've put together a five-game errorless streak. Modest, but better than nothing.

At the other end of the spectrum, Estrada had a poor series, leaving eight men on base, but did hit his 11th HR of the year. Otherwise, after a promising start, our offense was conspicuous by its absence over the last two games. We hit .185 (12-for-65), with a K:BB ratio for us of 17:1. Counsell came back to the lineup, and started two games thanks to Drew's sore hand, but did nothing to convince us he should receive any extended playing time. And Luis Gonzalez completed a poor August, in which he batted .237, with a .704 OPS.

It's on to Washington for Arizona, though at the moment, Friday's game might be disrupted by the tail end of Ernesto, which is scheduled to sweep through the area tomorrow. If the game got postponed, MLB will probably try and schedule a double-header Saturday or Sunday, but really, I don't think either team would be too upset if it was quietly removed from the schedule.