Yet again, off-days prove to be about three times as hectic here as days with actual games. Must be my tendency to look at things and go, "Oh, well: there's no game Monday, I'll have plenty of time to do it then..." Somehow, doesn't quite work out as planned: I'm still not going to get the decks cleared tonight. Still, at least I did get my review of Evil Bong written, so that's nice.
Before I get to the Heroes and Zeroes, a couple of quick bits of news. Tony Clark's season is over, since he's headed for surgery to repair his right labrum in his shoulder. It's been giving him grief all season, and sent him to the DL for a month after the All-Star break. He should be back in time for Spring Training, and we certainly hope he gets better soon. That would cue snarkier bloggers than I, to mutter something cynical, probably connected to his .197 average. Even the most optimistic fans must admit, that two-year contract extension he signed mid-2005 is looking pretty ropey right now.
Clark isn't the only infielder currently limping towards the end of the season, which is why Callaspo got a rapid call-up after Tucson won the PCL. Damion Easley has had cortisone shots in both wrists, where bone spurs may be found, while Stephen Drew has been rested, save one at-bat, since the middle of Friday's game, to give a slightly-strained groin a chance to heal. We probably won't see all that much of him down the stretch.
Fans will probably want to note that the inaugural Bricktown Showdown, pitting the Tucson Sidewinders against the Toledo Mud Hens, Detroit's Triple-A affiliate, in Oklahoma City, is being screened on ESPN2. It starts at 4pm, Arizona time, and Micah Owings will likely be the starter for Tucson, putting his unbeaten record for them on the line one last time. I'm looking forward to seeing that one, and faces both old (Robby Hammock, the PCL Championship Series MVP, and Scott Hairston) and new (Owings, Kenny Perez, Jon Weber). Be my first chance to see what 2007 may bring in the way of upcoming prospects: I might kick off a GameDay thread, if I can find any logos. ;-)
Heroes and Zeroes
Series 47: vs Rockies, at home
Webb: 9 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 1 ER, 10 K
Pena: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 1 K
Batista: 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 3 K
Quentin: 2-for-11, 0 BB, 2 K
Valverde: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 1 K
Jackson: 0-for-10, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 GIDP, 2 E
Penultimate home series of the year: it would be nice if Gonzalez or Counsell had made a surge to the front of the pack, but neither man managed more than three hits [Counsell was probably closer, going 3-for-7 with 2 stolen bases]. Webb's stoic refusal to buckle after a horrible start wins him Hero honours for the eight millionth time this season - or perhaps it just seems that way. A rare appearance for Pena here, but his three scoreless extra innings should have provided ample opportunity for the offense to win it. Batista's loss was largely the victim of poor infield help - though not least his own.
A forgettable series for the rookies. Q, D, J and Y were a combined 6-for-31 with two RBI, one walk and five strikeouts. And that included Drew going 3-for-3 before pinging something in his groin and being reduced to a single pinch-hit appearance the rest of the series. Valverde blew his third save attempt since coming back, the tying run coming home on a wild pitch. Let's hope that's just a small road-bump on his way back.
Jackson, however, had a truly wretched series in every way: he got no hits, grounded into a pair of double plays, extending his team lead there (he has 18, Estrada and Hudson have next most with 15) and made a pair of errors on the same play, to give him 11 on the year. He's got a stab at Shea Hillenbrand's franchise record for first-base - 13 in 2004 - and that's playing a lot less innings (Jackson = 975.2; Hillenbrand = 1113). The good thing is, he seems to be under no illusions, and I suspect he'll be working hard at addressing his weaknesses during the off-season.