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AZ 2, Padres 5 - Happy to help the Padres...

Record: 71-79. Change on last season: +4
Rookies in starting lineup: 2

Another disastrous first inning. Another starting pitcher giving up far too many free passes. Another limited offensive performance. Pretty much the story of the post-May Diamondbacks' season, really. Still, losing to the Padres is not unbearable, since it helped boost them back to the top of the NL West. It's not as if we're losing to someone we hate, like the Giants or Yankees. The defeat leaves us needing to go 6-6 the rest of the way to match last season's tally of 77 wins, which I'd likely class as a small victory.

This one got ugly real early, the Padres scoring four in the first, on a combination of Hernandez 2.0's poor control, and the long-ball he allowed. Two of those runs got aboard on free passes, and when Cameron smacked a pitch deep into center field for a three-run shot, the Padres had all the offense they needed. Minor credit to Hernandez for lasting five innings after that, allowing only a solo shot to Gonzalez. But as icecoldmo put it: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 5 R, 5 ER... That's about what you'd expect from a #5 starter. And we're paying Livan an awful lot more than that, this year and next.

A minor bright-spot followed, as the bullpen, in the shape of Slaten and Julio, threw three perfect innings, striking out four. Slaten has looked real impressive since coming up, allowing one hit and a walk in 4.2 innings - that's a .077 average against. He certainly could have a shot at being the leftie out of the bullpen next year, though word is that his talents go beyond LOOGY-dom. If he's a "SuperLOOGY", capable of throwing a couple of innings, that would be even better, but it's probably too early to say whether major-league pitchers will figure him out. See Tony Pena(rio) for details, who allowed just six hits and one run in his first 10.2 innings, yet has served more than his share of batting practice since.

Another poor night with the lumber. In the past 22 games, we've scored three runs or less in half of them, and are 1-10 in those contests. We actually outhit the Padres, 7-5, but failed to take advantage of the opportunities which presented themselves. The fourth was Exhibit A in our wretchedness; we had four hits, got one run in, still had the bases loaded, and the tying run on base with nobody out. This fabulous chance was squandered, thanks to Quentin striking out, and Snyder hitting into a double play. We got one man past second base the rest of the way, Jackson scoring from first in the fifth, on a double by Snyder. Tracy and Jackson had two hits each, while Counsell drew a couple of walks.

Thanks to those who contributed to the day's double-header of GameDay Thread action, featuring the Sidewinders and the D'backs. That'd be William K, VIII, icecoldmo, suitsmetoATnT and jeremy. While we're still not technically eliminated from the post-season, the defeat lowers our playoff odds, per BP, to about one in 5,700. I noticed that even the TV broadcasters have all but stopped saying things like "put your name down for 2007 season tickets, and you get priority for 2006 playoff seats". Seems like that's a bridge too far, even for them.

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Today: Falling into the Snyder Trench

Somewhat ironic that the Diamondbacks lost 5-2, the same day that the Sidewinders won their final game, of an amazingly successful season, by the same score. They won more games than any other team in the minor-leagues this year, and went 8-1 during the post-season, against the best that Triple-A could offer. It's almost an embarrassment of riches, and one wonders what we're going to do with all those players. I suspect we'll probably see the trigger getting pulled on a trade, which sees a bunch of prospects getting dealt for a #2 pitcher. It's hard to predict who for, and for what, because it will depend on the needs of the team in question. However, I think we have something to offer at almost every position bar starting pitching.

Hairston and Hammock were promoted to the Diamondbacks after the game: Hammock will likely see more playing time, backing up Conor Jackson at first-base. Indeed, it seems likely that he could well be back on the major-league roster next year, according to this article in the Republic. That'll please andrewinnewyork! It says:

Hammock's stock as a utilityman has risen considerably. He can handle both corner outfield positions and play third, second and first, in addition to catching. Hammock has been added to the 40-man roster...and seems to be back in Arizona's plans after knee and shoulder surgeries almost doomed his playing career. "I don't know, but we put him on the roster so you have to think so," manager Bob Melvin said of Hammock possibly vying for a spot on next year's team.

Odd men out would appear to be Hairston and Andy Green, with the outfield spots already more or less sealed up, and Callaspo apparently being groomed for the infield. I'd prefer to see us dump Tony Clark, and go with someone like Green, who offers a little more flexibility as far as position goes. Clark is basically limited to 1B and pinch-hit duty, and his bat this year has been inadequate in both roles. However, this team would seem to be hurting for power as is; not that a 30+ home-run hitter is an essential part of a lineup, but there are situations where smacking the ball into the bleachers is an optimal result (bases loaded, two out, down by four, for example).

Said Melvin, "There is going to be a spot for Scotty, whether it is here or somewhere else, if he continues to swing the bat the way he has. We all know he can hit in the big leagues. It's a matter of being patient and not getting too frustrated with the fact that he hasn't been at the big league level for a consistent period of time." I suspect that spot will not be with the Arizona Diamondbacks; 2007 seems locked up, and it's not inconceivable that Justin Upton will be ready to join the outfield mix by 2008. His best chance would appear to be the "somewhere else" mentioned by Melvin.