I am in a fairly good mood. I got my first unemployment check through today - yay, welfare! It's the first time since graduating from college that I've had one, and is frightfully decent of the government. I mean, I'm not even a citizen, though that never stopped them taking taxes from me. S'pose turnabout is fair play. And Mrs. SnakePit and I are off to the Marquee tonight, to see Nitzer Ebb [who despite their uber-Teutonic name, actually come from Essex, England!]. Though "see" might be a bit of a stretch, since we're really there to sell merchandise for The Strand, one of the bands we sponsor, who're supporting them. From what I remember, at the Marquee, that's located outside the main hall, so "hear in an echoey kinda way" may be closer to the truth.
Still, beats watching Bob Melvin make line-up and in-game decisions that are better suited to 2001 than 2007. Yes, as a result, won't be about for tonight's game - a GameDay Thread will be posted before we depart, probably not too far down the road. But first, let's tidy up the leftovers from last night's game, and the series against the Padres.
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Today: Webb undone
Heroes and Zeroes
Series 48: vs Padres, on road
Edgar Gonzalez: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 ER
Jackson: 6-for-13, 2 RBI
Slaten: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 ER
Hudson: 1-for-11, 3 BB, 1 K
Quentin: 0-for-7, 1 BB, 2 K
Hernandez: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 2 K, 5 ER
Starting pitchers bookend the Heroes and Zeroes for this set of games, thanks to EdGon and Hernandez v2.0. Difficult to look at those lines and realise the former may not make the rotation next year, while we'll be paying the latter $7m for his presence. I have a horrible feeling that if we let EdGon go, it will come back and bite us, just as the likes of Patterson, Capuano and, hell, even apparently Brian Bruney have done. When it comes to pitchers, Arizona seems to be like a guy who dumps his sports car because the ashtrays are full; we have no idea at all how to fix them. If they work great (Webb), they're fine, but the first time something goes wrong...
Carlos Quentin is in a bit of a slump, and will likely continue to be, until he learns what to do with breaking balls. The word is spreading that he goes after them, with all the enthusiasm of a dog chasing pigeons, but significantly less discipline. Since that four-hit game against St. Louis, he's 6-for-30, with a K:BB ratio of 6:1. Orlando Hudson's hopes of reaching .300 this year probably took a hit below the waterline, as he's 5-for-27 in the last ten days. But he is taking walks: fourteen so far, a season high, with a week still to go.
Conor Jackson rebounded nicely from his poor series over the weekend, with a good set of games against the Padres. Which is odd, because overall, he hits 41 points higher at Chase than elsewhere (.304/.263). The good news is, after a slump in June (.228), Jackson is finishing strong, batting .312 overall in August and September. He does seem to be walking less, however: he peaked at 15 free passes in June, but only has one more than that in 217 plate appearances since the All-Star break. 18 double-plays is also already good enough for fifth equal on the franchise all-time single season list, and Bautista's record (20 in 2004) is within reach.
Moving on, Bob Melvin still reckons Orlando Hudson is a Gold Glove candidate: "Never mind the errors, look at the chances," is basically what he says. Of course, if you've seen Hudson in action, you'll know part of the reason why he has so many chances is because he goes after every pop-up in the 85001 zip-code. I swear, I'm seen him bulldoze Chad Tracy out of the way, to get to balls over in foul territory by the D'backs dugout. ;-) Okay, slight literary license, but Hudson is smart, knows how the numbers are counted and will apparently shake it like a Polaroid accordingly. Hey, we'd do the same, and hell, you don't see Gonzo declining RBIs when he grounds out with a runner on third, do you?
However, I've just not been convinced that Hudson is the best second-baseman in the league this year. I think there was an obvious spell of adjustment early on, coming from the artificial surface they have in Toronto, and he has improved significantly over the course of the season. But he still seems to make mental mistakes and clank the ball too often, even as he is capable of making highlight-reel plays: the shovel of Roberts' bunt attempt earlier in the Padres' series comes to mind. Should be fun next year though, when we will, quite possibly, have four contenders for Gold Gloves, in Hudson, Drew, Quentin and Young. Might be the best-fielding team in franchise history?
Also a lengthy piece by Nick Piecoro on why we won't be signing any big free-agent arms: "You can pretty much rule out any kind of a run at the elite-level starters". Josh Byrnes points out, "We looked at how many of the top 20 have signed as free agents, and it was only one guy. Most of the high-end pitching, at least this year, has been either traded for or developed." So you can cross that Zito shirt, in Sedona Red, off your Christmas wish-list. The White Sox and Tigers are named as teams who might be looking to shift a #2 starter, and of course, the old Dontrelle Willis idea gets brought up again.