Final Record: 90-72. Change on last season: +14.
Quote of the day: I missed a couple pitches, but I felt good. It's been a long time since I've thrown that many pitches. I had good location and controlled my pitches. I threw good." -- Yusmeiro Petit
Pretty much as expected. Our B-squad went out there today, and put up a damn good show against a team who had everything to play for, only going down by one run, and leaving the tying run on base in the ninth. Particular credit to the Petit Unit, who went out there and matched zeroes with Jimenez through five, though the Rockies pitcher did it in much more spectacular fashion, striking out nine through the front four, and taking a no-hitter into the sixth, when Callaspo broke it up with a clean single to left. But Petit pitched five scoreless, allowing four hits and a walk, and ends the year with a very credible ERA of 4.58. He's only 23, and will be back next year.
It was the back-end of the bullpen who lost this one, mostly during a three-run eighth inning for Colorado. That started with an error by Hammock (playing first!), and a single then drove off Nippert. Bill the Cat fared no better, and may have sealed his post-season fate by allowing two walks (one intentional), a single and a double, without retiring any of the four batters he faced. War was then wheeled out for his final regular-season outing, inheriting a bases-loaded, no-out situation and demonstrated the true art of relief pitching, retiring the side on eight pitches, without giving up a run.
Drew and Reynolds were the only full-time players in the line-up; you could possibly add Upton, but he left the game in the second after getting hit by a pitch [not serious]. Drew's hot streak came to a grinding halt, as he went 0-for-5, while Clark wore a size three collar, with three K's. Callaspo came in to play left-field, after Upton left, and performed credibly, also enjoying his first multi-hit game since May 27th. Quentin had two hits as well, his first such outing since June. Hard to say either deserve a spot on the post-season roster, though it seems Callaspo may get a spot, if we cut back on pitchers - not enthused by that idea, it has to be said.
And that brings the 2007 regular-season to an end. Ninety wins for Arizona, the least for any league leader in a full season since they went to a 162-game schedule and the lowest winning percentage all time. But, frankly: who cares? We are back in the post-season for the first time in five years, having won the division. Back in March, we had a poll on the number of wins this team would get, and only 15% went for ninety or more, so I think it is true to say that we have surpassed expectations in this area [even if not in individual performances, but I'll get on to comparing those to our Community Projections during the off-season]. Now, however, the sights have been raised - at time of writing, two-thirds of respondents expect us to get to the World Series.
Present in the Gameday Thread were TwinnerA, DbacksSkins, Jim McLennan, unnamedDBacksfan, soco, hotclaws, azdb7, npineda, snakecharmer, Peachy, Stile4aly, Wimb, kylerkenney and Devin. [Thanks to snakecharmer who has written a script to automate the process of taking roll-call!] Particularly interested by the Cubs fan comment copied from another site: "When on the road a Cubs fan must go with obnoxious tactics to mess with the home team." Hmmm. I suppose when your ace pitcher punches the lights out of team-mates he doesn't like, this kind of thing becomes par for the course in certain quarters. It's kinda weird, as the Cubs fans I've encountered are either really great or totally noxious, with little middle ground. Gonna be a real pleasure to beat the latter: D-backs in four. Here's the impending pitching matchups.
- Wednesday: Brandon Webb (18-10, 3.01) vs. Carlos Zambrano (18-13, 3.95)
- Thursday: Doug Davis (13-12, 4.25) vs. Ted Lilly (15-8, 3.86)
- Saturday: Rich Hill (11-8, 3.92) vs. Livan Hernandez (11-11, 4.93)
- Sunday: Jason Marquis (12-9, 4.43) vs. Micah Owings (8-8, 4.30)
- Tuesday: Brandon Webb (18-10, 3.01) vs. Carlos Zambrano (18-13, 3.95) - I presume.
The Padres play the Rockies tomorrow, in a one-game playoff to decide the NL Wild Card. I am split regarding this game. On a personal level, I hope the Padres get their asses handed to them, and as a result, certain whiny little GLB'ers have to spend the off-season hugging the tattered remnants of their rainbow unicorns, and doing the gay Spidey dance. Many suicidal MySpace bulletins would follow. However, from a D-backs point of view, I'd rather the Padres made it through. Then, they'd have to fly back across the country to face the Phillies, and having burned Peavy in the playoff game, they wouldn't be able to use him until Game Three. The weakened Padres go down to the Phillies and Arizona, having disposed of the Cubs, would then face a team we beat five games out of six in the regular season. Sounds like a plan to me.
Meanwhile, over on the East coast, Mets fans are flinging themselves from the walkway to the #7 train as their team completed the worst late implosion in baseball history. They blew a seven-game lead in the last eighteen days of the season, from the best record in the National League, to falling, not only out of the division lead, but also out of the wild-card. Well done! You must get up very early. Devin pointed me to a Baseball Prospectus article on all-time biggest collapses, based on playoff odds, and mlb.com also covers the topic of the worst blowups in history.
It's particularly noteworthy, given the payrolls of the two teams: the Mets Opening Day salary came in at $115.2m, which is 121% more than the Arizona Diamondbacks, who paid less than $52.1m. We had just the 26th-largest salary in the majors this year: the Diamondbacks are the lowest-ranked team in payroll to make the playoffs since the Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins got through in 2002, ranked 27th and 28th respectively [in case you're wondering, the 2003 Marlins were 25th]. Also sitting at home this October, despite having spent more than twice as much on their team as Arizona, will be the White Sox ($108.9m), Dodgers ($108.5m) and Mariners ($106.5m). Much credit is due to everyone in the D-backs organization - present and past - for their work in assembling a division-winning team, despite limited resources.