Record: 7-4. Change on last season: +2
Quote of the day: ""It's still Spring Training for me - and it will be even in my next start." -- Randy Johnson
I generally believe there aren't many games where your manager has an effect on the outcome, but Friday night's loss could be the first one of the year. [Admittedly, there are a couple earlier which Bob Melvin may have helped win, but that's much harder to tell] The key moment here, I think, was leaving an obviously-spent Brandon Webb, at about 110 pitches, out there to face Hawpe in the seventh, with two men on base and having gone 3-0 on the previous two pitchers. To be fair to Melvin, we should also partly blame the umpire who blew a double-play call earlier that inning. That would certainly have helped.
Still, compare and contrast Clint Hurdle's approach in the previous half-inning: as soon as his starting pitcher put the go-ahead run on base, the Fogg was cleared, even though he'd only thrown 70 pitches. And the Rockies bullpen retired the next twelve Diamondbacks hitters. Indeed, our bats were still apparently thinking they were in the deep-freeze of our road-trip. We managed only five hits and two walks, with Drew and Byrnes getting a pair each at the top of the order: Drew scored twice, Byrnes had all three RBI. But the heart of the order were a feeble 1-for-11.
Four more walks for Webb: he's allowed 3+ in all three starts this year. Save one stint in the second half of August last season, we haven't seen that kind of wildness from Webb since 2004, when he had 3+ in eleven straight games, from June 30 to August 21. Four of the ten have come around to score, which certainly hasn't helped Webb's ERA, now back up at 5.21. [Thus far, it's basically the same figure as Russ Ortiz. 8-Q The Manatee's at 5.27, after he pitched into the ninth inning last night, for the first time since 2004.] Last night was Webb's first loss in seventeen consecutive April starts, the previous one being April 17, 2004.
Must confess, I lost interest after the Rockies re-took the lead, and walked with Mrs. SnakePit over to Islands for dinner and to buy her some Long Island Iced Teas. Very pleasant. Thanks to those who occupied the comments thread: in particular to foulpole for his comment after EB had tied the game with a laser-line homer in the fifth: "Eric Byrnes off the Fogg." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at that one. Also present were azdbacks51, DiamondbacksWIn, William K, AZDarkKnight, VIII, johngordonma, npineda and Wimb, who is now enjoying MLB TV!
Down in Tucson, Randy Johnson had another rehab start with the Sidewinders, but going by his above quote, he certainly doesn't think he's ready for major-league action. He went on, "There's no switch on any player that can just turn it on and turn it off. I'm making progress and we'll just see how I feel tomorrow and work toward the next day." He cruised through the first five innings on only 55 pitches, but after smacking a double and running the bases, struggled in the sixth, allowing two runs on four hits there, and throwing 30 pitches. Overall, he gave up eight hits and his first rehab walk, in six innings of work, before a Tucson crowd of over twelve thousand - and if the stadium had held more, might have rivalled the Diamondbacks' attendance of 20,219.
Carlos Quentin also played in an extended Spring Training game, and Melvin is optimistic he could be back as early as Monday: "We kind of targeted when we go on the road [Wednesday]. I don't know. Depending on how things go with the Dodgers series, [Monday] may not be out of the question." Can't be soon enough: Byrnes has been an, er, adventure in right. To borrow a quote from Samuel Johnson, it "is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."
Closed the poll on how Gonzalez should be treated on Monday, after what can only be described as an, er, "spirited" discussion. The general consensus (62%) is that he should receive a rousing ovation on his first appearance, to acknowledge his contribution to the franchise, but that's it. After that, he's with the Dodgers and should be treated accordingly. I'm down with that. In its place is a gentle, non-confrontational topic: the best baseball movie of all time. At least, until the flame from Diamondhacks arrives, berating me for not including Fear Strikes Out. :-)