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AZ 1, Dodgers 5 - Luis Change

Record: 9-5. Change on last season: +3

Quote of the day: ""The swing is simple right now. I was aggressive swinging at some early fastballs that they threw over the plate. Obviously, they'll make adjustments and starting throwing sliders and stuff, but I'm seeing the ball pretty well and I think that's the key, just seeing it, when you first come back." -- Carlos Quentin

Pre-game entertainment. A couple of setbacks at Kincaid's: they no longer have Pilsener Urquell and their delicious appetizer of flash-fried shredded cheese is no longer on the menu either. Then the steaks arrived, and we remembered why we go there. 8-)

The stadium. The redesign of the rotunda isn't up to much: it looks jumbled and confusing, more like a second-rate museum than anything else. However, I do like the opening-up of the foyer beyond that: nice to see the field when you go through the doors. But why was the roof closed last night? While a bit breezy out, sure, it would still have been better under the stars.

Red or purple?. Even though it was Luis Gonzalez Throwback night, and despite any questionable polls in the Republic, red seriously won. The $8 shirts in the team shop [now, that's "family-friendly"...] were flying off the shelves, and there, we also got to renew acquaintance with Dawn, team-shop manager. Funnily enough, she remembered us, and managed not to run shrieking in terror. ;-) She even worked around Livan's autograph on Chris's shirt, now emblazoned with the somewhat-delayed #61.

The Gonzo returns.
Their LF: 0-for-4, 2 K
Our LF: 2-for-4, 2 doubles, SB

I rest my case. :-) Long, loud standing ovation from all parts for the first at-bat. Rapidly decreasing return thereafter: the shock/novelty of seeing him in blue will wear off. His at-bats sucked, most obviously a couple of underwater swings at Slaten in the seventh, after which he was yanked. Nice of our third-base coach to give him a gift: an outfield assist of Tracy at home. Though, being honest, Furcal was close enough to Gonzo, he deserved the outfield assist more.

Hale the Rally Killer. But, really: even with Luis out there, sending Tracy from first on a double was suicidal, and ran us right out of a potential comeback. We'd have have had men on second and third with one out - and the tying run at the plate. When you're 3-0 down, the first run is really meaningless, and you shouldn't run any risks to acquire it. Aggressive base-running has its place, but that certainly wasn't it.

Quentin's back. And looked pretty good, with some really hard-hit balls. I think he expected the second one to get out of here, jogging towards first-base: when it hit the outfield wall, he suddenly needed to run at 110% to avoid giving Gonzo another outfield assist. That gave his groin a nice test. Couldn't tell how he looked in right, since he didn't retire a single batter there all night. Byrnes back in LF, and looking happy to be there, but...

What about Chris? He's now batting .143: how long do we give him, before letting him work out his issues down in Tucson? At the moment, I'd far rather see an outfield of Hairston-Byrnes-Quentin, than one of Byrnes-Young-Quentin. Though now, he has company at or below the Uecker Line, in the shape of Drew (.196) and Jackson (.200). Drew is at least taking a few walks, and hitting some balls hard: an OPS of .552 from our first-baseman is just not good enough.

EdGon gone? Mrs. SnakePit kept making pointed remarks about the bus to Tucson... Tonight, with Pwnings starting, could go a long way to deciding who gets the fifth spot in the rotation. The problem is we can't send Edgar down (he's out of options), so on this performance, I wouldn't be surprised if Micah stays, EdGon shifts to the bullpen, and Nippert ends up back in Tucson. Gonzalez threw a decent number strikes, especially early, but nine hits and two walks in 6.1 innings? Not good.

Melvin's an idiot. Today's example would not actually be letting EdGon bat for himself in the bottom of the fifth. He got a single, then came out and posted a 1-2-3 sixth. However, sending him out there for the seventh was pure insanity, which ended with him hitting Jeff Kent with the bases-loaded and on an 0-2 count. Luckily, Doug Slaten bailed out Edgar with back-to-back K's, or his line would have looked much worse. Good to see Melvin stick with Cruz for two innings: more of that would not be unwelcome.

Death by a thousand cuts. Unfortunately, our first game at Chase was also our most lack-luster performance of 2007 thus far. There was never one single inning where the Dodgers blew this open - they scored single runs in five separate innings. We didn't help our own cause with Montero getting called for catcher's interference again, or a run scoring on a wild pitch. The main problem was, we mustered only six hits and three walks - two hits for Byrnes and Quentin - as Penny schooled our hitters. Maybe we should have gone after him early; in their eight at-bats, B+Q saw only fifteen pitches in total.

Bits and pieces. No mention of Virginia Tech. Probably too early, to be honest. Got to see our first pitch invasion with an idiot running around right-field late on. The left-field bleachers seemed particularly loud; couldn't tell who they were cheering for though. Dodgers fans suck. Mrs. SnakePit put a birthday greeting on the board, and worked in a plug for the site. :-) They now have two in-game hosts, one of each sex: both suck. What's worse than one D-Baxter? Two of them: dammit, there must be a breeding colony somewhere.

Thanks to those who kept the comments going in my absence: Ben, William K, DiamondbacksWIn, npineda, DBACKS KICK ARSE, IndyDBack, Muu, singaporedbacksfan, Xeifrank and AZDarkKnight were all in attendance. Though, being honest, the gameday graph is an accurate reflection of the appeal this one had - certainly at the ballpark. Let's hope for better tonight.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Eric Byrnes: +4.4%
God-emperor of suck: Edgar Gonzalez: -21.7%