Record: 10-6. Change on last season: +3
"You're not human, or at least playing at this level, if you don't take that personally." -- Eric Byrnes, on the intentional walk by the Padres to get to him.
When I said yesterday lunchtime, "I'd certainly like to see Webb go eight strong in Petco tonight," I was kinda hoping that the bullpen wouldn't need still to pitch four more innings after that point. However, a clanging error in the outfield by Young, forced this one into extra innings, and we didn't break through until the 12th inning - despite Melvin initially appearing to bunt us out of the inning.
Callaspo reached on an error, when the pitcher didn't tag the bag, but Hammock's bunt which followed was so entirely predictable, the Padres were charging in and turned the double-play. That MiaI [Melvin is an Idiot] play immediately reduced our chances of victory by 18.9%: thank you. Fortunately, Hairston doubled, and after Drew was intentionally walked, Byrnes singled Scott home, then Hudson added a pair of insurance runs with a double to right. Valverde still came within a pitch of bringing the tying run to the plate, running Cameron to a 3-0 count after Giles singled, but got him to pop out and K'd Gonzalez for the save.
That ended a pitcher's duel which saw a catchweight contest between Brandon 'K-Man' Webb and David 'I am the Walrus' Wells. Drew led off the game with a double - and though he scored after a sac.fly and groundout, that was our only base-runner until the seventh inning. There, after two singles, Carlos Quentin got his first HBP of the year to load them up and then Jackson got the benefit of a checked-swing call, which helped him work a walk. However, with the bases still loaded and nobody out, we couldn't score any more, a failure that came round to bite us on Young's error.
After Webb left, Lyon allowed two hits in the ninth, but stranded the winning run at third. Slaten was perfect in the tenth, and Pena picked up the win, allowing a walk in the eleventh. All told, the 16 strikeouts were the most by the Diamondbacks since an April 22nd, 2004 game against Milwaukee, also started by Webb, when we struck out 21 in fifteen innings. Webb's 13 K's set a new franchise record, for someone not named "Curt" or "Randy" - Javier Vazquez [2005/9/25] and Omar Daal [1998/9/1] had the previous non-Curt/Randy record, at twelve.
Not a lot of offense, with the non-pitchers going only 7-for-40. Hudson had a pair of hits, as well as three RBI, and Byrnes reached safely three times, on two knocks and an error. Quentin's early run of success came to a screeching halt, with an 0-for-5 night, including two K's, while Young, Callaspo and Snyder all also had oh-fers. But the end result was a victory which, combined with a Dodgers loss in Colorado, puts us half-a-game back of Los Angelese again.
Thanks to VIII, npineda, William K, Wimb, singaporedbacksfan, TheMainMan, Muu, cavscout, peeklay, Xeifrank, wylie and revjdub44 for their GameDay comments - largely in my absence, while I learned about the latest developments in mind control. Believe me, if we had the technology, I'd be using it to stop Melvin from using the sacrifice bunt, freedom of thought be damned... :-) Oh, and the graph below should hopefully improve legibility a little more. It also includes the 'Leverage Index', which measures the importance of the at-bat: the higher the line, the more critical the game situation.
Between the error and a 0-for-4 night reducing his average to .140, the Young backlash has started. My instinct is, it's probably a little bit early for such action, though we should certainly continue to monitor the situation. And some good news on the Micah Owings front: he reports no lingering effects from Tuesday's hamstring twinge: "Just went through my first post-pitch day and it felt fine. As of right now, I'm going along with everything just normal, getting some treatment in there and feeling pretty good about it."
Afternoon game today, as both teams need to leave early. Barely past noon, in fact: a 12:35 AZ time first pitch. So must remember to put up the GameDay thread on my morning break! Guess there will be a very small Yahoo! window lurking in the bottom corner of my screen this afternoon...