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AZ 1, Giants 2 - While Our Offense Gently Sleeps...

Record: 10-10. Change on last season: +1

Quote of the day: "Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the pitchers and realize that they've thrown some really good games." -- Eric Byrnes

At least it was over quickly: this game took just one hour, 56 minutes, the shortest game of the year so far by a good 35 minutes. It helped that the teams combined for only seven hits and four walks, while hitting into three double-plays. The key difference is, two of the Giants' four hits left AT&T Park, while none of ours even went for extra-bases. The result: another fine pitching performance wasted (team ERA down to 3.62, compared to a league average of 4.30), another woeful performance by our bats.

Pardon me if I'm terse. Two hits for Byrnes; one for Callaspo. That was it as far as our lumber went. Two walks for Tracy, one each for Hairston and Hudson. Nobody else reached base. Even Melvin's shaking up of things - Young and Drew were benched for the day - proved futile, as we were all but shut down for the day once again. Our sole run came in the ninth, off a tiring Cain, when Hudson grounded into a double-play, scoring Byrnes from third. A ground-out by Clark allowed Cain to post the complete game.

The main bright spot was Yusmeiro Petit, who made his debut for the Diamondbacks, and made the deal with the Marlins look very, very good. With Julio, as well as a number of starters, on the DL, do you think Florida could use him? But they're not getting him: he allowed four hits in seven innings, walked none and struck out five. He did allow two homers, to Feliz and - inevitably - Bonds, who wasted no time in clubbing a first-pitch meatball out of the park in the fourth. But otherwise, almost as good as debut as Micah Owings: the game score for Petit was 66, just a couple short of Owings' 68.

We may have had lower-scoring series in team history - most recently, August 30-September 1, 2003 when we got beaten by the Giants 2-1, 3-1 and 2-0 - but even there, we did manage nineteen hits. That's three more than we managed in this series, where we batted just .174. This was an entirely sucky, eminently forgettable series in all respects:

  1. Getting swept...
  2. By the Giants...
  3. While scoring only three runs in total...
  4. And losing the opener to Russ Ortiz

Hold my wrists, for I fear I may slash them. The team BA for the season is down to .243, eleven points below league average - and it's sinking fast. We hit .223 over 238 at-bats in the past week, with just one homer and a league-worst OPS of .610, thirty points below the next-worst team. That'll be why we scored only nineteen runs in those seven games, and lost six of them. Now, slumps do happen, to every team in every season, but the breadth and depth of this one... I'm hard pushed to think of a time under Melvin's command that's comparable.

As a note of hope, we do, however, have some way to go before we come anywhere close to our worst offensive streak ever: between July 22-30, 2003, we scored two runs or less in nine consecutive games: 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 0, 2, 1, 1, for a total of just eleven. Let's hope things turn around before we reach anything like that, or mobs of dedicated fans, clad in Sedona Red, will be clutching their pitchforks, marching on Chase Field and demanding heads.

Thanks to those brave souls who turned up in the Gameday Thread - even suitsme, who was charitably magnanimous in victory, and all but gloat-free. This restraint was very much appreciated... Also present: Muu, Wimb, DiamondbacksWIn, npineda, johngordonma, singaporedbacksfan, William K and bigshowbaseball (welcome!), so thanks to them for their appearance. These are the games that test the mettle of true fans; the bandwagon-jumpers will be leaping off the wagon, clutching their bobbleheads. Stand firm and stay the course, we're coming home...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Eric Byrnes, +10.1%
God-emperor of suck: Orlando Hudson, -29.4%

Eric Byrnes continues to be the MVP according to Win Expectancy, picking up yet another Mastership. You should perhaps compare this one to the graph for yesterday's game, which is almost identical. Not too much of a surprise there: this one felt almost identical, and as soon as Feliz's homer left the field, it seemed all hope was lost.

npineda has agreed to take over the Fantasy Baseball reports, so I presume that'll appear later this afternoon. And it's an off-day for the Diamondbacks' no change there from the previous three. :-( Much-needed, I think it has to be said, though I would like to think a few of them might turn up at Chase for some extra batting practice.

From what I saw of Sunday's game, it's mostly pitch-selection that needs to be improved - I saw far too many hacking at balls out of the zone, especially first-pitch (Carlos Quentin) or on counts like 3-1. On the other hand, Conor Jackson always seems to take the first pitch, and that's a green-light for pitchers to get ahead, 0-1. A little more variety from everyone might be welcome...