Record: 12-11. Change on last season: +1
Quote of the day: "I was mad at myself because I felt so good, but gave up three runs in the first inning. The way I felt, I was supposed to be better than that." -- Livan Hernandez
Okay, first things first, and pardon me if I gloat a little: we got our D-backs license plate in the mail today. We are #632 in the state to have one, it would appear: I'm not sure if, in subsequent years, we are eligible to move up to a better number. :-) Actually, there was something of an administrative cock-up at the DMV - like, there's a surprise! - because this was supposed to be our "personalized" plate. We'll be hanging on to this one for a bit though, since changing it would require physically going into the DMV. And as far as our idea of a fun time goes, that ranks up there with yard work or "mandatory sales quotas" for technical support people. ;-S
Anyway. With one out in the first inning, the GameDay graph shows that we'd already dropped to a one-in-four chance of victory. Hernandez v2.0 had allowed a double, a walk and then a three-run homer, providing the biggest, fattest, hanging-est breaking ball Adrian Gonzalez had seen in his young career. So much for a carry-over from Wednesday's dramatic, walk-off homer. And then something strange happened: we fought back.
In the second, Drew had an RBI single and Quentin walked; then Montero showed great hustle, legging out a 20-foot bleeder that the 6'10" Chris Young (theirs) couldn't pick up, and the bases were loaded. Young compounded his error with a wild-pitch, and Livan helped himseld with a sacrifice fly. Tied game, and with that clean slate, Hernandez 2.0 was impeccable. After the homer, he allowed only two hits, pitching seven innings for a quality start that looked extremely improbable with one out in the first. He did get squeezed by the home-plate umpire but - unlike previous games - Blue was at least consistent, which I can accept.
Meanwhile, Tony Clark was providing pretty much all the offense we would need, with a pair of homers. What odds would you have got that, after almost a month of baseball, he'd have as many homers as Young, Jackson, Quentin and Tracy combined? Three RBIs for Clark there, and Eric Byrnes completed the scoring for us, driving in Chris Young in the seventh. Eric blotted his copybook, however, by getting caught stealing - and it wasn't even close.
That confuses me, largely because of what Nick Piecoro said in the Republic this morning: "Turns out, he wasn't trying to steal the base." Er...what exactly was he trying to do? Chat to the second-baseman? Piecoro goes on, "And manager Bob Melvin said it wasn't a hit-and-run, either. It was just a mix-up," but that hardly clarifies matters. I think he was perhaps peeved that Chris Young (ours) had swiped a bag just before, and had some burning desire to prove himself. Didn't quite work out.
Doug Slaten came in to pitch the eighth, but gave up two hits and a run without recording an out: that ended a streak of eighteen consecutive appearances without recording a run. That's the fourth-longest in franchise history: Valverde and Mantei both had nineteen, but perhaps surprisingly, the record holder is Dan Plesac who pitched 20 games from August 12 to September 26, back in 2000. He was a LOOGY, and that covered only 13 innings though. Slaten - with some nice deception from Montero, who fooled Gonzalez into expecting an inside pitch - got a double play, Lyon got the final out, and Valverde pitched a perfect ninth, fanning two.
Thanks to AZDarkKnight, DBACKS KICK ARSE, Goose, johngordonma, Wimb, VIII, Diamondhacks, cavscout, singaporedbacksfan, soco, azdb7 and kylerkenney for their input, as we took the series - long odds against that before Drew came to the plate yesterday! With the Dodgers getting swept by the suddenly-surging Giants, the NL West tightened up a bit further, and it set the stage nicely for our series against San Francisco this weekend. I'll take a look at that over lunch, with any luck...
Couple of comments. Hernandez's double-play actually gave him the lowest batting figure, at -12.5%, but that's countered by his +12.3% as a pitcher. Surprised to see Clark (+21.7%) out-win percentaged by Drew, but the key was Drew scoring on a wild pitch, for which he gets credit apparently.