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AZ 7, Nationals 1 - That's More Like It!

Record: 4-2. Change on last season: +1

Quote of the day: "I tried left-center and it didn't work out so well. I tried right-center and it didn't work out so well, and then I was able to sneak one down the line." -- Eric Byrnes

Brandon Webb returned to form on Saturday night, with what should have been seven shutout innings. The only blot was a solo HR which, replay showed, actually hit just on the wrong side - for the hitter - of the pole before then ricocheting back onto the pole. Initially called a homer, Melvin came out to protest, with an explanation from left-fielder Scott Hairston: the umpires huddled, conferred...and still got it wrong. Can't say I blame them though: my first thought too was that it was fair. These things happen...and it's probably best for them to do so, when we have a six-run lead. We'll call in that marker when we're tied in the ninth inning of game seven!

That didn't detract from a very solid performance by Webb, who scattered seven hits over his seven innings, and fanned eight Nationals. He did walk three, which is a little disturbing: that's six in 12 IP by April 7, when last season, he allowed six in his first eight starts and 58.2 IP, up until May 15. But he got the big-double play when he needed it, no bigger than the bottom of the third with the bases loaded and the tying run on base, after two singles and a walk. Webb got Dmitri Young to roll over one to Drew, and the Nationals failed to score.

Obviously, his sinker was key to his effectiveness, but have to say, I was also very, very impressed by his use of the change-up as an out pitch. There were several cases where he made the Washington hitters look really bad, and that could prove to be a very effective weapon in his armory. Never mind having perhaps the best pitch in the National League, now batters won't know what speed it's arriving at. That's positively unfair. Well, it would be if he was on any other team save Arizona...

Offensively, we leapt on the Nationals early once more - I think they've now been outscored 11-0 in the first inning. Tracy had a sweet double to deep left-center, which scored Hudson and Byrnes, and Clark added a sacrifice fly. That was all the scoring we needed, but we doubled it in the sixth after Nats' starter Patterson had left the game, on RBIs by Young, Drew and Byrnes. Then Byrnes iced it was a solo homer in the ninth, that just stayed fair.

Byrnes and Hudson had two hits, but it was Tony Clark who took hitting honors, with three hits and a sacrifice fly. But I think Stephen Drew deserves credit for reaching safely from the leadoff spot the first three times he came to bat, on a walk and two hits. He never came around to score, but the effort was appreciated, and he saw more pitches than anyone else (22). Black mark to Hudson, however, for a convoluted play where he waved vaguely at the runner in front of him, going from first to second, then made a wild throw to first which even the 6'7" Clark couldn't handle. Less show next time, please, O-Dawg.

My first full game of commentary last night, and it was very pleasant to do so, especially in such a comfortable victory: no stress, and very little tension, after the first inning. Thanks to those who joined me: Ridster, DiamondbacksWIn, AZDarkKnight, andrewinnewyork, jeremy, unnamedDBacksfan, VIII, FatLeprechaun, johngordonma, Muu and William K. I particularly like johngordonma's suggestion, after seeing Eric Byrnes' ski-mask approach to the freezing temperatures: "Any news about Byrnes robbing the local Circle K after the game? I think there would be a spectacular intimidation factor if we had all 9 players dressed up with those face masks." We could build on that, perhaps: get everyone to wear Randy Johnson masks when he makes his first start. That would be intimidating...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]

Gonna have to cut this one short, as we're taking my mother-in-law out for Easter Sunday breakfast, and then to the movies. Her choice - and bear in mind, she just turned 78 - is Grindhouse. I say again, I really hope to be anything like her, when I'm that age. This will mean I have to miss the D-backs game today, but hey...we've won the first three games, and Hernandez 2.0 is on the mound. What could possibly go wrong?

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? :-)