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AZ 9, Dodgers 1 - Dodger (Black and) Blue

Record: 16-11. Change on last season: +2. Pace: 96-66.

Quote of the day: "When he gets a lead, he takes over from there. There's a reason he was a Cy Young winner." -- Luis Gonzalez

Really, what part of last night's game was not utterly wonderful? The offense pounding out seventeen hits, the most in a game this year, with six players having multi-hit games? Scoring nine runs, also a season high? Webb pitching brilliantly, taking a shutout into the seventh inning? Watching the mass exodus from Dodger Stadium?

Actually, my favorite part was, I think, holding a six-run lead by the end of the sixth inning. That was a unique experience this season, and it's been a long time since we've been able to coast through the final three innings, without the Lovecraftian sense of dread which has been prevalent in just about every game over the past three weeks. Simply being able to not care when Webb loaded the bases in the seventh inning, was a delightful experience.

Oh, sure: there was a certain amount of tension early on, as we struggled to break through. But even there, we did so with the lead, Young having homered to lead off the game - and the way Webb was pitching, one run seemed like plenty. Then Byrnes, Snyder and Webb himself added RBI hits in the fifth, and tension left Chavez Ravine almost as quickly as the Dodger fans. [I'm afraid the traffic excuse doesn't cut it for me.]

So, where to start in the honor roll? How about Chris Young? Three hits, including two homers from the leadoff spot? Probably be happier if he reached three pitches per at-bat (last night was only 14 in total, for five at-bats), but can't argue with the results. He might have some competition though, given Carlos Quentin reached base safely five times, for the first time in his career, with two walks and three hits.

It's a startling turnaround for him: in the first nine games of the season, he had 33 plate appearances, and walked once: since then, he's climbed into the batter's box 17 times, and has trotted to first after seven of them, a reversal that has got his OBP up to .360. That's within striking distance of his SLG, currently .366. Hudson also had three hits, and a walk, while Byrnes, Clark and Snyder had two-hit games - though that barely merits more than a passing mention last night.

Webb was brilliant through the first six innings, giving up two hits, one walk and no runs, before hitting a wall during the seventh. I'm wondering if he simply got out of the zone. He was on the bench for 25 pitches in the fifth, then 27 more in the sixth, and batted in both innings. In contrast, he threw ten pitches in the fifth, and six in the sixth. Certainly seems possible his arm just cooled off through a sheer lack of work, and he was less than sharp in the seventh, escaping with the bases loaded after allowing two hits and two walks.

All told, a very satisfactory night which saw us climb to the top of the NL West. singaporedbacksfan, Goose, VIII, soco, seton hall snake pit, Diamondhacks, DBACKS KICK ARSE, Muu, suitsmetoATnT were all present in the GameDay thread, which was easily the least tense, most laid-back one we've seen in a very long time. Here's to more of the same tonight, though I think Penny may prove to be something of a tougher challenge than Wolf, and Hernandez v2.0 might be good or...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Webb, +29..5%
God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew, -12.4%

It was particularly good to beat the Dodgers, who had the evil eye over Arizona in their two earlier meetings, and who look like the team to beat in the division thus far, and we're doing it with solid starting pitching. I remember a fierce debate over at True Blue LA over this - yes, we're only through the first month of the season, but at this point, our starters' ERA (3.67) is beginning to show daylight over the much more vaunted Dodgers' rotation (3.90).

Couple of injury notes. Conor Jackson was kept out of the lineup, because of his finger, but should be back Wednesday. Juan Cruz threw off a mound for the first time since going on the DL, and will probably do so once more before heading on a rehab assignment. And Micah Owings had a bullpen session and should be ready for Thursday, when he can come off the DL.

That'll be D-Day - as in Decision Day - for the D-backs, who'll have to work out who goes where. According to Melvin, "Edgar Gonzalez right now is the starter for Thursday. Until it changes, that's the way it is and that's the way our probables are going right now." That may or may not be the case on Thursday, but my guess long-term would be EdGon to the pen, and Eveland (unimpressive last night) back down to Tucson.

Article in the LA Times says, Jeff Moorad was part of a group that tried to buy the Dodgers from Fox in 2003. Interesting to speculate on how that might have changed things, both here and in LA - in much the same way as wondering what would have happened if Arturo Moreno had succeeded in buying the Diamondbacks from Colangelo...