Record: 20-19. Change on last season: -2. Pace: 83-79
Aargh. I think I'm allergic to Monday mornings. Knew it was going to be a bad day, when I came in through the front-door at work, and a colleague looked up and started singing, Welcome to the Jungle. Major technical issues here, meant that I've just spent seven hours straight on the phone: this has been my first break since then. Hence, this will be a relatively short report; the Fantasy Baseball will follow tomorrow, since at least today's an off-day. So I should have a bit more slack tomorrow, all being well...
Anyway. Another sucky performance from our offense, who have now scored four runs or less for a dozen games in a row. That's the worst stretch since we went 15 in a row, July 19-August 3 in the 2003 season. That was probably worse still: we scored only 25 runs in those 15 games, and scored one run or none in more than half of them. We hit a dismal .215 over that stretch. In contrast, we've scored 33 runs in these 12 games, haven't been shut out at all, and are batting .225. And things could be worse: Washington just broke a 15-game slump of their own on Friday.
How could we have gone so wrong? Before this season started, everyone was convinced that scoring would not be a problem for this team. But we're currently only putting 3.8 runs per game on the board: it's been our pitching, with its 3.79 ERA, and in particular, the starting rotation, that has been much better than anticipated, and is the sole reason why we still have a record better than .500. Particular chasms in our production have been at catcher (OPS+ 63), SS (68), RF (83) and 1B (84).
Typically mediocre performance; we stuck around in this one for a bit, even after Davis's own error allowed the Astros to take a first-inning lead. Scott Hairston hit a homer to tie the game up - however, that's now our eighth consecutive long-ball which came with nobody aboard. Houston scored two more in the fourth, and Davis's pitch count was horrendous: 25 in the first, then after a quick second (8), he went 29 in the third and 30 in the fourth. Was somewhat surprised to see him bat for himself leading off the fifth - and, lo, he faced four batters in the bottom half and only retired one.
Micah Owings - being skipped in the rotation because of the burst of off-days - got an unexpected outing, and gave up one run in 1.2 inning; Lyon and Valverde were used similarly, as much to get them work as anything, and were at least efficient. It took them only 23 pitches to get through the last couple of innings - compared to the 130 thrown by Davis and Owings in the first six. Davis allowed six hits and four walks in 4.1 innings of work, his shortest outing August last year.
Reviewing the offensive performance will be short and not very sweet. Two hits for Hairston, including his homer; Hudson added a solo homer in the ninth. Two walks; ten strikeouts and only six hits. Yuck. Thanks to the few, the proud and the brave who stuck around in the GameDay Thread. That'd be VIII, unnamedDBacksfan, Wimb and AZDarkKnight - and, to be honest, that's about all this game deserved.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Scott Hairston, +10.3%
God-emperor of suck: Doug Davis, -23.9%
Hey! As VIII pointed out, Jorge Julio was sent to the Rockies in exchange for Byung-Hyun Kim, in a trade of former D-backs closers. I'm amazed the Marlins managed to get anything in exchange for Julio. They really must hate Kim... And with that, back onto the phones I go. Two hours till hometime!