Record: 21-19. Change on last season: -1. Pace: 85-77
Quote of the day: I don't need to go seven innings all the time or eight or nine. There will be nights where I need to do that, but tonight wasn't a night. It's too early in the year and I'm getting to where I want to be and I want to walk away from something feeling positive." -- Randy Johnson
Bad News Thirteen straight games with four runs or less scored by the offense.
Good News We won this one - AZ is 5-8 in that streak. Only two teams since 1992 have had a similar streak with a better winning percentage [the 2004 Brewers went 8-8, and the 2001 Mets went 6-7]
Bad News No walks for any Diamondbacks player. And five K's
Good News No walks for any Rockies player. And thirteen K's - the most by our pitching staff in a walkless game since August 22, 2003, when Schilling struck out 14 and Valverde added one in the ninth.
Bad News Randy Johnson was pulled - not even pinch-hit for - after 79 pitches.
Good News That was after six innings of shutout, one-hit ball - and that hit a cheap-shot bunt single. If this trend continues, by the end of the year he'll last only one frame, but will strike out the side on nine really good pitches.
This was one of those situations where Melvin was pretty much damned if he did, damned if he didn't, and I do feel some sympathy for him here. He did seem to learn from Johnson's last outing where Johnson fell apart in the seventh, so I hope that's taken to heart. Better to hook Johnson one hitter too early, than one too late, and the bullpen was well rested. [Combined with Johnson staying at home though, I am somewhat concerned there's something we're not being told] Pleased to see him use Peña for two innings; that was the smart thing to do, and leaves us with Cruz and Lyon undoubtedly available for a similar situation today.
There is some precedent for this in Johnson's career - but not recently. On September 13, 1997, while playing for Seattle against Toronto, he pitched one-hit ball, threw 77 pitches, struck out eight and was pulled after six innings. But I don't think he's ever been taken out of the game while facing the minimum number of hitters before. The only base-runner he allowed was Taveras on the bunt-single (which I don't mind so much, since it was a scoreless game at the time), whom Johnson promptly got caught in a run-down.
Indeed, after the eighth inning, we'd still faced the minimum; Peña gave up a one-out single in the seventh, but then got a double-play, and pitched a perfect eighth. However, the bid to go 27-for-27 was foiled by Valverde in the ninth, whom Torrealba doubled off to open the inning. However, this was a very rare save by Valverde where the tying run never came to bat, so overall, this was a relatively low-intensity game. We now have 21 victories - but sixteen of the last seventeen were by three runs or less, with the only exception the 9-1 blowout over the Dodgers.
Offensively, not much, but a couple of bright spots. Young had two hits leading off, and Jackson ended his long RBI-less streak with a two-run jack in the sixth, that were all the offense we needed. He had another hit, and Byrnes put up his sixth homer of the season in the seventh. Quentin went 0-for-3, bringing his season average down to .188 and the question is beginning to be asked: how long do we give him? There's a point where this failure become counter-productive. When is it?
However, it looks like our infield woes continue to mount, with a trip for Chad Tracy to the DL looking all but certain [and it should have happened two weeks ago]. He was pulled from the game in the seventh, and said afterwards, "I can't backhand a ball down the line and make a throw. My third at-bat, I felt like somebody was stabbing me in my side. Might as well go ahead and nip it in the bud, I guess. It grinds on you." That sucks, because he was batting better than anyone else on the roster, hitting .311.
As a replacement, it seems that we'll be pulling Mark Reynolds up from Double-A to make his debut, and word is he'll be in the lineup every day. He's batting .306 for Mobile, but it's a big jump to the majors from there, and I'm trying hard to think of any D-backs who've been successful in doing it. Unfortunately, I keep seeing Casey Daigle's face... Incidentally, Reynolds' brief team-mate at Mobile, Justin Upton, has started off at a furious pace - 4-for-8 with three homers and eight RBI in his first two games.
Solid and entertaining GameDay Thread: DiamondbacksWIn, AZDarkKnight, singaporedbacksfan, VIII, seton hall snake pit, andrewinnewyork, azdbacks51 and Ben were the commentators. Padres and Giants both lost in extra innings, so we're tied with San Diego for second, three games behind the Dodgers.
Ironic headline of the week: Medders trying to look past stats. I'm not so much trying to look past them, as avoid looking at them entirely - particularly the bit that says, eight home runs in 16.2 innings. He's under no illusions though: "This is embarrassing for me to pitch like this. To walk in the clubhouse and have everybody know that I'm the one guy down in the bullpen not getting the job done." It's certainly a far cry from last year, when he was one of the best relievers in the National League. Hopefully he can find out why it's happening and return to form.
Fighting words there from Jorge Julio as well, now back with the Rockies after being traded by the Marlins. No sign of him last night, but he's looking forward to seeing his old team-mates. "I am happy to face these guys. When they trade you, you want to do your best against them. And I know these guys, all their hitters. ... I know how to pitch these guys. I am ready. [It'll be a] good team for me to face." Based on his performances while in Florida, I imagine the Diamondbacks' hitters are quite looking forward to the encounter too...