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AZ 1, Dodgers 2 - Close, but no cigar...

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Record: 16-12. Change on last season: +1. Pace: 93-69

Quote of the day: "We feel like we have six good big league starters for five spots, and somebody is going to have to pitch out of the bullpen." -- Bob Melvin

For the second time this season, we couldn't get that difficult seventh win, falling in another one-run game after the Dodgers singled across the winning run with two outs in the ninth. Truth be told, we were probably a little lucky to have got that far, with Hernandez v2.0 producing another escape feat worthy of Penn and Teller. "For my next feat, I will load the bases in every inning, while wearing a strait-jacket, pitching with my left hand, and blindfolded - yet still allow only one earned run." Just another six inning, six hit, six walk, one earned run appearance. And it'd have been six shutout innings, save for a bases-loaded walk to Furcal.

However, our bats went from roasty-toasty to deep-frozen in 24 hours, as we had only five hits; Eric Byrnes had two of those, including the only extra-base hit, a triple in the eighth that led to our only run, when Hudson followed with a single. Those all came after former D-back Brad Penny had left the game: he pitched six innings and took his ERA against Arizona down to a miniscule 1.88 in 13 starts against us. From our bullpen, Tony Peña pitched two innings of no-hit ball, but it was Lyon who got eaten: his base-runners finally caught up with him.

Bad news for Chad Tracy, forced out of the game in the third inning with a rib injury, which happened before the game while warming up on the infield. He tried to play through it, but was unable to do so. Said Tracy, somewhat gloomily, "I've never had anything like this.. If you yank one of these things (rib-cage muscle) out, it's six to eight weeks. I want to make sure it's just right." Let's hope that's not the case, as he had been warming up nicely. Among our regulars, his .292/.390/.472 line trailed only Orlando Hudson in all three areas.

Not much more I can add of import, since I didn't see a single pitch, and only heard the bottom of the ninth on the radio as we came home from Hot Fuzz. [Capsule review: amusing spoof of action flicks, but not as good as Shaun of the Dead] Thanks to those who occupied the GameDay Thread in my absence: singaporedbacksfan (Drew was out because of his nagging groin issue, adding to our infield injuries), TheMainMan, Muu, johngordonma, Goose, BACKS KICK ARSE, VIII and seton hall snake pit were present in my absence.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Eric Byrnes, +19.4%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Lyon, -35.7%

To no-one's great surprise, Micah Owings will get the start Thursday night against the Mets. Edgar Gonzalez will be moved to the pen, and if I were Dana Eveland, I'd be checking the bus schedules to Tucson. That means we'll have three starters in the bullpen, EdGon joining Cruz and Nippert down there. He doesn't have much relief experience, and I'm not sure what role he's going to have: with our starters pitching into the seventh on average, there's not much need for long relief, and Nippert has that basically book-marked.

Actually, no-one is probably more pleased about the move than Mrs. SnakePit and I. We will be going to that game, and are now spared seeing Gonzalez pitch for the third straight time on Thursday, getting to see Micah Owings instead. Nothing personal, Edgar, but your ERA when we've been at the game is 6.35 - when we're not, it's 2.88. So it's not you, it's us. We just need to see other people. We can still be friends...

Finally, we may have lost last night, but I still felt a warm, inner glow, on seeing the following line: 3.1IP, 9H, 2BB, 4K, 8ER. Yes, it's the return of the old Russ Ortiz, the Huge Manatee that we came to know and loathe during his time in Arizona. And, hey! He's still in a state of denial, saying afterwards, "I'm not looking at this as something where I need to go back to the drawing board. I could tell it was positive the way the ball was coming out of my hand. It can only turn into good things, throwing the ball like that." Good for who, Russ?