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AZ 5, Pirates 2 - Road Warriors

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Record: 24-21. Change on last season: -2. Pace: 86-76.

Quote of the day: "I've left a small village out there lately, so it's good to finally come through one time and be productive." -- Chris Snyder

Rather more workmanlike and much less exciting than Saturday night's game, this victory gave Arizona their second consecutive series victory and meant they had a winning record on the trip, at 5-4. I'll happily settle for that: our record away from Phoenix is now even at 12-12, and is bettered in the NL only by the Dodgers (13-11), Braves (13-11) and Mets (an almost insane 14-5!). Remember, the mark we should aim for is winning half our road games, and two-thirds of the home ones. That's be 94 wins, which should see us nicely into the playoffs. At the moment, it's the home side of the equation (12-9), that could do with improvement, so we'll see how the upcoming stand helps us there.

Another K-heavy performance for the Big Unit. He fanned ten in 5 2/3 innings, with no walks, which makes his K:BB ratio this year, a very healthy 47:7. And four of those free passes came in his first outing: over his last three, he has 28 strikeouts and one walk in 17.2 IP. [Think the Yankees, who don't so much have a rotation as a revolving door of walking wounded, would want have him back about now?] He threw 102 pitches, hit 96 mph with his fastball, and was lifted with two outs in the sixth after going 2-0 on the hitter who represented the tying run. However, Peña, Lyon and Valverde ensured there was no need to reach for the antacid during this game, retiring the last ten Pirates hitters, to ensure the three-run lead stayed that way.

Meanwhile, the batters did enough: Chris Snyder was the unexpected star of the day, having his first three-hit game since August 16th last year and his first three-RBI game since June 17th. That took his average for the year back above the Uecker-line, with the key at-bat coming in the fourth with one out. Maholm had just walked Hairston and Quentin to load the bases: since Randy was up next, this meant basically the last chance of the inning. Snyder wasted no time, ripping a first-pitch fastball into the gap, to empty the bases. Pittsburgh had taken a 1-0 lead, but a sacrifice fly by Drew and Jackson's RBI single gave the Diamondbacks the lead for good.

Dodgers lost, so that meant Arizona gained another game in the standings, and are now just 1.5 games back. Not a bad weekend all told: certainly, a damn sight better than it looked like it was going to be about 5:30pm on Saturday night. Those who showed up, bleary-eyed and clutching cups of coffee in a death-like grip for this morning's game were: AZDarkKnight, singaporedbacksfan, johngordonma, VIII, unnamedDBacksfan and Muu. Also, good to see npineda back in the saddle, elsewhere on the site. Does this mean I don't have to do the fantasy report this week? :-) [And I'm actually doing not too badly this time...well, last time I checked anyway!]

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chris Snyder, +23.0%
God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew, -5.8%

Interestingly, rumors suggest that Abe Woody, a Double-A relief pitcher, was almost called up to the majors. It's all a little vague, but it seems Woody was summoned from Mobile to Pittsburgh, but barely had he got off the plane when he was told that the player he was supposed to be replacing wouldn't need to go on the DL after all. Not too sure who the major-leaguer with the miraculous recovery was, but I'd presume it was a relief pitcher, and I've heard EdGon has been struggling with a groin problem. Odd they bypassed all the pitchers in Triple-A though. Woody was obtained from the Reds in the trade for Jerry Gil.

Today's game leaves Randy Johnson 13 K's behind Roger Clemens for second on the all-time list, 4591 to 4604. At current pace, it seems likely he'll overtake Clemens the start after next, May 30th in Philadelphia. Clemens made his first rehab start Friday, and is expected to pitch one game in Double-A and another in Triple-A before returning to the majors, so he could be down in third by that point. There is, however, a chance he'll pitch on the 29th against Toronto. Could be an interesting tussle over the rest of the season, though throughout his career, Johnson's numbers have been far superior in the K/9 dept.