Record: 25-22. Change on last season: -3. Pace: 86-76
Quote of the day: "Baseball has a lot of surprises." -- Livan Hernandez
Part of me was kinda glad Brandon Lyon blew the game in the ninth inning, swiftly and effectively; it allowed me to go back in and see the main event at the IZW show (tag-team champions Erica D'Erico and Morgan, a.k.a. Bump 'n' Grind, vs. 'Judo' Jimmy Daniels and Matthew 'The Eclipse' Kraven, should you care). I had visions of this going 18 innings and then us losing, but Lyon wasted no time. He walked the leadoff man, then went 3-0 on the next guy, which basically gave him no option but fastballs down the middle. I'm probably more surprised it took Tulowitzki five more pitches to realise this than anything.
That wasted eight excellent innings from Livan Hernandez: the more I see him, the more impressed I am. I really don't think I've seen anyone work with less "stuff", but what he has, he uses brilliantly. He changes speeds like your grandmother in heavy traffic (slow, dead-slow and stop - one pitch was 56 mph!), and locates his pitches exactly where he needs them, when he needs to. Last night's 124-pitch outing was a light workout for him. Eight innings, nine hits, a walk and eight K's, the most in almost two years. He picked Todd Helton off after a leadoff double. Oh, and he has more hits than the rest of the pitching staff combined.
But, as much as Lyon, we lost this one because our offense was back to being unable to hit sucky pitchers. First, Fogg handcuffed us for six innings, and then the Rockies bullpen - by quite some way, the worst in the National League - shut us down for the remaining three frames, facing the minimum nine hitters and throwing just 34 pitches. Our last hit was in the fourth: Conor Jackson had two, scoring our only run on, what else, a sacrifice fly. The tiny tally means that we've now scored three runs or less, in more than half our games to date (24 of 47).
Mark Reynolds had another hit, and that means he has now reached base safely each of the first six games of his career. That ties the franchise record set by Alex Cabrera in 2000 [and it took Cabrera almost three weeks to do it!] - looks like we will have an interesting decision when Tracy comes back. Do we drop Callaspo back to the minors and use Reynolds as our utility infielder? That wouldn't surprise me at all: I know it's only seven games, but Reynolds' OPS is almost double Callaspo's [1.018 vs. .515]. And Reynolds creates no PR issues I'm aware of either.
Despite (or perhaps, because of?) my absence, a solid Gameday Thread. singaporedbacksfan led off, with Goose, azdbacks51, Frank, johngordonma, AZDarkKnight, soco and seton hall snake pit, and Ben chipped in this morning, on his favorite theme: Why Eric Byrnes Sucks. Frankly, having seen that final throw to the plate, I would advocate our coaches taking him to the outfield for a novel training method, involving Byrnes' feet and a nail-gun.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Livan Hernandez, +43.0%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Lyon, -40.3%
Really cool new feature over at Baseball-Reference.com. They now have franchise depth charts for Arizona, so you can see at a glance what any player in the organization is hitting. For example, this tells us that catcher Mark Johnson - whom I'd never heard of before - is off to a blistering start with Tucson, hitting .418 in his first 24 games. His OPS trails only one Justin Upton, who leads the entire organization with nine home-runs so far.
Also worth reading is an interview with Greg Rybarczyk, who runs the fabulous Hit Tracker site, which provides unbiased measurements of every home-run hit in the majors. As an aside, I note that the figures there do support the view that Tony Clark's homer of May 8th did go further than Eric Byrnes's. The "official" measurements were 457 and 473 respectively, but the site reckons Tony's went 482 feet, while Eric's was "only" 470. That would make them the two longest home-runs in the majors this season. Clark's came off the bat at more than 120 mph...