Record: 25-23. Change on last season: -4. Pace: 84-78
Quote of the Day: "Next time I won't be napping out there as much" -- Mark Reynolds
It was a surprise to discover that this was the first time we've been shut-out in more than a month. Sure, since the last time (April 21), we've scored three runs or less in 17 of the 28 games, but we've always managed to scratch at least one run across. Plus, the last time, we were facing Barry Zito - last night we were facing Jeff Francis, and with all respect, even our friends at Purple Row would have to admit he is no Barry Zito. But we sure made him look like it last night, scratching out only six hits, all singles and had only three at-bats with a runner in scoring position.
That wasted a quality start by Doug Davis, though I have to say, this performance probably showed that the term embraces a wide range of sins. He allowed six hits and three walks in seven innings, but experienced curious difficulty with the weak hitting Jamey Carroll. The #8 hitter came into the game batting .180, but both runs came in the same way: Carroll reached safely, was bunted to second by Francis, and then driven in by lead-off hitter Spilborghs. It's one thing to have the likes of the H-Bombs beat you, but when Jamey Carroll does...
Nice to see Brandon Medders have a good outing, pitching two innings without...well, without any home-runs, for a start. Actually, they were hitless, with a walk and two strikeouts: be good to see him getting back on track. Between that and the eight innings from Hernandez v2.0 last night, the bullpen has had a much-needed break. That's especially critical, since it looks like we'll be a man short over the weekend, with Edgar Gonzalez being the most likely candidate to replace Randy for his start on Friday. More on that later.
It was a particularly deflating end to the game. We had two men on with one out, and Tony Clark swinging a bat with ominous intent in the on-deck circle. But then Fuentes whirled and picked Mark Reynolds off second base by about twenty feet. It looked perilously like a balk to me, but it has to be said my detailed knowledge regarding the specifics of that rule is about as good as any other baseball fan's. So, rather than the tying run being on base with one out, it was at the plate with two outs in the shape of Chris Snyder, who has just two HR this year. He flew out: game over, and Chase Field sounded more like Grant's Tomb.
However, the story once again was generally the lack of hitting. Half of the six hits came from the bat of Mark Reynolds, who's now hitting .393 (11-for-28) to start his major-league career. Never mind Callaspo not having a job, Reynolds could end up replacing Chad Tracy - especially against left-handed pitching. I know it's a tiny sample size, but Reynolds already has seven hits off lefties - that's more, in 15 at-bats, than Tracy has had all season against southpaws. Last night, nobody else reached base more than once.
Scott Bordow weighs in on the topic in today's Tribune. "I'm not about to reverse course and criticize the Diamondbacks for going with their younger players. It was the right thing to do, and it remains the right thing to do. But with the pitching better than anyone imagined -- and the division race up for grabs -- the Diamondbacks can't just sit back and assume guys like Drew, Jackson and Quentin will start to hit." He advocates more playing time for Jackson, and wants management to see if they can add a power hitter. I'm less convinced, and would rather see us try something less risky: firing hitting coach Kevin Seitzer might be a better alternative, given our failures with the lumber.
Understandbly, a somewhat subdued GameDay thread, with AZDarkKnight, Muu, johngordonma, unnamedDBacksfan, singaporedbacksfan, soco and suitsmetoATnT present. After the past couple of games, it looks like the offensive outburst over the weekend was a false dawn. There are a lot of hitters who will want May to end: in particular, we have four everyday spots batting below the Uecker line for the month. That's Drew (.194), Quentin (.188), Snyder/Montero (.182) and Hudson (.178). Not surprising we're struggling.
As noted above, we won't be seeing Randy Johnson on Friday. The exact reason is unclear: there's the official reason, but reading between the lines in the Republic, Nick Piecoro doesn't exactly sound convinced. He says, "Johnson is sidelined because of what the team is calling 'forearm tendinitis'" - emphasis added. In the light of other recent events, such as Johnson's failure to accompany the team to Houston, and his rapid exit the start before last, we can be excused our suspicions that there may be more to this than we're being told.