Record: 26-23. Change on last season: -3. Pace: 86-76
Quote of the day: "No, no, no, no. Not at all" -- Chris Young, on whether a DL stint will be needed. Hope he's right.
I enjoyed last night's game a great deal. For one, the Diamondbacks hit early, and hit often, posting a four-spot in the first inning to take a lead which the Astros never really came close to threatening. Micah Pwnings was allowed to cruise to his first career complete game, which really didn't look likely after he'd threw 24 pitches to get the first three outs, and then allowed six hits, a walk and a hit batter through the first three innings.
He settled down, and gave up only three more hits the rest of the way, finishing the game by striking out Everett with his 118th pitch of the night. That's very important, because we're using Edgar Gonzalez as our spot starter tonight, and he hasn't thrown even two innings for almost four weeks. If we can get five innings of out of his this evening, that will be a major win, and we'll likely need to burn up some members of the bullpen on this. [On this note, I wonder why they opted for EdGon rather than Dustin Nippert, who started for the Sidewinders on Wednesday night.]
The odd thing is, we weren't really out-hitting the Astros in numbers: after four innings each team had seven hits, but they'd left five men on base, while Arizona had abandoned only one. We were helped by some Houston insanity on the base-paths and some fine defense. A combination of both, in a strike from center-field by Young and Lee inexplicably being sent home, led to Snyder having time to read the paper, visit the Grand Canyon, and take in a movie [The Host looks like the best new release of the week] before Lee got there.
If the game was out of control, things did still get interesting later on. An inside pitch got away from Micah, and sailed dangerously close to Biggio. Despite no intent (what'd be the point?), the Astros' masculinity was clearly threatened, so Conor Jackson was the unlucky recipient of an entirely deliberate plunking as a result. I may be a home-fan, but that was total BS. There's a reason Biggio is closing is on the all-time HBP record, and it's because he can't hit inside, so that's where he gets pitched. These things will happen. But by those "unwritten rules" (conveniently written here - see #26), the Astros felt the need to retaliate.
However, I love it when this kind of nonsense comes back to bite the team responsible. And Jackson came around to score on - oh, the irony - a bases-loaded HBP. That came to Carlos Quentin, though the pitcher grumped about him not making an effort to get out of the way. Duh! He's Carlos Quentin. Haven't you seen his minor-league statistics? He doesn't get out of the way. :-)
Three hits for Eric Byrnes, and two each for Jackson, Hudson and Drew, with the last-named having three RBIs. Chris Snyder also hit his third homer of the year. About the only slightly-disappointing feature was a K:BB ratio of 7:1, and that'll happen when, for example, O-Dawg saw only ten pitches in his four at-bats. Chris Young had to leave the game in the top of the fourth, after tweaking his groin. I'm hopeful - as is he - that this is nothing serious, although I'm beginning to question our medical staff. First Chad Tracy comes back to soon, and ends up having to go on the DL - now, something similar could happen with Young.
Add some excellent fondido burritos courtesy of Mrs. SnakePit and it all made for a very pleasant evening. In the GameDay thread, I was joined by Wimb, AZDarkKnight, unnamedDBacksfan, singaporedbacksfan, bobman824 (though he was just trying to contact me!), Goose and Frank. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have such an easy victory: while it's our tenth victory and 22nd game of the month, it is the first time in May we've won by more than three runs. Here's to a few more, since the Astros have now lost five in a row.
Well, that's a first - the same player is both the best and worst. But I'll happily settle for any game where our starting pitcher gets to go 0-for-4. For what it's worth, the worst position player was Chris Snyder at -1.6%, but the best hitter was only at +9.8% - Conor Jackson. This was truly a team effort, as far as win percentage goes.