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AZ 3, Phillies 2 - Night of the Long Bombs

Record: 19-16. Change on last season: 0. Pace: 88-74.

Quote of the day: "Excuse me, miss - I don't recall ordering that." -- some poor diner at Friday's Front-Row Grill last night, after Eric Byrnes deposited a pitch into the eating establishment.

Normally, a 457-foot homer, especially a pinch-hit one off the strikeout meter in right, that gave Arizona the lead, would be the talking point of the game. Certainly, in no way do I wish to underestimate the importance of Clark's blast, which allowed Arizona to take a 3-2 advantage with two outs in the seventh. However, even though they'd hold on for victory from there on, Tony's effort was probably just a wee bit overshadowed.

I refer, of course, to Eric Byrnes monstrous 473-foot home-run, the second-longest in the history of the ballpark (behind Sexson's Jumbotron shot), which ended up an unexpected side-dish, alongside the chicken tenders and fries. Bet that was a shock. I've been on the upper deck there; it's a long way from home-plate, and you really aren't paying attention to proceedings in quite the same way as, say, down the foul lines on the lower level.

After the game, Melvin reckoned Clark's blast was as long as Byrnes's, but in any case, they both only counted as one run. Wouldn't really expect much more from out offense, which ran out its eighth straight game scoring four runs or less: we're managed only 21 runs in total over those games, but still won three of them. Help that our run of sterling starting performances continued, with seven strong innings from Micah Owings: five hits, though two of those also left the park. Like Arizona, however, they were solo shots, limiting the damage.

Is it too early to start speaking about Owings as Rookie of the Year? Certainly, he's a credible contender: here are the statistics for NL rookie pitchers who've pitched 20 innings or more. Pwnings leads the pack at the moment, with his ERA of 3.18, the next best being Houston's Albers at 3.32. On the hitting side, his biggest competitor so far is probably Josh Hamilton from Cincinnati, who is batting .289 with 8 HR so far. That'd definitely be the feel-good choice, I guess.

Couple of minor sidelights; kudos to Lyon and Peña for their sterling work out of the bullpen, each pitching a perfect inning. Obviously, the tying run was still coming to the plate - six times - but it was nice to see our relievers get their jobs done, and not a side-diversion of them playing Tetris with the opposing hitters on the base-paths ("Oh, look: second-base is open. How can we squeeze someone on there?"). Peña got his second career save as a result.

Discounting the long-balls, Arizona struggled again at the plate: seven hits and only two walks - both of them going to Alberto Callaspo. Chris Young had two more hits in the leadoff spot, and has got his average up to .230, which is almost a season high. Since April 29th, he's hitting .300 (12-for-40), which is a good sign. Eric Byrnes also had a couple of knocks, and his average is creeping back up towards .300 (it's at .295), which is the best it has been for a couple of weeks.

I came home last night to find seven comments on yesterday's game. I say again: seven - for a tense one-run contest like last night. Well, of course, I'm in no position to criticize, having been responsible for precisely, oh, none of them. But I remember fondly the days, not so long ago, when we had 200 or more for a game... Still, I treasure each one like a tiny little gem, and thanks to an overnight surge, we did reach double figures. Phew. Thanks to Muu, webby17, quintero, DBACKS KICK ARSE, unnamedDBacksfan, Ben, DiamondbacksWIn, Englishdback, soco and cavscout. So, what about that Steve Nash, eh? :-)

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Tony Clark, +23.0% [Byrnes = +22.8%]
God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew, -8.9%

And with everyone else in the NL West losing, our alleged "dog-fight" with the Rockies for last-place in the NL West now sees us...one game out of first in the division. Hell, we must have these canine battles more often. Promises to be an interesting battle this afternoon - the underlining is as much to remind me as anyone else - with another pair of veteran left-handers on the mound. Speaking as a veteran left-hander myself, I'm pleased to see this proof that we can remain effective well into our forties. That said, I would be much happier if Johnson got his first win today, as well as lowering that ERA. I imagine the Yankees fans would be gloating - if it weren't for the Igawa nightmare, which has the potential to make Russ Ortiz look like a bargain right now...