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AZ 1, Yankees 4 - Bronx Cheers

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Record: 37-28. Change on last season: +2. Pace: 92-70

Quote of the Day: "That's my game. I gave up three runs. Webby pitched a great game. I make that play, and you never know what happens. I haven't been doing too much lately swinging the bat, leaving runners on, not getting guys in. Can't make mistakes against this team. Lately, I haven't been doing much of anything. -- Orlando Hudson

An irritating loss, one that largely comes about because the Yankees took advantage of their opportunities, and we didn't. And they didn't hang around either, scoring three runs before Webb made the first out of the first inning. Orlando Hudson made a wild throw on the first batter of the game, and gloomily shouldered the blame for all three runs which resulted. He's likely being hard on himself: though that did open up a hole for the subsequent hit-and-run by Jeter, I don't think he's responsibile for the three-run homer hit by Abreu.

That was all the offense the Yankeen would need - and, almost, all the offense they'd get. After that rude start to his career in the House That Ruth Built, Webb settled down a great deal better, only allowing one more run over the next seven innings. And even this could perhaps have been avoided, if Drew had come home on a bases-loaded double-play ball, rather than throwing to second. Overall, he allowed five hits and two walks, another quality start for the rotation, which - save for Davis's miserable outing against the Sox - has gone above and beyond almost every outing for three weeks or more.

If only the same could be said for the offense, which continues to scuffle. Another game, another day failing to get a hit with runners in scoring position. Disturbing stat in the Republic this morning, that we're currently batting just .100 with RISP over the past seven games. It's something of a miracle that we're still tied for first in the division given such miserable production. Now, sabermetric theory says there's basically no such thing as clutch hitting, and so we should come round eventually - these things will even out, over the course of a season. That doesn't make it any more palatable at the moment though.

Only seven hits and one walk for the team, with Tracy the sole person to reach twice, on a hit and a walk. Indeed, as his hit was a fourth-inning homer, he was also the only Diamondback to drive in a run or score one. We outhit the Yankees 7-5, and both sides managed one homer and one double. The NY advantage was largely because they managed to bunch them together in the first. We had our best chances in the opening inning (first and third, one out) and eighth (leadoff double) but were simply unable to convert from there.

Despite (or perhaps, because of?) the rain which delayed first pitch, a decent turnout in the GameDay thread. Just Me, AZDarkKnight, Goose, johngordonma, oklahomasooners, MFAB, Ben, VIII, unnamedDBacksfan, Frank, hotclaws, andrewinnewyork, singaporedbacksfan and DiamondbacksWIn were all present. Goose had some harsh things to say about the NL: certainly, interleague play hasn't been kind to the NL West, who are a dreadful 10-22 this year, compared to 14-22 for the Central, and 18-14 for the East. At least it's not just Arizona, with everyone in the division sporting a losing record.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chad Tracy, +1.8% (!!)
God-emperor of suck: Carlos Quentin, -11.4%

Looking at the expanded standings, it's clear our division is very good at beating up on crap teams - the Devil Rays yesterday excepted, apparently. The Diamondbacks lead, with a 24-14 record against teams below .500, compared to 13-14 facing winners. [Weirdly, the Braves are the only NL side with a winning record against teams better than .500 (19-13) - and they have a losing record (16-17) against sub-.500 opponents!] That page also shows figures over the past 10, 20 and 30 games, and the West is remarkably tight: save the Giants, the other four teams' are within one game of each other at all three periods of time.

As noted in the diaries section, Scherzer pitched seven perfect innings for Visalia: no hits, no walks and 13 strikeouts, before getting pulled after 88 pitches. That brings his line in two starts for the club to:
Scherzer: 12 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 21 K
I don't think he'll be long for the California League if he continues to maintain that level of performance.

However, he might not ever make it to Tucson. That's because the Sidewinders have been sold, and are expected to move to Reno for the 2009 season. Whether the new owners will retain the link to the Diamondbacks remains to be seen. As for Tucson, with the White Sox leaving Spring Training there by 2012, it might not be long before baseball abandons the city entirely. It's a little sad, but I can't say I'm too surprised: the team drew very badly, even as they were the best in the minors last year. Might have to make a farewell trip there next year.