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AZ 1, Orioles 7 - Chad the Bad Throws It All Away

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Record: 42-32. Change on last season: +6. Pace: 92-70

Quote of the day: "I'll try to forget about it and come back out tomorrow." -- Chad Tracy

Us too, Chad. What happened, guys? I leave you to face one of the weakest teams in the American League, with our ace on the mound, and it all goes to hell in a hand-basket? Sheesh. Hey, Baltimore: we feel sorry for you not being able to get a manager and all that. Here's an 4-0 lead you don't deserve. Anything else we can do? That was what the four unearned runs seemed like. We handed these to the Orioles in a second inning described by the Associated Press as "ghastly".

The Diamondbacks made three errors, tying a franchise record; Tracy first threw the ball down the right-field line, on what should have been a simple groundout, and later flipped the ball over Snyder's head, attempting to come home on another grounder. In between those botched plays, Brandon webb managed to pick an Oriole off - but dropped the ball in the ensuing rundown. That's five games in a row with an error for Arizona - the record is eight, during the 2004 season - and we all know how well that ended.

That gave the Orioles all the runs they'd need: they added two more in the third and a single in the fourth to make it 7-0, even without their star Tejada, who had his 1,152 consecutive game streak ended with a broken wrist. And there'd be no heroic comeback from the Diamondbacks in this one. Indeed, Cabrera, whom we'd slapped around last weekend in Baltimore, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. We managed only one more hit than errors - that'd be four in total, for the arithmetically challenged. At least the Chris Young Walk Watch ended, with him drawing not one, but TWO free passes, matching his tally in the previous 125 at-bats.

So, precious little to cheer about. Dustin Nippert got called up before the game, replacing Enrique Gonzalez. word is that EnGon could end up being Randy's 'shadow' down in Tucson, pitching on the same schedule as the Big Unit, in case Enrique is needed for an emergency start. Nippert performed very well, retiring all six hitters he faced, with EdGon and Peguero also posting zeroes. But with the score 7-0 by the time our bullpen was called upon, I might have been happier if they'd saved those zeroes for when we really needed them.

To no surprise, I found a deathly-quiet GameDay Thread on my return from Day Watch [which, incidentally, falls into the category of somewhat incoherent but visually amazing] - because it runs 130 minutes, we didn't get to see VNV Nation as planned (so we can't blame them, Devin!), but probably still had more fun than anyone watching the game. DbacksSkins, Ridster and Wimb got things started off, with the last-named ploughing a brave, lone furrow for much of this one - much credit due for such loyalty. Hotclaws, Muu, AZDarkNight,soco and devin slowed down as they drove past the wreckage of the game, to see if they could spot any dead bodies.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Eric Byrnes, +5.8%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Webb, -33.5%

I guess this illustrates one of the limitations of the FanGraph system, in that Webb doesn't really deserve to be down at -33.5% - especially when Chad Tracy sits smugly in the corner, wearing a "Who, me?" expression and sporting a bad, but hardly disastrous figure of -3.1%. It doesn't take fielding into account at all: it's based entirely on pitching and hitting. Given that before the first error, our win expectancy was 48.2%, but that it had collapsed, four unearned runs later, to 18.5%, the blame for this one needs to be spread around a little.

Cautious optimism for Randy Johnson, who threw 42 pitches from flat ground, as he tries to comeback from a relapse of his herniated disc. The plan is to play catch today, with a long-toss session on Sunday. Said Melvin, "Do we have a target date? Yes. Am I going to give it to you? No." Meanwhile, today's idiocy comes from Dan Bickley in the Republic, bemoaning the fact we didn't sign Eric Byrnes to a long-term extension. This ignores two things. Firstly, Byrnes has always been a first-half hitter: in the eighth season of his career, Eric's post-break BA is 58 points, and his OPS 177 points lower than the pre-break figure. He's a career .234 hitter following the All-Star Game. Secondly, Justin Upton hasn't slowed down in Double-A (.317/.379/.585 for a .963 OPS) and will likely be pushing for a roster spot come next spring. Younger, cheaper, better...though I admit that hasn't worked out so well this season!

Should be about for today's game, though I'm busy setting up a new computer. Well, new to me: it's a castoff from SnakePit Jr, but is still a major upgrade from the Windows ME version I've been using for the past six years. it's not actually that much faster, only about 400 MHz up, but it's got six times as much memory, which is a huge improvement. My existing one ground to a halt every time I had the temerity to do more than one thing at a time - such as print a file and surf the Net. A whole new vista of "getting stuff done" opens in front of me. Though the keyboard is just slightly different, so there'll be a few more tpyos before I'm done. ;-)