Record: 35-24. Change on last season: +1. Pace: 96-76
Quote of the Day: I think if you put yourself in a position to do those things, good things will happen. -- Randy Johnson
Congratulations to Randy Johnson: by fanning Ray Durham to end the fifth, allowing him to overtake Roger Clemens (until the weekend, at least!) for #2 on the all-time list, with a striking - hohoho! - 4,605. He tipped his cap to the crowd at Chase as he walked off the mound, but they demanded - and eventually got - a curtain call from our starter. As Dahlian noted in the diary, they used to have a board where they tallied the career K's; given the nature of the milestone, I'm surprised they didn't bring it back, for one night at least. Just to put the figure into context, the third-most by an active player is almost fourteen hundred back: Greg Maddux, on 3,210.
But as even Johnson noted, the win is the thing that really matters. While he may not have got the W to add to his personal tally, the Diamondbacks pulled it out in the bottom of the tenth inning, when Chris Young smoked one high and clear out of center field. Just another one-run win, which allowed us to leapfrog Los Angeles and keep us in a two-way tie for the lead in the NL West, with San Diego.
It wasn't easy, and perhaps it wasn't even merited, since Arizona were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position - it's not often you waste that many chances and still win. But a couple of solo homers and 2 RBI from Conor Jackson proved enough. Whatever you might say about CoJack's base-running skills, he is up there with Eric Byrnes as the hottest hitter on the club right now. Both had two hits last night: Jackson is batting .396 (21-for-53) since May 19, raising his average 61 points, and has 11 RBI in the last 14 games: that's a big improvement over the first 39, in which he only drove in five. So he is not just hitting, he's getting timely hits too.
A painful question must be asked, however. Has the sheen gone off Mark Reynolds? He was 0-for-5 last night, making him 2-for-16 since we arrived in New York. Small sample size, to be sure, but it does looks as word has got around, and pitchers have started treating him more deliberately. With Tracy currently expected back for the Red Sox series, if Reynolds continues to struggle, it could end up making Melvin's decision rather easier that it looked it might be, when Reynolds was batting .426.
On the pitching side, Johnson went his habitual six innings, which he's now done in five of his eight starts. This time, he did throw 95 pitches, which is perfectly respectable, allowing seven hits and striking out eight. However, he did walk one batter, his first in almost four weeks. That makes his K:BB ratio for the year 61:8. He really only made one mistake: unfortunately, that was smacked by Ortmeier into the left-center bleachers, tying the game at two [Just my luck; I walked into the bar to check the score, and that was the first pitch I saw!] He even hit a single, though was out trying to make it to third - despite a slide which looked, to be honest, like the end result of putting roller-skates on a giraffe.
Montero gave Johnson the chance at a win, with a homer off the bench in the bottom of the sixth, but unfortunately, Peña coughed up the lead again in the second inning of work. He did keep it tied, which gave Young the chance for his heroics in the tenth. Though perhaps the most interesting play was in the top of the tenth. With a runner on second and one out, Durham hit a fly to left, where Byrnes almost made a sprawling, full-extension, Web Gem catch. However, the ball spilled loose, and the runner tried to reach third, but Lyon was alertly covering. Ball, runner and pitcher arrived almost simultaneously and when the dust cleared, the runner was out, over the protests of the Giants. It was a good call.
Goose, DiamondbacksWIn, AZDarkKnight, icecoldmo, npineda, singaporedbacksfan, hotclaws, cavscout, soco and johngordonma were all more present in the Gameday Thread than I was. :-) A key win, and it's always nice to layeth one on the Giants. I took a peek over at the comments on McCovey Chronicles: not a lot of love there. I quote: "The Dbacks suck. Seriously they are a shitty ballclub with shitty offense and 2 solid starting pitchers. Wtf is going on." That'd be us seven games ahead of the Giants - though admittedly, that gap would be only one, if they used Pythagorean standings. Fortunately, they don't. :-)
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chris Young, +28.5%
God-emperor of suck: Mark Reynolds, -18.2%