Record: 49-43. Change on last season: +3. Pace: 86-76
Quote of the day: "Right now we're getting hits at the right time, and that's what we've been preaching all year is being accountable and getting the big hit with two outs. "Guys are starting to step up and hopefully guys can keep this momentum going." -- Chad Tracy
The Padres bullpen? They're vastly over-rated. They may have come into the series with a major-league best ERA, almost a run better than anyone else, but much like Chris (the pitcher) Young's stats, that's apparently inflated by playing in a park where herds of buffalo stream across the outfield, and the Navy have set up a bombing-range in the power alleys during games without anyone noticing. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but over the past couple of days, the San Diego relief corps have been Not As Advertised.
In fact, they've been something we've enjoyed seeing immensely, to the tune of 14 hits and eight runs in seven innings of work this series. That continues the overall theme this season, where their ERA is 5.87 against Arizona, more than double the overall figure. "We'd like to keep it like that," said Tracy, theorizing that our success is because the Padres have a number of new pitchers with whom D-backs hitters are now getting familiar. Certainly, going 5-for-5 off Cla Meredith - who came in with an OBA of .179 - suggests we've not just got their number, but we have it on speed-dial.
Speaking of Tracy, an interesting comment, particularly in the post-Seitzer era, from Melvin: "The last two days it seems like the ball's jumping off his bat again. I don't think he's changed his approach. It just seems like he's getting a cleaner look at it. He's getting the head out, maybe not staying behind (the ball) as much." Coincidence? Or is this like the bit in Dracula where they rejuvenate the stricken, vampire-drained Arthur with a transfusion?
Certainly, through the first four innings, our bats looked as if they'd had the life sucked out of them. While Chris (the pitcher) Young's sub-two ERA is certainly helped by that 0.80 figure in Petco, he shut Arizona down almost completely, retiring the first thirteen hitters he faced, up until Clark's homer put us on the board in the bottom of the fifth. But it was the seventh we broke the spine of Padres' resistance, scoring three times on five singles and two sacrifice flies. That tied the game at four, and Tracy drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth, allowing Joe Greenvalley to notch the save, getting Kouzmanoff to hit into a double-play to end it.
The recipe for success was much the same as yesterday: good hitting (three for Clark, whose average has gone up 26 points in two days; two for Tracy) and clutch hitting too, as we were 4-for-7 with RISP. Meanwhile, the Padres has only three at-bats with runners in scoring position: Hernandez wasn't at his sharpest, allowing three homers, but four earned runs in six innings was just good enough. Famine, War and Death took things the rest of the way: we've seen two outbreaks of War in this series, so I'm think he'll get the day off today. Pestileñce should be available, however.
And let the record show, the fifth-inning homer by Tony Clark, which was our very first hit of the game, and which started the comeback, happened at the moment I was making this post in the GameDay Thread. I hereby anoint St. Penelope of the Cross as the patron saint of AZ SnakePit. Her image, clearly being of extraordinary power, is not to be invoked lightly, or by those not of the faith, but is to be marked For Emergency Use Only: lesser saints, such as the Blessed Salma of Hayek, are available for more general use. What with St. Penelope and the Four Relievers of the Apocalypse, we've got the makings of a nice SnakePit pantheon...
Fun, if perhaps somewhat politically incorrect, GameDay Thread - I think we used our entire quota of cheesecake for the month! Present were oklahomasooners, AZDarkKnight, DbacksSkins, hotclaws, unnamedDBacksfan and nargel, but probably fortunately, Mrs. SnakePit was recuperating - otherwise, weeks of snarky comments about me and Johnny Depp would follow. :-) The good news is, she's much better, and we'll be heading to Chase Field for this afternoon's game, brooms in hand. It's a shame the Giants rolled over for the Dodgers again, as we're stuck 2.5 games off the pace: I may have to bite the bullet and root... for... the... Giannnnnnn... No, sorry, can't do it: let's just hope The Big One hits the Bay Area this afternoon, and sweeps both teams into the Pacific.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chad Tracy, +22.5%
God-emperor of suck: Chris Young, -15.9%
Special bonus award for all-round awesomeness: St. Penelope of the Cross
Hey, Diamondhacks is writing for the Republic! Actually, it's John MacDonald, but perhaps that's a pseudonym, going by the two-page hagiography on Jerry G, which pronounces him the most godlike man ever to walk the Valley of the Sun. I mean, "It seems impossible to dispute that Colangelo endeavored to live his ideals: honesty, fair dealing and sharing the wealth. A handshake went beyond mere gesture. Great players sought the desert for more than weather: the owner was also warm, inviting and, in sports terminology, always seemed to play within himself."
Must have been difficult for MacDonald to type that with his nose buried in Colangelo's hindquarters. But I'm sure those sentiments will be echoed by "great players" like, ah, Bernard Gilkey, whose grandchildren will be put through school on Colangelo's largesse - even if he's no longer around to foot the bill. Apparently, Jerry also gets credit for "transforming downtown Phoenix into an active and thriving district." Well, for 1/4 of the week, at least: outside Mon-Fri, 9-5pm...more of a ghost town, really.