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Diamondbacks 0, Padres 4 - Death By a Thousand Cuts

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Record: 49-44. Change on last season: +3. Pace: 85-77

Quote of the day: "There were a lot of broken-bat hits, and I felt two runs scored on three of the four broke-bat hits. So if I didn't strike them out I wasn't getting them out, and that's pretty much how it was." -- Brandon Webb

That was wretched, in just about every conceivable way. I think I knew it was going to be bad when Eric Byrnes, leading off the first inning - against a pitcher only Doug Davis had ever seen before - went swinging at the first pitch, and flew out to shallow left-center. It would probably have been better if we'd left there and then, and headed off to watch Transformers - or gone home, raided the larder, and pulled the blankets over ourselves.

Sunday must have been Turn Back the Clock Day at Chase. After the sterling work over the past couple of days, the Diamondbacks slid back to a note-perfect imitation of their form below the All-Star break, going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Probably the most painful failure came in the fourth inning, when it was still a one-run game. Byrnes walked, then stole both second and third base; a Hudson walk put men on the corners with one out, and we only trailed 1-0 at that point. However, Reynolds popped out weakly, and Conor Jackson then smashed a bullet back up the middle that Germano did an entirely lucky stab 'n' grab on, and threw him out at first. Again: we should have taken heed of these omens, and left early.

But we don't quit. We're too stubborn for that. Not even after Scott Hairston was replaced in left-field by a headless chick...sorry, my mistake, that was still Hairston. He butchered a ball so badly that Adrian "four career triples" Gonzalez ended up on third, and scored the game's second run. Meanwhile Marcus Giles and Khalil Greene both doubled their total of stolen bases for the year - to four and two, respectively - thanks to Webb's treacle-like delivery, and our ace then allowed an RBI single to Justin "four career hits" Germano. That should have been the sign for Melvin to go get him, but he left Webb out there for two more batters, leading to two more knocks and another earned run.

The final tally for Webb: 116 pitches, 5.2 innings, eleven hits, three earned runs and ten strikeouts. He's the first NL pitcher since 2003 to reach double-figures for both strikeouts and hits in the same game; the last was Randy Johnson, on September 19 that year (6 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 10 K). Oddly, that now means Arizona pitchers have five of the last six such outings on the Senior Circuit. Randy has two, and Curt a couple as well: the only non-D'backs pitcher to do it since 1999 is Ryan Dempster, on May 22nd, 2003.

Our bullpen performed solidly enough, the non-apocalyptic members of the relief corps [Nippert, Slaten and EdGon] combining for two hits over 3.1 innings of shutout ball. But our hitters were showing little or no patience at all: it took the Padres only 95 pitches to get through seven innings and 26 batters. We couldn't beg a break either; one particularly memorable out (Snyder, I think) ricocheted right off the Padres third-baseman, directly to the shortstop, who made the throw across to first for the 5-6-3 out. Meanwhile, the Padres were blooping, bleeding, and broken-batting their way to victory. The only bright light was Chris Young, who came in as part of a double-switch, and went 2-for-2.

Gameday Notes

  • Worst Promotion Ever. The UniVision 33 Wave: like we really need any encouragement for imbeciles who like to imitate trees and go "Woooo!" during a game. If that's what Univision brings to the game, they should toss all immigtrants out of the country tomorrow. Er, hang on... :-)

  • It strikes me that being D.Baxter would be the great job for a paedophile. You get to hug, squeeze and "play" with kids, plus you've got Baxter's Den to which you can lure your pray. Better yet, who would believe victims who said they'd been molested by a plush bobcat? That'd be as plausible as saying you'd been touched by your local pries... Ah, best scratch that too.

  • Had the misfortune to be sitting a few rows in front of the drunken a-hole contingent. After they started shrieking F-bombs (accompanied by a fug of stale beer), Mrs. SnakePit had to turn round and tell them to shut the hell up. I backed her play: though they slurred back abuse, being all mouth and no trousers, there were no more F-bombs. Hey, I've dropped my share of colorful language, but not at a Sunday afternoon game with a kids' promotion on. Where were the stewards? Measuring camera lenses and making sure signs didn't say anything displeasing about Barry Bonds, no doubt.

  • Our crowd totally sucks. They will get loud only when told to by the signs, and only for exactly as long as the signs say so. Soon as they get turned off, you could hear a pin-drop, even on a two-strike count with the bases loaded. Lame beyond all belief. There was a small group, I think on the level above and behind us, who tried late on to get a "Let's go, D-backs!" chant going. But by that stage, even I didn't even have the heart to join in.

  • Decent attendance, over 30,000 - helped by free Stephen Drew figures for the kiddies. That took the franchise average for the year so far to approximately 26,700 per game, about nine hundred up on last season.

  • After seeing the in-game plugs for Sliders, we went there after the game to check the place out, and get something to eat. Big mistake. Despite all the mention of "great food", they were only serving fried appetizers and pizza - not that the server bothered to mention that when giving us the menu. I ordered Heineken, but appear to have been served liquid gold in error, given the five bucks it cost. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Thanks to those who occupied the GameDay Thread in my absence. icecoldmo on the play-by-play, with help from unnamedDBacksfan, hotclaws, DbacksSkins, DiamondbacksWIn, cavscout and Wimb - you'll get used to icecoldmo's style of sardonic commentary eventually... :-) With the Dodgers completing their sweep over the Giants, we fall 3.5 games back, and head out on the road for what promises to be a tough road-trip. If we can post a winning record over the next seven games, I'll be very happy. Rather a lot of day games, it seems, which will make scheduling and participation of posts a little interesting. But we'll cope, somehow...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Eric Byrnes, +7.3%
God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew: -13.9%
Special bonus award for all-round badness: Sliders