Record: 49-45. Change on last season: +2. Pace: 84-78
Quote of the Day: "It's one of those situations where I don't care where I'm at in the lineup, I don't care where I play in the field, I just want to play.. -- Conor Jackson
You'd generally settle for hitting a season-high tying number of homers in a game, but it wasn't enough last night. For the ninth team this year, the D-backs hit three four-baggers, Young, Reynolds and Drew all going deep - but they were all solo shots, and they were also the only runs Arizona managed. Runs our record in three-homer games this year to 7-2: we won six straight to start the year, but have now dropped two of the last three. Echoes of a game back in 2004, too: on April 28th, we did exactly the same thing, hit three homers and went down 4-3 to an NL Central opponent (the Cubs in that case).
It's also the fifth game where Arizona homers out-numbered other hits [The last time was April 6th, 2004, where we had two homers and a single against Colorado. Last night, it was Young and Hudson who had singles; that and Hudson's walk, were all the hitters managed. The Brewers helped out with two errors, and once again, Arizona went ohfer with runners in scoring position. That's now 17 hitless at-bats with RISP since Tracy singled in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday. Homers are nice, but...
It started well enough, Chris Young led off the game with a homer, the second time he's done that, and his 14th of the year overall. [Only Beltran and Andruw Jones have more HR among NL center-fielders this season] However, Micah Owings gave it all back, and more: two homers allowed the Brewers to get a 3-1 lead before Owings retired his first hitter. He was fine after that: if you started counting from then on, his line would have been 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, but unfortunately, there are no mulligans in baseball.
AZ had some chances: in the third inning, we had men on the corners with one out, but Byrnes struck out on three pitches [should I mention he's hitting .200 since Independence Day?] and Tracy grounded out. We got the tying run in scoring position with one out in the seventh too, but Ojeda and Young couldn't get the hit.
And, as soon as Cordero came in for the ninth, it was game over. Arizona received a lesson on why he leads the league in saves, schooling Drew, Reynolds and Montero, by striking them all out on 12 pitches. We may have the Relievers of the Apocalypse, but the Brewers clearly possess The Beast: 37.2 innings pitched, 54 strikeouts. That's only five less than Livan Hernandez, who has thrown 121 innings...
Another loss in a one-run game: we've gone down in eight in the last ten of those, and our record is now 19-14, only a couple of games above random chance. The time when we seemed unbeatable in these, now seems a long time ago. About the only bright spot was Conor Jackson not embarrassing himself in left-field. That interesting development may well mark the end for the Free Scott Hairston movement: it's hard to see him having any kind of future with the Diamondbacks.
Though it didn't exactly help CoJack's batting - one wonders whether this kind of jerking around, both in position and line-up spot, affects hitters. Melvin certainly believes in switching things up. He has three players with guaranteed positions: Hudson (91 games), Drew (81) and Young (77), but after that, nobody has started even sixty games in the same spot. With lineups, it's even more chaotic: Hudson has been consistently in the three-hole (84 games), but the next most is Snyder, who's batted eighth 43 times. We've have had ten different players batting fifth and sixth, and eleven hitting seventh. Including pitchers, Melvin has used 92 different batting orders, in 94 games...
As noted in DbacksSkins diary, Jeff Salazar was thanked for his services, and sent down to Tucson, Jeff DaVanon's long-delayed recuperation having finally finished. Though the word is, AZ would like to have kept him in the minors a bit longer, but the rules prohibited them from doing so. We'll see whether DaVanon, like Salazar, becomes the regular right-fielder: I wouldn't be surprised if, at least initially, he's not quite up to playing every day. More starts for Jackson in left may be seen in future.
Really, I blame Wimb for the defeat. He made the first in-game post, then went off to bed right after Young's homer - and, boom, there went the neighborhood. icecoldmo, AZDarkKnight, hotclaws and DbacksSkins were also there. Not the best of starts to the road-trip, especially with the Dodgers and Padres both winning. If the D-backs don't pull their socks up, the season could effectively be over by the next next time they see Chase Field...
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Orlando Hudson: +11.8%
God-emperor of suck: Chad Tracy: -17.2%