Record: 50-46. Change on last season: +1. Pace: 84-78
Quote of the Day: " He threw me a couple of sliders, and I looked pretty stupid on those. I was just spread out looking for anything." -- Mark Reynolds
It's a win. Let's focus on that for a moment. We beat the team leading the National League Central, on the road. This kept us up in the West title race, and allowed us to retain sole possession of third-place. It was awesome to hear Miller Park go from a cauldron of intensity to a morgue in one swing of Mark Reynolds' bat. A quality start from Doug Davis, with six innings of three-hit ball, and our team ERA since the All-Star break is now 3.12: we haven't conceded more than four runs in a game since July 7th.
Now, the bad news. Reynolds' homer was about the only hard-hit ball we managed all day. It came off a pitcher who hadn't appeared in the majors since 2004 [though you do have to love a man whose name, as his B-R.com page points out, is Allow Walks]. The two runs we did score came about largely because Kevin Mench fell over in the outfield. And we managed only four hits off seven innings of Chris Capuano, proving once again that Arizona are the baseball gods' gift to underwhelming pitchers.
Whether you look at this as a glass half-full or half-empty situation is really a matter of perspective. You could say that this is what good teams do: find ways to win, even when they're not playing well. But you could also say, same old D-backs, in the parlance of our times, with a weak offense and a pitcher who still won't make hitters earn their way onto the bases. However, it probably does not deserve much analysis, being only 1/162nd of the season. I doubt it'll be looked upon as a turning point come season end.
Indeed, Davis's outing was a microcosm of the game as a whole. The end result was fine, the only runs coming on a Mench homer, after he missed his spot, going down when he should have been up. Three hits over six innings, and just those two runs, brought his ERA down to 4.13. But his breaking ball...well, didn't, and he added five more walks to his NL-leading total. His WHIP is still 1.71, totally incompatible with his ERA. Check out this report. No pitcher since 1927 has thrown 100+ innings with such a Davis-like combo of High WHIP and low ERA.
Still, Reynolds delivered. DbacksSkins was wondering what his stats extrapolate to over a full season: assuming 500 at-bats, that'd be 25 HR and 92 RBI, to go with a .277 average and .878 OPS. I think we'd certainly settle for that, but not quite sure we can rely on it - he had a miserable June, batting only .162, with a K:BB ratio of 27:6. Reynolds has started July better, batting .290 - and looking at his BABIP, it's only .273, so doesn't appear to be flukish. [In May, his BABIP was an unsustainable .475!]
Other good stuff? Chris Snyder has his first multi-hit game since May 26. And the bullpen added three more innings to their ongoing scoreless streak, which now stands at 16.2 blank innings. It looked a little wobbly in the eighth, as Pestileñce, in his second inning of work, put two on with one out, but got Graffanino and Miller to end the inning. We also dodged a bullet in the sixth: in a tie game, the Brewers put two on, but the same two hitters as above both flew out to Young on the first pitch from Davis. [Speaking of Young...he's hitting an ugly .160, with 12 K's and two walks, this month.]
Thanks to DbacksSkins, who ploughed a lonely furrow through the middle innings of this one, while I was heading home. Also to be found in the thread were AZDarkKnight, Muu, oklahomasooners, singaporedbacksfan and TwinnerA. As noted, this was almost a must-win game, with the Dodgers, Padres and, don't look now, Rockies, all winning their games. Gives us a chance to split the series if we can take this afternoon's game: memo to self, start working on the GameDay Thread now, since it's an 11:05 start AZ time! I'll bring the coffee, you bring the donuts...