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AZ 4, Marlins 3 - Whatcho talking 'bout, Willis?

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Record: 53-48. Change on last season: +2. Pace: 85-77

Quote of the Day: "When I’m hitting seventh I’ll go in and joke with (Melvin), tell him I need to put some cotton swabs in my nose because I’m hitting so high up in the order I’ll get a nose bleed," Snyder said. "He came up to me today and told me, 'Go get your Kleenex, you’re hitting six-hole.’" -- Chris Snyder

Well, I guess we're slowly getting there: for the fourth straight game, we scored more or the same number of runs than the previous day, though we're still sitting at only four. We are getting more hits: during the three-game winning streak we're batting .257, despite scoring ten runs in total. That may not seem like much, but considering the five games prior to that, we hit .186, I'll take it: small steps...

Looked a bit flaky in the first inning, with Doug Davis giving up three hits, a walk and two runs. However, he settled down nicely after that, allowing only two more hits and a walk, for another quality start. After the first frame, he was steadily ahead of batters, which makes him a lot more effective - he struck out eight, mostly on pitches out of the zone, it seemed. Pestileñce, War and Death followed, though I do question Melvin's use of Peña to get only one out: why not go for a double-switch?

Indeed, I'm a bit concerned about the bullpen use of late, with Melvin apparently keen to ride the Four Relievers of the Apocalypse as hard as he can. Our horsemen have pitched 74% of relief innings since the break. In those eleven games, here's the pattern of use for our relief corps:

  • Tony Peña: 6 games, 6.1 IP
  • Brandon Lyon: 6 games, 6 IP
  • Juan Cruz: 5 games, 5.2 IP
  • Jose Valverde: 5 games, 5 IP
  • Doug Slaten: 4 games, 3.1 IP
  • Dustin Nippert: 2 games, 3 IP
  • Edgar Gonzalez: 2 games, 2 IP

The crunch could come tonight: with Valverde and Peña having both pitched three consecutive days, it would probably have to be Lyon to the mound if there was a save situation this evening, even though it'd be his third straight game as well. Hopefully, Hernandez 2.0 will go deep, and the score will permit Melvin to use EdGon and Nippert. Gonzalez has only thrown two innings since July 6, and Nippert 3.2. It's partly a function of the large number of close games: nine of the past sixteen have been decided by one run.

Orlando Hudson and Chris Snyder were the strongly-beating heart of the offense. O-Dawg smacked his first homer in a good while to tie the game at two, and re-tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single. Snyder had his third consecutive multi-hit game, getting our first hit in the second, and driving in the go-ahead run with two outs in the sixth. He's increased his average nineteen points during the streak, and sixty since it was at .179 on May 19. Chris Young also had two hits, and is batting .273 in the past nine games, so may be the next to come out of his slump.

No Drew or Tracy in the line-up: the latter might be an ongoing situation, as he'll be sitting until his knee heals. According to Melvin, it's not thought likely to require a DL stint, but I imagine the current crop of left-handed opposing starters [with two more to come on Wednesday and Friday] probably made the decision a bit easier. Mind you, Mark Reynolds is not exactly setting the world on fire, batting .190 with a K:BB ratio of 29:6 since June 16. Get well soon, Chad.

Nice to be around for an entire game, and an interesting set for comments. I'm going to make 'Should Bud Selig be present when Bonds sets the HR record?' the question in today's Gameday Thread, as I can see the case both ways. DbacksSkins, cavscout (who won his bet on Double-D's walks), singaporedbacksfan, AZDarkKnight, DiamondbacksWIn, johngordonma, LucaMaz3 (welcome to your first Gameday Thread!), muu, oklahomasooners and icecoldmo were also present. The Dodgers win, so we stay 3.5 back, but the slumping Padres lost again, so we're now 1.5 games off the pace for the wild-card. And the poll now runs 2-1 in favor of our season not being over yet. Baseball Prospectus gives our playoff odds at 7%, a distinct improvement over what it was.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Orlando Hudson, +27.7%
God-emperor of suck: Conor Jackson. -13.9%

And, to my amusement, we had a visitor here yesterday who arrived at the site by searching on Google for "Whose hotter? Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek?" A phrase for which we are currently ranked #9, grammatically incorrect though it may be. [A lecture on the difference between "whose" and "who's" is available on request.] Good to see the Church of St. Penelope and the blessed Salma of Hayek gaining popularity: and we seem to be doing quite well under their protection of late.