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Diamondbacks 4, Padres 0 - From Zeroes to Heroes

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Record: 59-49. Change on last season: +4. Pace: 88-74
Playoff odds: 26.1%. Magic number: 55

Quote of the day: "It looks like a floral shop just threw up all over him" -- Chris Snyder, on Brandon Webb's new shirt.

What better way to get over a shutout defeat, than by posting a shutout victory? Okay, we didn't quite score the same number of runs - we got the four, just missed the one out before it - but after the Silence of the Livans we saw on Sunday, it was nice to see the normal order restored. That would be Arizona in sole possession of first in the National League West, Webb getting the win, and dropping his ERA to 3.08, thanks to seven shutout innings of three-hit ball.

Milton Bradley was the only batter to have any success against Webb, going 2-for-2 with a walk. The rest of the Padres lineup combined: 1-for-21 with a walk. It was good to see Webb succeed, even though the Padres stacked their line-up with left-handed hitters. He's had problems against them in the past: over his career, he's murdered right-handers (.212/.270/.286) but lefties have done a lot better (.275/.352/.425). Last night, his change-up was particularly effective, and that was responsible for seven swinging strikeouts.

A little surprised to see Peña come out for the ninth, after Melvin employed a double-switch to bring Lyon into the game for the eighth. Lyon only threw twelve pitches, thanks to a sweetly turned double-play, and was throwing on three days rest, so I would have thought he could have coped with another inning, rather than burning another reliever.

As in his previous outing against us, Germano allowed only four hits. However, two of those left the yard, courtesy of the en fuego Chris Young and Stephen Drew. CY finishes the month with 8 HR, trailing only the twin Ryans, Braun and Howard, in the National League. Of course, that's the same number as the Yankees hammered out yesterday...

We were efficient, scoring four runs on only five hits: Hudson had a pair, but Quentin was 0-for-3 with 3 K's. Must be the Tucson water as, since his return, Quentin is 2-for-14 with no walks and five strikeouts. He finishes July batting .087 for the month, with as many HBP's as hits. :-( Plenty of K's to go around, the two sides combining for 21: Young and Webb also managed three whiffs each, but given their contributions elsewhere, I'm inclined to let them off.

Thanks to the contributors in the Gameday Thread - even hotclaws, who was contributing to an entirely different thread! Muu, AZDarkKnight, LucaMaz3, andrewinnewyork and DbacksSkins found their way to the right place... :-) A fine set of results, with the Dodgers losing to the Giants, to give us a clear lead in the division, and also expand our lead in the wild-card. Don't look now though, but the Cubs could be the biggest threat, as they're on a surge. However, the Brewers should be a lot more scared than Arizona, to be honest...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Webb [pitching], +34.2%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Webb [batting], -4.8%
Honorary quite-goodness: Eric Byrnes, for that first-inning grab to save a run

New poll up: player of the month for July. For your consideration, here are the batting and pitching stats for the month. No obvious winner, so be interesting to see how the votes go. We finished the month with a 13-13 record: that's a bit ho-hum, but is a damn sight better than it was on the 20th, when we were 4-12! And we can't complain, given we started the month 1.5 games back, and ended it a game clear at the top. Micah Owings staged a late come-back to win our poll on whether or not to keep his rotation spot: Nippert is the next best option, according to our readers.