Record: 65-51. Change on last season: +6. Pace: 91-71
Playoff odds: 48.1%. Magic number: 44
Quote of the day: "You are slapping fives with guys and pulling for guys, but you haven't done much but be there and be supportive. I think that's the fastest I've run all year. Then I slid, and I realized I had surgery earlier this year." -- Jeff Cirillo
Even the Run Differential predictions are begin to love Arizona after last night's, putting us in the mid- to high-40's with the best chance in the division. Doug Davis is developing into a very nice 1-2 punch with Webb, delivering his seventh quality start in a row last night. I think we've forgive them for hitting a combined .056 this season, as since the start of July, Davis has a 2.86 ERA, and Webb 2.59. I'd put those two against any other 1-2 in the league right now. Well, almost: the Padres duo of Peavy and Young, over the same time, are at 2.54 and 1.61, albeit in a more pitcher-friendly park.
There was initially a sense of deja-vu about the game, as the Pirates scored two in the first to jump ahead. The bad news was, the D-backs failed to score four times in the bottom half. The good news was, the Pirates failed to score in their eight next trips to the plate, and Arizona chipped away, tying it in the fourth on RBI singles by Clark and Snyder. A Hudson single scored Cirillo with the go-ahead run in the seventh, and Clark bounced one off the top of the right-field wall to complete the scoring.
Davis provided a very necessary for the bullpen, lengthy outing, going seven innings, with five hits and three walks: Bay's two-run homer in the first was the only damage. Lyon was helped by a double-play in the eighth; otherwise, the double which followed would probably have tied the game. Valverde came in and mowed the opposition down in the ninth, striking out two: his next save will tie Kim's franchise record. It'd be kinda cool if it came in Kim's next start, on Tuesday.
The offense was in more of a grinding mood than free-flowing, but Hudson and Clark enjoyed two hits, while Byrnes and Snyder each reached safely twice, with a hit and a walk. Cirillo got his first hit in a D-backs uniform, a pinch-hit hustle double off the bench, that eventually became the go-ahead run. Snyder is having a great second-half, and his OPS of .761 is third of 19 among NL catchers (min. 150 PAs).
Hence, we bring you the latest in the line of SnakePit nicknames: this one was suggested by DiamondbacksWIn in the GameDay thread yesterday, who proposed our catcher should be dubbed "Snyderman". Now, I know Quentin had semi-claimed something similar after a clinging catch to the outfield wall, but I feel he did not truly justify it, so feel it's not a problem. Besides, I came up with a theme-song for him:
Does whatever a Snyder can.
Catches Webb, calls the signs
Nails base-thieves, just like flies.
Look out! Here comes the Snyderman.
Is he strong? Just ask Grace
Smacking homers out of Chase
He can swing, to drive in Drew
Or take a walk, 'cos pitchers do...
Hey there! They fear the Snyderman.
In the heat of the night,
At the scene of the crime,
Like a streak of light,
He throws to second just in time!
Friendly neighborhood Snyderman.
Wealth and fame, he's ignored--
Action is his reward.
To him, life is a great big bang-up--
Wherever there's a hang-up,
You'll find the Snyderman!
I feel there's room for improvement - the last paragraph is actually unchanged from the original, and some of the rhythm could be worked on. All suggestions from the more lyrically-inclined, gratefully received. One of these days, we'll get Darin Sutton and Mark Grace to sing it on TV. :-)
Slow start to the Gameday Thread yesterday, but much like our offense, it picked up strength as it went along. DBACKS KICK ARSE got it rolling, and was followed to the plate by DiamondbacksWIn, singaporedbacksfan, DbacksSkins, johngordonma, soco, Muu, mikeb (welcome!) and icecoldmo. Six consecutive series won - the first time we've done that since 2000, I believe, so that's something even our World Series heroes didn't manage. And with the cellar-dwelling Nats arriving this weekend, who'd bet against them making it seven in a row?
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Doug Davis (pitching), +21.2%
God-emperor of suck: Doug Davis (hitting), -10.5%
Honorary quite-goodness: Chris Snyder, +12.9%
Padres lost. Rockies lost. Phillies lost. A good day to win, putting us three games clear at the top of the division, with a 3.5 game advantage on the leading non-NL West wild-card team, Atlanta. Most wins in the National League, and as well as looking at making the playoffs, we can maybe begin thinking about stuff like seedings, and home-field advantage. Who would we like to face in the first-round of the playoffs? And, conversely, who would we rather avoid?
Finally, from the Tribune: "Doug Slaten wears a pink backpack when walking to the D-Backs' bullpen these days. The backpack contains candy and snacks for the bullpen, and as the player with the least amount of major league service time Slaten is in charge of transportation. A backpack was chosen after the original carrying case, a tool box, was misplaced." I wonder if the backpack has Hello Kitty on it?