clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diamondbacks 11, Nationals 4 - A Walk in the Field

Record: 66-51. Change on last season: +7. Pace: 91-71
Playoff odds: 54.8%. Playoff Magic Number: 43

Quote of the day: "This is what I love about this team, it's a different guy every night," Jackson said. "It's what makes this team great. It's fun right now. It's fun. This is how the game should be played." -- Conor Jackson

Ok, SnakePit Jr. locks the front door, so the (pregnant) SnakePitette has to climb in through the kitchen window, causing both the dogs to go totally ballistic at 3 am, thoroughly wrecking my sleep patterns. Joy. To clear out dark thoughts of murdering all four of them, and nailing the corpses to the front door as a warning to others [we have a large front door...], I will write about the Arizona Diamondbacks, because that is bound to put a smile on my face. Sixteen wins in nineteen games? Best record in the National League? Hell, yes. We even improved our run differential nicely, with a seven-run margin only seen once since May 25th.

Obviously, phenomenal performance by the offense, getting twenty men on base, the most in a long while too [the June 19 game against Tampa, to be exact]. Jackson had three hits, with he, Hudson and Reynolds all reaching safely four times. Upton was hitless again, but did draw two walks, one intentional and the other with the bases loaded. Jackson was certainly the MVP, with a pair of two-run homers, first giving us the lead in the bottom of the first, then icing the cake by repeating the medicine in the eighth; he also had a great sacrifice bunt. Mark Reynolds drove in three, with a two-run single and another bases-loaded walk.

Nine hits isn't bad, but Arizona actually managed more walks, reaching double-figures there for the first time all season, as the Nationals were handing out free passes like it was Infectious Disease Awareness Day at Disneyland. It's obviously not the first occasion Arizona has had walks outnumber hits, but it's only the second time they've done it while getting so many hits - at Coors Field on September 22, 1999, they had eleven hits and twelve walks. It's also our 35th win in a row, when we score seven runs or more, so that streak remains intact too.

Hernandez 2.0 took the win, despite giving up three homers, extending his lead on top of the major-league pitching charts there. He has 28 in 25 games, and many more outing like tonight would leave him able to challenge Brian Anderson's franchise record of 39 in 1998 - Livan allowed 37 when playing for Floriday, that same season, quite an impressive feat in a pitcher-friendly stadium. As usual, the damage was limited because they were all solo shots: that's been the case for almost three-quarters (20 of 28) of the round-trippers he's allowed. All told, he gave up six hits and one walk, but despite the four earned runs, threw seven innings, allowing the bullpen more time to recover. Pestileñce and Sinister mopped up with scoreless frames.

It was a closer game than the score would suggest, especially for the inning and a half after the Nationals tied it at four. I sensed the possibility of another meltdown, but this is not your 2005 team - whom I seem to recall would fold like cheap sheats at the drop of a bloop single. No: if this team collapses, it's usually only the precursor to winning in the ninth-inning. They just find ways to win games, and it leaves me easily the most optimistic I've been about this team since 2002. Obviously, they won't got the rest of the season winning games at this clip, but the recent run has been an amazing joy, rendering the doom and gloomsters (and you know who you are!) all but speechless. And this team is only going to get better for the next few years...

DiamondbacksWIn, DbacksSkins, AZDarkKnight, bjn (welcome!), VIII, Muu, Wimb, seton hall snake pit, Devin, unnamedDBacksfan and dahlian, were on hand for this gorgeous victory. Most of the other teams with whom were competing won, so we didn't gain much ground in the standings: however, it's one more off the schedule, and also means only the Red Sox and Angels have a better record than the D-backs in the majors. I'd like to thank the NL East for their contribution to the cause: thus far, we have a .760 winning percentage when playing them, having taken nineteen of 25 games.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Mark Reynolds, +24.0%
God-emperor of suck: Chris Young, -6.9%
Honorary "Well done!": Conor Jackson, +21.4%

As bjn pointed out, Montero catches almost all of Hernandez 2.0's starts - only one this year has been with Snyder behind the plate, which is in sharp contrast to 2006, where Snyder caught nine of ten starts for Livan. Here's the breakdown by starts of our batteries:

  • Doug Davis: 19 Snyder, 5 Montero
  • Livan Hernandez: 23 Montero, 1 Snyder
  • Brandon Webb: 24 Snyder
  • Micah Owings: 11 Snyder, 8 Montero
  • Randy Johnson: 8 Snyder, 2 Hammock
  • Edgar Gonzalez: 5 Montero, 3 Snyder
  • Yusmeiro Petit: 4 Montero, 3 Snyder
  • Byung-Hyun: 1 Snyder

Webb and Hernandez definitely appear to have a strong preference, and one does wonder whether race - or, probably more likely, language - plays into this somehow: all our Hispanic pitchers have had the majority of their outings caught by Montero, all the Caucasian ones by Snyder. [Kim, being neither and...well, being Kim, is probably best left out of this discussion!] Hernandez leapt from Snyder to Montero this year, though we note the lack of starts he made last year with Estrada, and wonder about the meaning of that. Webb, on the other hand, was caught for three-quarters of 2006 by Estrada, but is now attached to Snyder, much as he was in 2004 [31 of 35 starts].

Time for a new poll: the Eric Byrnes one is still showing a healthy majority in approval (57%-25%), though that has dropped notably as the week has gone on. Could that be connected to Byrnes hitting .184 since he got the offer? We'll see... The new poll is, who do we think will be the biggest threat to our lead in the West as we head into the last forty-odd games. The Dodgers still have the big bucks, the Padres their pitching, and the Rockies are perhaps the most-dangerous offense, regardless of Coors Field. I'm sure there is another team in the division that I've forgotten, but I just can't bring myself to use them and "threat" in the same poll...