Record: 72-56. Change on last season: +9. Pace: 91-71
Playoff odds: 65.1%. Playoff Magic Number: 32
Quote of the day: "It was a streak that was amazing to me that I was able to do it. It was fun while it lasted. I'm hoping to start a new one" -- Brandon Webb
All the great expectations of the streak evaporated like Michael Vick's endorsements [okay, last Vick reference. I promise!], as the Brewers ended Webb's run of consecutive zeroes after just one out in last night's game. But I think you, me and Brandon Webb would probably accept trading it for a much-needed victory, one that kept our lead in the National League at a respectable 3.5 games.
I also think it was as much a relief as a disappointment to Webb. Until Fielder ended it, poking a hanging pitch to left-field, Webb didn't have his best stuff at all, with less than half his deliveries being strikes. But immediately afterwards, he carved up Ryan Braun on three straight pitches, which was a thing of beauty to behold. And from the first on, he was the ace we've all come to know and love: after the run, he retired fourteen of the next fifteen hitters, with the other one reaching on an error by Drew.
And even when the Brewers threatened, with back-to-back doubles to tie the game in the sixth, and put the go-ahead run at second with no outs, a flyball and two K's ended the threat. Though, it must be said, at least one and possibly both those hits should have been snuffed out by the defence. Young, in particualr, totally over-ran a fly-ball in right-center, and it bounced into the pool area. Clark also got his glove on a ball hit by Counsell, but it ricoheted foul for an RBI double.
Disturbing news on the broadcast, with Melvin saying Tony Clark is going to see more playing time down the stretch. Why? Putting his (very valuable) pinch-hit appearances aside, when he plays first-base, Clark is batting just .225 with an OPS of .691. When doing the same for Jackson, he bats .290, with an OPS of .811. Really. We've all made more difficult decisions that this. It's not as if Jackson is wearing down, either: since the All-Star break, he's hitting .297. There is no justifiable reason to play Clark more, except for Bob Melvin's undying man-crush on the veteran. I'm all in favor of signing Clark to a coaching role, but anything more than a pinch-hit role shouldn't even be considered.
Offensively: just enough. Chris Young continued his amazing streak, with his 26th homer of the season, and 22nd solo shot. He's now gone three weeks and seven homers, without driving in anyone else but himself. His 47 RBI are the least in baseball history by anyone with 25 or more homers: the next lowest is Ron Gant, who had 54 RBI and 26 homers in 2000. Orlando Hudson had three hits, getting his average back up above .300, and we only struck out once. Probably largely because Mark Reynolds sat this one out. :-)
Jose Valverde got the save, though with his usual dramatic flair, the tying run reaching third before he got the final out. But the real save probably belongs to Brandon Lyon, who faced a much tougher trio, including both Prince Fielder (NL leading 39 homers) and Ryan Braun (.332 with 24 homers), and retired them in order. Speaking of the bullpen, Pestileñce says, surprise, surprise, that he is gassed. "My arm is a little tired right now. I've thrown a lot of innings. But I'm good. My arm's tired, but I can keep working. It's normal. It's a long season." For any pitcher to admit to being "a little tired" is rare: you know that just represents the tip of the ice-berg.
The early departure of Webb's scoreless streak probably ended all thoughts of us breaking the Gameday Thread comment record. Though, it has to be said, the crowd of 32,000 was a little smaller than I expected, given the situation. Still, that's not too bad, for a midweek game against a team from another division, without a large fan-base. The TV ratings were pretty good, the broadcast being the most-watched program for the entire day in the Phoenix market, pulling a 6.7 rating/11 share. Oddly, it peaked, not at the start with Webb's streak, but at the end, reaching 8.1/12 from 8:45-9:00pm.
That actually seems to mirror the presence in the Gameday Thread, which certainly picked up pace later on. As the streak ended, at one point I posted four comments in a row, which is positively unheard of. :-) No chance of that this weekend, since I'll be at all three Cubs games. Anyway: also present: DBACKS KICK ARSE, LucaMaz3, johngordonma, hotclaws, cavscout, DbacksSkins, snakecharmer, Ben, VIII, Muu, Peachy, 4CornersFan, RJZ1977, oklahomasooners, singaporedbacksfan, andrewinnewyork, G Dub and soco.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Webb +20.6%
God-emperor of suck: Eric Byrnes, -16.2%
[and that's not including the front-flip which let the tying run reach scoring position in the ninth]
Honorary "Well done!": Brandon Lyon, +12.4%
Minor things. Doug Davis starts Saturday, getting pushed up a day because of his brief encounter last time out. Petit gets dropped back to Sunday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see us going to a 4-man rotation as far as possible, down the stretch. And we're also getting hits on the site apparently from an ESPN Rob Neyer column: since it's behind the Insider wall, I have no idea why. If anyone can shed light on this, it'd soothe my curiosity!