Record: 74-59. Change on last season: +10. Pace: 90-72
Playoff odds: 58.8%. Playoff Magic Number: 27
Quote of the day: "I still don't know why I got thrown out. He said, 'We better get it right,' that he didn't have a great angle. He said he was going to ask to make sure he got it right. When he came back to me, I said, 'How are we going to get it right?' and I was out." -- Bob Melvin
And the weirdness goes on. I get home from IZW to find the site displaying nothing but a blank page. Is this some kind of sardonic comment on the Diamondbacks' performance here? Merely a system outage? Or something more malevolent? Well, whatever it was appears to be affecting Gaslamp Ball, so whatever it is, is clearly not prejudiced particularly against the D-backs. However, things will still be a little odd as far as posting goes, probably for the rest of this week and through the weekend. Mrs. SnakePit is on a different shift, so I don't have my usual hour at work before clocking it to get caught up - not that I'd likely get that luxury, if the past two days are anything to go by. And we're heading off on Friday night for a quiet weekend at a resort in Carefree, so that'll likely impact my blogging capabilities on Saturday and Sunday. I trust snakecharmer is on standby. ;-)
Tonight's game was a vast disappointment. Our ace was dispatched after only 5.1 innings, his shortest outing in more than two months (June 22 in Baltimore, where he went only five), and his victorious streak came to a grinding halt, as he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and three walks. Most of the damage came in a four-run sixth, where a 3-2 lead suddenly became a 6-3 deficit. Admittedly, he did get jobbed somewhat, with the first-base umpire badly blowing a call, and then tossing Melvin for having the temerity to complain about it. It certainly didn't help Webb's cause, loading the bases with no outs. But then, neither did the single which followed to Bard. Or plunking Mackowiak to drive in another run. No: this just wasn't Webb's night, despite showing really nice form on an fourth-inning RBI double to send Justin Upton home for the tying run.
Nor, apparently, was it the offense's night. Indeed, it appears not to be the offense's millennium. With the exception of Conor Jackson, anyway, who fell a triple short of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. He's now batting .315 since the All-Star break. And, I guess, credit due to Chris Snyder, who reached safely three times, with a hit, a walk and a plunking. He's doing even better in the second half, hitting a mere .340. That has raised his batting average forty-six points for the season, to a very respectable (for a catcher) .258. They were the only Diamondbacks to get on base more than once. Upton and Reynolds were back in the lineup, but were a combined 1-for-8, with the only hit for our not-so-dynamic Double-A Duo, a bunt single by Reynolds, who also hit into a double play and fanned twice. Less playing time beckons.
Okay. So, we've dropped the first two games in this series, leaving us needing to beat Greg Maddux or Chris Young, if we want to hang on to sole possession of first place. And our offense still hasn't scored more than five runs, now for the past nine games. However, we do still have the lead in the division, with more wins than any other team in the National League, and our playoff situation is still relatively secure. We could drop behind the Padres and still make the playoffs as the wild-card team, so that is really the true benchmark of our current situation. At the moment, we're four ahead of the Phillies, and to be honest, the Mets (who have lost their last three) are probably more concerned about them than we should be.
I note, it isn't only us who are having attendance issues. Barely 23,000 at Petco tonight for a crucial match-up between the wild-card leaders and the division leaders, with the reigning Cy Young winner pitching too. That's actually over nine thousand less than the last time Webb pitched in San Diego - which was also a Tuesday night and against the same Padres starter, Germano, on July 31st. Where have all the Padres fans gone? Is there some kind of unheralded boycott? A change in color scheme that I didn't hear about? Nah, must be a "huge fracture in the franchise fan base, arrogantly cultivated by the current front office"? [Quote © Diamondhacks, 2007]
The performances of late might be a bit anorexic, but the Gameday Threads continue to resemble the larder at Livan's house; stuffed full of goodness, though the posts probably contain fewer calories. unnamedDBacksfan, Peachy, johngordonma, TheMainMan, LucaMaz3, seton hall snake pit, snakecharmer, DbacksSkins, oklahomasooners, hotclaws, andrewinnewyork, batster, soco, TwinnerA, VIII and a late appearance by SuitsMe (emboldened by his Giants having won six in a row, no doubt!) were present. That's despite this being a night when the best thing to happen was getting 2.2 hitless innings from the B-members of the bullpen (and I include Pestileñce in that category, of late). But that was scant consolation, and the news that Chris Young is indeed ready to pitch Thursday does raise the spectre of getting swept by our nearest rivals, in a four-game series. I shall not sleep well tonight.
[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Conor Jackson, +26.7%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Webb, -46.9%
Honorary "Well done!": Nah. I don't think so.
However, let's hope better things come from Micah against Maddux tomorrow. For we do have Greg's number: 5.28, his career ERA in 16 outings versus Arizona, as well as a healthy .308 BAA. And I vote for our Chris Young to drop a nice early bunt down on Thursday, so we can see just how "recovered" their Chris Young's back really is. Hopefully, we'll hear the popping of discs and a call for a medic. Is that wrong of me?
Oh, and anyone notice who got the win for the Marlins over the Braves tonight? That'd be Byung-Hung Kim - beating another former D-back, Oscar Villarreal, incidentally. I have to say, nice job by the Marlins, who get to use Kim for the rest of the year, while we pick up the bulk of his salary. That piece of charity will cost the Diamondbacks probably round about the $500,000 maximum being pledged to the United Way, based on ticket sales for the rest of the season...