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Diamondbacks 0, Padres 11 - The Upton Era Dawns

Record: 60-50. Change on last season: +5. Pace: 88-74
Playoff odds: 22.5%. Magic number: 53

Quote of the day: "I feel like I'm ready to be here, and I'm going to take my shot. It's been awesome just getting the call and realizing that I'm coming up here and getting the feeling about what I've been dreaming about my entire life. It's amazing. It's overwhelming" -- Justin Upton

Justin Upton replaces Eric Byrnes playing RF batting 3rd
Justin Upton fouls out to 1B

Perhaps not quite what was expected for the debut of perhaps the most-eagerly anticipated prospect in Diamondbacks history. I was thinking, perhaps, Upton would make his entrance on a palanquin, with Scottsdale hotties strewing the ground in front of him with rose petals, before a packed Chase Field crowd for a one-game playoff to decide the NL West champion. Instead, it was as a defensive replacement, during the late innings of an utter blowout, not even televised in Arizona. If you make your debut, and nobody notices, does it count?

Over the last two series, the Diamondbacks have been outscored 25-39, but still won both series, taking four of the six games. Indeed, over the last fifteen they've conceded four more runs than they've scored, but are 11-4 in that time. I am steadily getting more convinced that whatever merits run differential may have, they don't apply to this team for some reason. We specialize in narrow wins and blowout losses, to an extent almost never seen before. It's kinda cool.

Well, the winning side anyway: but with the Dodgers losing, Arizona still remained a game ahead in the NL West, despite another failure, in just about every department. Starting pitching? Wobbly. Bullpen? Implosive. Offense? Missing in action. The back end of our rotation has look fragile recently, with Hernandez 2.0, Pwnings and the Petit Unit all struggling. Sure, Micah's line was better yesterday, but has Chris Young's catch to thank for that, as much as his own prowess.

Petit allowed five runs in 4.1 innings, retiring only one of the five batters he faced in the fifth inning. He's suffering from the same disease as Micah Owings - only more so. He's great the first look batters get at him, mediocre the second, and positively inflammable, in a neo-nuclear way, after that. Here are Yusmeiro's splits for the first three times through the order:

  • 1st time: .150/.215/.367 = OPS .582
  • 2nd time: .276/.311/.517 = OPS .828
  • 3rd time: .379/.457/.483 = OPS .940

Hitters are clearly learning what he's got, and he needs to make adjustments when they come up against him again. Of course, he's a very young pitcher, so is still learning his craft. But if he doesn't do so, then it could be that a shift to the bullpen is in his future. Yesterday, however, it was poor location that was the problem: when he wasn't walking people, he was leaving the ball in locations where the Padres could get good wood on it.

Things didn't get a lot better after he left, with Dustin Nippert unleashing a wild-pitch with the bases-loaded to score a run. Though he escaped further damage there, the Padres dropped a five-spot on him in the fifth, ballooning his ERA up to 5.57. That likely increased the odds against him getting a recall to the rotation anytime soon. Slaten got the final out, and EdGon gave up the eleventh and last run to the Padres in the eighth.

Meanwhile, swarms of flies were detected sleeping on the Arizona lumber. All we managed was three hits and a walk - two of the hits to Drew, and the hit and free pass to Montero. Everyone else: zeroes across the board, with DaVanon having a particularly splendid day, going 0-for-4 with three K's. Drew was the only Arizona player to go past first-base all day: the closest we came to scoring, was getting him to third with two outs in the fifth.

Big props to AZDarkKnight for posting the Gameday Thread, rather than waiting for me to turn the middle of the fifth inning! We ended the day with exactly 100 comments, the very same number as on Wednesday: never let it be said we're not consistent. Also present were Ridster, VIII, DiamondbacksWIn, johngordonma, DbacksSkins, TwinnerA, Muu, JustMe, Ben and soco were the other participants - surprisingly busy for an afternoon, non-televised game. The power of Upton compels you! The power of Upton compels you!

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Stephen Drew, +5.2%
God-emperor of suck: Yusmeiro Petit, -19.1%
Honorary quite-goodness: AZDarkKnight for GameDay Thread-creating

Outside of the Padres, not a good day for most of the other contenders. The Braves got 22 hits...and still lost. That is a mark not surpassed since Boston got 23 against Seattle in September 1981, but went down 8-7. Milwaukee and LA both lost too, though because of the margin of defeat, the CoolStandings playoff odds took a large reverse. SportsClubStats was less concerned, dropping us only 4.4%, and still rates us above 50%. [Oh, and I'm going to work on the monthly W/L chart over the weekend]

Huge series against the Dodgers over the weekend: probably the most important of the year so far. We need to take at least one game, and I can't say I look at the pitching match-ups with a great deal of optimism. Livan has been awful of late, and though we've got Webb on Sunday, we face Penny, who has killed us this year - two earned runs in 21 innings. Tonight may be the best chance we have all weekend...but more on that later, I suspect!