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Diamondbacks 1, Padres 3 - Where Has The Run(s) Gone?

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Record: 74-60. Change on last season: +10. Pace: 89-73
Playoff odds: 49.6%. Playoff Magic Number: 30

Quote of the day: "You can't dwell on what happened the past three games. We're going to forget about today and go out there and try to put some numbers on the board." -- Mark Reynolds

Ok. Now would be a good time to panic. Mildly, and with focus and restraint. But I do feel that a small amount of running around like a headless chicken might be in order, as we desperately try to find out where the hell our offense has gone. Now, this team has not exactly been an run-scoring machine - more of a run-scoring Tinker Toy - but the last ten games have been miserable, even by Arizona's low standards. Just 25 runs, a .214 average, and a K:BB ratio of 85:25. Put another way, the entire team has basicallly been batting like Alberto Callaspo, with all the plate discipline of Chris Young.

This wasted a great outing from Micah Owings, who basically outpitched future hall of famer Maddux for seven innings (three hits and a walk, compared to eight hits and no walks, though Owings did hit two Padres). It certainly didn't look like that was going to happen in the first, when he loaded the bases on a single, a base on balls and a plunking, with nobody out. But Pwnings then simply struck out Gonzalez, Greene and Kouzmanoff on eleven pitches to end the inning.

His only real mistake after that was grooving a 1-2 pitch to Giles, leading off the fourth, which was promptly dispatched to the right-field bleachers. But after grazing Green's jersey with a pitch [prospective new rule; if it doesn't leave a weal, it shouldn't count], Owings retired the next thirteen batters faced. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn't continue that, Sinister and War allowing five of the first six hitters they saw to reach. Slaten has been brought in to 16 games this season, to face one batter. However, he's failed to get them out seven times (on five hits and two walks), including four of six during August.

However, an overall performance of three runs allowed is not by any means a disaster. In the NL this year, when teams allow exactly three runs, their overall record is 196-100. Indeed, coming into this series, the Diamondbacks' record when allowing three runs was a healthy 12-4. However, it's been more of a poisoned chalice in this set, as we lost both the opener and last night's game. For I want to talk about the offense. Well, I would - if I could find where the doggamn thing has gone. We had our chances: we actually out-hit San Diego, 8-7 - but singularly failed to take advantage of them. Two hits for Young, two for Upton, though I figure one for each should be scratched from the record, due to their faux-pas on the base-paths. No walks at all. A strikeout for every starter bar Snyder.

Sound, fundamental baseball. That would have been nice, and quite probably enough to win this thing. Instead, we had this litany of issues. Chris Young, picked off first. Micah Owings, not getting the bunt down with two on and none out. Justin upton, breaking from third on a one-out grounder back to Maddux, and being easily gunned-down at the plate. Leadoff double in the sixth, stranded. And though somewhat different, I'd like to have seen Chip Hale wave Upton round third with two outs in the seventh and the game still tied, to see if he could have scored, after a very well-executed hit and run by Owings and Jupton.

Is it just me, or does this losing streak feel a lot longer than three? I mean, the Cubs series, which we won, now seems a very long time ago: remember those golden, halcyon days when we were capable of scoring as many as five runs in a game? Maybe it's just that losses due to bad pitching seem harder to take than losses despite good pitching. Or perhaps it's because we've had the lead - admittedly a small, mewling, fragile lead - in all three games this series, and have just not been able to hold on to them. Certainly, we need to breathe into a paper-bag, and remember that this is still a playoff team, with less that thirty games to go. We just need to start playing like one again.

Without the productive mouse of Dbackskins in the lineup, Gameday comment offense also ended up below the Uecker line, despite some enthusiastic padding during the later innings! Though it's harder to get enthusiastic about an all-pitch, no-hit team. Still, thanks to andrewinnewyork, singaporedbacksfan, LucaMaz3, unnamedDBacksfan, Peachy, hotclaws, batster, VIII, soco, 4CornersFan, a somewhat gloomy Rockies Phan (welcome) and TwinnerA were present. The run-scoring component of our offense, on the other hand...

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Micah Owings, +33.7%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Lyon, -24.9%
Honorary "Well done!": Nah. I don't think so. Again.

As noted in the diary, we're shuffling our rotation to avoid the shambling horror which has recently been a Petit start. Hernandez 2.0 will pitch Friday on short rest, to get us to the roster expansion on August 1st. Dana Eveland will then pitch on Saturday, because we try to cram as many lefties in the roation against the Rockies as possible. Which makes some sense. However, the way we've been (not) scoring runs of late, that seems like re-arranging deckchairs while an iceberg plays Nearer My God to Thee. Or something like that...