Record: 62-50. Change on last season: +6. Pace: 90-72
Playoff odds: 33.6%. Playoff Magic Number: 50
Quote of the day: "It's tough to look for anything else other than a sinker when you're facing Derek Lowe. I mean, you have to because he throws it almost 80 percent of the time. I was looking for something down in the zone and I got it. I wouldn't necessarily classify it as a terrible pitch by him. It's just that every now and then you get lucky and run into one." -- Eric Byrnes
Twice in eight days, the Diamondbacks have cantered out to a seven-run lead, but ended up only just winning, by a final score of 8-7. It seems that we do not like to win games the easy way. Not when we can cough it up and let the opposition come within a swing of the bat. Miguel Montero's two-run homer in the sixth, made the score 8-1, and even after the Dodgers pulled one back in the bottom half, this was still over - the win probability reached 98.5% after Young singled to lead off the seventh. Stick a fork in this one: it's done.
Unfortunately, Juan Cruz didn't get the memo; either that, or Take Me Out to the Ballgame contained subliminal messages activating the opposition hitters. Because, in the bottom of the seventh (and with a little help from Justin Upton), Famine retired one of five batters he faced, the other four all coming round to score. That's more earned runs that he's allowed in the past six weeks, over his previous seventeen outings combined. Another outing like that, and he could find himself optioned to the Triple-A affiliate for Apocalyptic relievers, with Doug Slaten promoted to his spot.
Oh, yes: Justin Upton. First hit, first extra-base hit and first run scored. Welcome to the big leagues, Option J. But also his first error. And then, his second error as well. I didn't see the former, but the second was a hideous clank, a casual one-handed clutch for the ball, without his eyes even being on it, which bounced off the heel of his glove. Very unimpressive: I certainly hope that's not symptomatic of his approach. The Dodgers fans in the bleachers were giving it to him, as only they can: Mrs. SnakePit reckons there was perhaps a finger given to them, along with the ball which he caught for the third out, but I was busy bitching here about the meltdown, so missed it.
Livan Hernandez threw a quality start. There: that's a sentence we haven't been able to write too often of late. Six innings, two runs (one unearned, thanks to Justin Time's first E), on five hits and two walks. The Dodgers loaded the bases in both the fourth and the sixth; though Hernandez 2.0 did walk in a run the first time, and allowed a sacrifice fly the second, the damage stopped there - thanks in part to a fine, bare-handed Reynolds play to end the fourth. The resulting Game Score of 58 was his second-best in the fourteen outings since May 17. Hopefully, he can build on that going down the stretch. As with Davis, keeping the walks down is key:
- When Hernandez 2.0 gets a W: 2.88 walks per nine innings
- When Hernandez 2.0 gets ND: 3.66
- When Hernandez 2.0 gets a L: 5.77
Someone like Brandon Webb doesn't show quite the same chasm in results. For our ace, the equivalent figures are much more even: 2.84, 3.09 and 3.62. After the struggle of yesterday, good to see our offense pick up some slack. There were ten hits all told, with two each for Hudson, Byrnes, Reynolds and Upton. The key inning was the fifth, where we managed to score four times, despite only getting one ball out of the infield. The runs came home on an error, a fielder's choice, a single to center and a ground-out. Admirable efficiency: we managed exactly one hit with runners in scoring position, yet still scored eight runs!
Of course, as soon as Montero's homer left the park, I knew this game was over. We're now 24-0 when scoring seven runs or more this season, and haven't lost since August 4th last season, posting 33 straight wins. That's a major-league best; the Padres are also perfect at 24-0, but they lost on September 18 last year, and their streak is only 27. Naturally, runs are higher in the AL: the Red Sox have the best record, at 37-1, though the Yankees have scored seven runs or more forty-six times this year, going 42-4. Worst in the majors are the Devil Rays, only 16-7.
Excellent number of comments, even as I largely took the evening off. Even with some self-admitted padding, it was the most since the June 7th Giants thread, which reached 169. The all-time high, incidentally (Muu was asking) was the 223 for the second game this year, on April 3rd against the Rockies. I'm humbly delighted to see how far we've come: the very first regular-season GameDay Thread, on April 4, 2005, resulted in six comments, and I spotted two poor, feeble threads in June that year, against Cleveland, which mustered no responses! How far we've come: thanks to everyone that's helping make this site such fun. Not least the 25 men on the Diamondbacks roster, of course. :-) Gameday Threaders were singaporedbacksfan, DbacksSkins, johngordonma, hotclaws, Devin, AZDarkKnight, dahlian, npineda, TwinnerA and Muu.
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Master of his domain: Jose Valverde (+21.0%)
God-emperor of suck: Juan Cruz (-16.4%)
Honorary "Well done!": Eric Byrnes (+17.7%), Livan Hernandez (+14.3%)
Not often that it's relievers who show up as both the biggest Hero and Villain of the Game, but hard to argue with either choice. And what is up with Scott Hairston? 3-for-3 with another homer for the Padres last night - matching his season total in round-trippers for us, after just two games playing in San Diego? It could be argued that, without Hairston, the Padres would have lost both contests, and we'd be sitting 3.5 games ahead of them, rather than the 1.5 we currently are. Bear that in mind if the Padres pip us to the playoffs by a single game. Though my general liking for the Padres and their supporters was severely diminished by the standing ovation they gave Bonds: WTF? I'll leave the final word on that to hotclaws: