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Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 7 - Leaving Home

Record: 88-68. Change on last season: +14. Pace: 91-71
Playoff odds: 94.5%. Playoff Magic Number: 4

Quote of the day: "They want us to die up here!" -- Mrs. SnakePit, on the late-inning lack of vendors in the 300 level. :-)

Hey, we can see the Pacific Ocean from up here!

Not quite the way we wanted the last home-stand of the regular season to end, with our offense rolling over tamely to Chad Billingsley, while the Edgar Gonzalez #5 Special came off the rails. Word is, EdGon had a blister on his index finger, that was causing him problems there. So we'll be peering into the engine of both that engine and the Von Owings Express over the remaining six games, before deciding which of them gets added to the timetable, and which gets shunted off to the bullpen. However, results elsewhere means that this probably doesn't make too much difference to our playoff odds - they should improve a tad, simply because there's one less game for everyone else to catch up in.

That's about the only thing we can take away from this. The Dodgers leaped out in front when their second hitter homered, and we were lucky that was a solo shot, Pierre having been gunned down by Snyder as he tried to steal second, earlier in that at-bat. The first four Dodgers reached safely, but EdGon struck out Martin - who hung around to claim the pitch hit him - and then got Ethier to ground out on a diving play by Clark. We did fight back, levelling the game on an RBI single by Reynolds...that was the end of our scoring for the day - and we'd also only get two hits in the remaining eight innings, less than we managed in the first. :-(

Unusual play in the second: Laroche grounded out to Snyder, whose throw pinged off Laroche's helmet. However, Laroche was dismissed for running outside of the basepath down to first, which is something I don't think I've ever seen before - probably because, well, duh, the shortest distance between home and first would be the straight line joining them. That one seemed like it needed to be explained to all parties, though it all got resolved amicably enough. EdGon got the next two hitters, and benefited from a double-play to get through the third, but three singles, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly led to two runs in the fourth.

Famine bailed him out by striking out Hu and Billingsley, then gave up two runs in the fifth on Loney's homer, ending the bullpen's streak of scoreless innings. Meanwhile, our offense had died and gone to heaven - when we did get men on base, Clark and Snyder took care of them with ground-ball double plays. Our last hope was in the sixth: two walks and single loaded the bases with one out. Snyder went down swinging; Billingsley was gone, and with the crowd coming to life for almost the first time that day, Drew grounded out. The only base-runner we had after that point was Drew getting hit by a pitch with two out in the ninth.

Mark Reynolds is about the only hitter to come out of the game with any credibility: he reached safely three times, on a hit and two walks, and drove in our only run. Tony Clark was made to look pretty bad - even from the upper deck! - in most of his at-bats; Snyder had a wretched day, going 0-for-4, with six men left on base; while Stephen Drew was hitless and threw wildly on a play to first in the eighth, which allowed the Dodgers to score their seventh run. The "C" bullpen showed up after Cruz left: Murphy, Medders, Peguero, Wickman and Petit. Wickman retired only one of the four batters he faced, and thanks to Drew's error, escaped without damage to his ERA.

Game Notes

Are those red ants? No, they're your Arizona Diamondbacks...

  • SnakePitFest '07 turned out to be a bit of a damp squib initially: DbacksSkins' car issues prevented his attendance, while soco and leemellon both opted for seats elsewhere in the park, leaving Mrs. SnakePit and I in airy splendor up in section 331. Plenty of room for us to spread out... However, leemellon did swing by to say "Hi!", as did dbacktom and icecoldmo, so it ended happily enough.

  • Been a while since we were up in the 300's section: I think the last time was when we got free tickets off Dave Pratt, back when he used to work on KZON. It was a different angle on the game; it looked a little bit like a video game from up there, but that probably wasn't a bad thing, leaving me somewhat separated emotionally from the poor quality baseball being produced by us.

  • Fairly relaxed atmosphere up there - I did notice, at one point, a bunch of security guards coming down the stairs, looking serious. I hadn't noticed them going up there, but had heard reports of some fights in the stands earlier in the series. There was an LA fan behind us, who responded to the late-inning chant of "Sweep LA" with "Scoreboard!" - to which I replied "Standings!" He laughed and said, "You got me there," and went on to wish AZ good luck in the playoffs, which was cool.

  • We brought a picnic, in part because of Chris's belief that concession-stands stopped at the second deck, "due to the altitude making things explode". :-) Sandwiches, cookies, crackers and pepperoni worked very well, and is a nice alternative to the usual ballpark fare. Though Mrs. SnakePit still popped off to get Coldstone, there being some things that are just tough to bring from home. And don't explode, apparently...

And they still didn't show me on TV... :-)

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Mark Reynolds, +21.5%
God-emperor of suck: Chris Snyder, -22.0%
Honorary suckette: Edgar Gonzalez, -16.9%

Kicking crowd for the last home game: 43,372, though they were a lot more subdued than Friday night - the lameness of our performance seemed infectious. That number does compare very nicely with the Padres, half-a-game behind us and also playing their last home game: they drew less than 38,000. The total for the season ends at over 2.32 million, about nine percent up on last year, with the trend showing particularly strong growth in the second half.

Losses to the Phillies and Padres leave them exactly where they were, and it looks like I need to curse the Rockies by drawing attention to them once more. They have now won eight games in a row: the sweep over San Diego this weekend has seen their playoff odds rise at from 3.9% on Friday, to a respectable 17.2% now. After a day off tomorrow, they get to face the limp Dodgers for three, before Arizona comes to Coors next weekend. Hopefully, by then we will have locked down playoff baseball at the very least, since they are on fire at the moment.