Record: 78-63. Change on last season: +12. Pace: 90-72
Playoff odds: 69.2%. Playoff Magic Number: 19 [no, that number makes no sense to me, either...]
Quote of the day: "OK, he wants to pitch with three days off. We have to make him pay." -- Miguel Montero
That was huge. According to CoolStandings.com, that win alone added 16.6% to our chances of post-season baseball. To put that in context, the first five games of our eight-game streak in July, only added 13.1% combined. And doing so off the likely (and worthy) Cy Young winner? Better still, even on three days rest. Only once in 150 starts since his rookie season in 2002 has Peavy allowed eight earned runs. His previous high this season: four.
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't a pitching duel, with the D-backs blowing two leads before holding on to a third, and the Padres blowing one of their own as well. Hernandez 2.0 became the 17th starter this year to throw the minimum five innings, allow 5+ earned runs, but still get the win. We took the lead 2-0 in the second on CoJack's homer, but the Padres hit back with three straight hits to open the third. A Montero homer and Salazar RBI single made it 4-2 in the fourth, but Livan again couldn't hold it and the Padres took the lead 5-4.
It was the fifth where the game turned again. Hudson drove in Drew, who'd walked, with a game-tying triple, and walks to Byrnes and Jackson loaded the bases. But Chris Young got his first hit with the bases-loaded since April 5 (he'd been 0-for-6 with a sac. fly), emptying the bases with a double down the left-field line. How vital was that hit? Well, it added 20.2% to our chances of victory - and since that game added 16.6% to our playoff chances, that one hit added 3.4% to Arizona's post-season odds. That's the same as our odds after the first 99 games of the year.
An entire herd of kudos to go around (or are they kudus? Or kudzu.coms? Whatever...). Miguel Montero, for his first career multi-homer game. Young for his two hits and three RBI. Eric Byrnes: two runs scored and two stolen-bases. Conor Jackson, for proving Peavy's mortality. Tony Peña, 1.2 hitless innings in relief (though not without its heart-stopping moments!). Jose Valverde, notching his 42nd save and making more enemies among opposing fans with his post-game celebration.
It wasn't without cost, however. Orlando Hudson has an MRI scheduled for his thumb today, and Famine was forced out of the game after only seven pitches, with tightness in his shoulder and neck. We need both of them down the stretch, so hopefully there's nothing seriously wrong with either. As a result of Cruz's departure, we got to see all Four Horsemen in the same game for the first time since August 1st.
One additional point of potential importance about the win: it gives us the season series against the Padres, 10-8. Why is that crucial? I present to you, Excerpts from Major League Rule 33 and Major League Rule 34
So if we're tied with the Padres in first at the end of the year, we will be NL West champions, because we took the series this year. However, you should note that if we're tied with the Padres for the wild-card, this rule does not apply, and there'll be a one-game playoff, with the site decided by a coin-flip. But I'm sure we'll hear much more about this nearer the time, as appropriate.
Nice Gameday Thread, which would have made it past 300, had certain members not spent half the time sleeping with the GLB enemy... :-) Thanks to snakecharmer for getting the thread up in my late arrival. And also to the following for their comments: LucaMaz3, hotclaws (and her lucky pasta!), andrewinnewyork, TheMainMan, DbacksSkins, johngordonma, seton hall snake pit, Diamondhacks, VIII, singaporedbacksfan, 4CornersFan, Red Army (welcome!), Peachy, Devin, soco, venomous1987 (welcome too!) and TwinnerA.