Record: 9-2. Pace: 133-29. Change on last season: +2
It won't last forever, of course. How could it? It's not even the longest winning run in Diamondbacks history: we had two eight-game streaks just last year and one in 2002; have reached nine games three times, and the 2003 roster won 12 in a row. But is this perhaps the best the team have ever played? It certainly could be. We've scored 61 runs in eight games; among all the streaks of that length or more, the only one with a higher run-rate was May 4-13, 2000 where we scored 69 in nine victories. However, there we conceded 32, compared to only 21 in this sequence, so our run differential is already three runs better at +40, in one fewer game. Anyway, for what it's worth, here is the info on the other longest streaks.
June 18-30, 2003: @HOU, CIN, HOU, @DET, @COL. Total 73-42. This wasn't easy. Half the wins were by one run, and another trio by two. It finally ended as the calendar turned to July, going down 7-4 in Coors.
May 4-13, 2000: @MIL, SDP, LAD, @SDP. Total: 69-32. This had a couple of slugfests vs. LA, 15-7 and 11-7. Daal was the unlucky loser as we went for ten; AZ lost 3-1 to the Padres, two unearned runs scoring on an error by Lenny Harris.
May 25-June 3, 2001: @SDP, @SFG, SDP. Total: 37-17. As the total shows, this one was driven by pitching, with a team ERA of just 1.45. It included the legendary 18-inning, 1-0 win in SF, where Miguel Batista got the W with four innings of relief.
August 10-19, 2001: @ATL, PIT, CHC. Total: 56-18. The pitching would have been better still, save the final game being a 13-6 win. This streak overlapped with a run of ten straight where we allowed 3 runs or less. Johnson + Schilling at their finest.
August 9-17, 2002: FLA, @CIN, @CHC. Total: 48-13. More dominant hurling, with the opposition restricted to two or less each game, a batting average of .191 and an overall ERA of 1.38. We lost the ninth game by one run, then won another four.
May 24-June 1, 2007: HOU, @PHI, @NYM. Total: 60-25. The team hit .327 during these eight games, and most were won by four or more runs. It included our biggest win of the season; a 13-3 pounding of Houston, with Mark Reynolds going 5-for-5.
July 21-28, 2007: @CHC, FLA, ATL. Total: 45-22. Four were by a single run, but the wheels fell off on July 29, Atlanta drubbing us 14-0. We only batted .279, but held the opposition to .201; the streak took us from 4.5 back to tied for the NL West lead.
While we're on the subject of streaks, another couple were extended by today's victory. Since August 4, 2006, when we lost 8-7 to Houston, the Diamondbacks are 51-0 when scoring seven runs or more. That's impressive; usually, a team has a couple of games a year where they "waste offense", when both teams score a lot of runs (like the 2000 Dodgers games mentioned above), but it hasn't happened to Arizona in a long time. And Hudson's K-less streak has now hit 57 plate appearances. To put that into perspective, the last man to have a season with more than 50 PA's and no K's, was Willie Jones in 1947, who had 69. Though, like I said, it won't last forever!
Today's game was...well, I begin to run out of superlatives. Another well-pitched, well-hit, well-defended victory. I feel some sympathy for the Rockies, who have found themselves facing an unstoppable force, and must now have some idea what it was like for us last year in the NLCS. Except, of course, without the lucky bounces and dubious umpiring decision they received then. ;-) The Diamondbacks adapted well to their second view of Morales, who shut them out for six innings last time. Today, the shutout lasted for exactly four batters, before Conor Jackson grounded out to bring Eric Byrnes home from third.
They added two more on doubles by Snyder and Young in the second, and when Colorado pulled one back in the third, promptly restored the lead with a Drew sacrifice fly. The game was then ended as a meaningful contest in the fifth, when Justin Upton swatted his fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot which went an estimated 429 feet. Said Upton afterwards, "I'm just playing ball. I'm just feeling comfortable at the plate and that's always a plus. Right now, I'm just seeing the ball and hitting it."
That would be a line of .415/.447/.805. I guess this counts as seeing the ball! Yet another three-hit game today, his fourth such of this young season, and one wonders how many he'll end up with by October. Eric Byrnes led the Diamondbacks last year, posting 13 such [well, twelve plus a four-hit game!], and one senses Upton will be challenging that. Probably by the All-Star break! Byrnes himself had two hits and a walk, while CoJack reached safely three times too, on a hit and a pair of walks. Reynolds and Snyder each had a hit and a walk; the latter finding his first extra-base hit of the year.
On the mound, Dan Haren took the win, with six innings of generally-effective baseball. He had his moments, putting the first two Rockies hitters aboard in both the second and fourth inning, but escaped without damage either time, going to his splitter to get back-to-back K's of Atkins and Ianetta in the second and in the fourth, after a double-play wasn't quite turned, the Rockies' next hitter obligingly repeated the medicine. His overall line was five hits, two walks and one run in six innings, with seven K's; he improved his record to 2-0, and he would be 3-0 - plus the Diamondbacks at 10-1! - except for the three-run homer to Encarnacion.
Behind him, Medders pitched a scoreless seventh, and Jailen Peguero, coming up for a few days between Doug Davis going onto the DL, and Randy Johnson being taken off it, a perfect eighth. The Petit Unit had a wobbly ninth, allowing two runs on three hits, but since he had a nine-run lead at that point, I don't think he exactly had even the most nervous of fans reaching for the Tums. That did mean the Rockies had exactly the same number of hits as Arizona - nine - but two-thirds of ours went for extra-bases, compared to only a solitary double for Colorado. Very nice to see Troyboy go ohfer with 3 K's: makes him 2-for-22 with no walks and six strikeouts this season against us.
[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Dan Haren, +18.4%
Honorary mention: Chris Snyder, +13.9%
God-emperor of suck: Mark Reynolds, -2.7%
Slightly quieter in the Gameday Thread today; imagine a lot of people have other things to do on a Saturday afternoon, though it's all relative. When I say "slightly quieter," I mean we fell short of four hundred - which last year would have had champagne corks popping! :-) Present were: foulpole, kishi, unnamedDBacksfan, jsk6788, hotclaws, azshadowwalker, seton hall snake pit, Stile4aly, Azreous, Muu, TwinnerA, njjohn and Wimb. An excellent victory, rolling us to 8-0 versus the division this season, and at time of writing it looks like the Padres are going down [they are 5-1 behind], so looking good for a 3.5 game lead. Yes, I think all Diamondbacks fans will sleep rather well tonight...
An amusing postscript. Fox - who chose Yankees-Red Sox as the Game of the Week over D'backs-Rockies in 48 states - ended up blowing it big time. Thanks to a lengthy rain delay, the game ran long, and with two out in the top of the 9th, Fox abruptly dropped coverage to broadcast the start of a NASCAR race...which was taking place [Oh, the irony] back here in Phoenix! Anyone wanting to see the end of the game had to scramble for the remote and switch over to FX. And justice was duly served...