Record: 9-3. Pace: 122-40. Change on last season: +1
Can't win 'em all. And if you're going to lose, you might as well do so in a blowout fashion, with your starter going only three innings, the previously-reliable bullpen coughing up a ten-spot the rest of the way, and the top third of your order going 2-for-13. Add in base baserunning (Upton getting picked off, a move that probably stopped us from getting the tying run to third with one out in the sixth), questionable fielding (not least Upton again) and an inexplicable apparent ignorance of the infield-fly rule by Orlando Hudson: yes, this game contained enough suckitude to make up for the near-flawless play of the last week,
It is, therefore, not a contest upon which I want to dwell. This should be swept rapidly under the carpet, the team moving on to begin another winning streak, starting with Randy Johnson's return against the Giants tomorrow. But duty compels me to review the horrors which unfolded today, starting with Edgar Gonzalez, who felt compelled to pitch permanently from the stretch, allowing the Rockies' leadoff man to reach in every inning. He was gone after three innings in which he faced eighteen batters, yet escaped with allowing three earned runs,
The bullpen which followed were even more forgettable, with the honorable exception of Brandon Medders, who posted a scoreless sixth. All told, the combined line was six innings of work, ten hits, four walks, two hit batters [in addition to the two EdGon plunked, overall tying the franchise record of four, set against LA on July 3rd, 2006] and ten earned runs. Admittedly, it was mostly the B-pen, but Tony Pena was only saved from giving up a grand-slam in the ninth, by the wild-pitch he uncorked immediately beforehand. That was more runs for the relief corps than in the eleven previous games combined, single-handedly raising our bullpen ERA from 2.64 to 5.43, dropping us from first to thirteenth in the NL, over one afternoon.
In the face of such mediocrity, the offense would have been hard pushed to catch up. They did have their moments, getting the tying run on base in the fourth, and to the plate in the sixth, but the absence of Young in the leadoff spot was sorely felt. Eric Byrnes hit there instead, and went 1-for-5, seeing a total of just ten pitches in those five trips to the plate. Down the order, there was good work done by Stephen Drew and Chris Snyder, each having three-hit games and adding a walk and an RBI. Snyder's performance was particularly pleasing to see, since he came into the game with just three hits on the season. Jeff Salazar added two hits and three RBI; Hudson, Reynolds and Upton all reached safely twice, and we did manage 12 hits in total.
One good thing: attendance continues to impress. Obviously, the tenth-anniversary celebrations and some cool giveaways likely helped lure more people to the ballpark. But compared to the equivalent second home series in 2007 [which was also over the weekend against the Rockies], crowds were up more than 30%: 92,309 to 69,844. Now we've got the festivities out of the way, we'll see how things settle down, but it'd be nice to see average crowds around the 30,000 mark as we go through the first-half of the season, then ramp up as we head down the stretch towards the playoffs.
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Master of his domain: Jeff Salazar, +16.5%
God-emperor of suck: Edgar Gonzalez, -16.3%
TwinnerA, kishi, foulpole, soco, DbacksSkins, hotclaws, DbacksSkins, 4 Corners Fan, paqs [Welcome to the threads!], dstorm, Muu, unnamedDBacksfan, seton hall snake pit, singaporedbacksfan, LucaMaz3, Stile4aly, Turambar, Azreous and snakecharmer were the inhabitants in the Gameday Thread, bravely struggling on, even after the technical pixies stole the voices away from Mr. Sutton and Mr. Grace. Yes, all told, this will definitely be the kind of game that should be put behind us, as rapidly as possible. And what better way to do it, than by going to the consensus worst team in the division, with a five-time Cy Young winner on the mound?