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Diamondbacks 5, Giants 4 - On the joy of runs from unexpected sources

Record: 15-5. Pace: 122-40. Change on last season: +5

The site is down at the moment of writing [scheduled server maintenance, though I didn't find out about it until after its scheduled start!], so I've resorted to the old fashioned method, which involves writing this in Notepad. After three weeks of SnakePit 2.0 this is such a retrograde step, it feels like I have barely moved from the baseball Stone Age, when scores were carved on stone tablets, and ESPN consisted of the day's highlights painted across cave walls. Or, as Randy Johnson refers to it, "my rookie season." :-)

Anyway, enough of the old jokes. Webb duly moved to 5-0, but a quick peek at Fangraphs shows that this victory is due much, much more to Brandon Webb the hitter (+21.3%), than Brandon Webb the pitcher (+4.0%). Indeed, four of our five runs today were driven in by Webb, a career .106 hitter, and Chris Snyder, batting just .188 coming in to the game. Webb now has more RBI - four, all of them coming off Zito - than he managed all of last season. Tonight, he drove the ball, with perfect placement, if not great power, all the way to the wall, for a two-out double that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. "It ended up being a fastball, and I was pretty much swinging no matter what," he said. He then scored on Byrnes' single, and that turned out to be a crucial insurance run.

Webb on the mound was not so good, allowing nine hits and two walks over six innings, though did strike out seven. He was especially wobbly in the first couple of innings, where he was touched for six hits and three runs, before we even had out first man on base. However, the third, with the score now 3-2 to San Francisco [thanks to two RBI from Snyder] marked a turn around: the lead-off Giants hitter struck out, but reached on a wild pitch. A double put men on second and third with no outs; however, Webb fanned Castillo, Bocock's bunt came back to Webb and the run couldn't score, and Zito then grounded out to end the threat. Webb only had one hitter reach scoring position the next three innings, and was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.

The bullpen took over with the score 5-3, and got the job done, though it wasn't pretty. Qualls allowed a lead-off double, but stranded that runner on third. Peña reduced the lead to one run, giving up two hits, but stranded the tying run on second. And Lyon gave up a single to the first batter he saw, before retiring the next three - the first was a snowcone catch by Upton on a knuckling bloop down the right-field line, but the next two went down swinging. After a rocky start, Lyon seems to have settled down a great deal. His ERA is down to 4.00, and he now has a scoreless streak of six innings, in which he has allowed four hits and one walk, while striking out four.

We have a great deal to thank the Giants for in this win, specifically their scattering of men on base - they left twelve out there all told, compared to our four, and also had more than twice as many hits as us [13-6]. Reynolds was the only D-back to reach base safely twice, on a hit and a walk; Hudson almost got a home-run, with another Chase cheapie, but the ball just stayed in the park and he was left at third. That was somewhat scary, as the trainer and Melvin came out - it looked as if he had jarred his thumb once more, sliding into third, in a similar way to his season-ending injury from 2007 (just on the other hand, this time). But there appears to have been no real damage done there. Phew.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Webb the hitter, +21.3%
Honorary mention: Brandon Lyon, +16.8%

God-emperor of suck: Stephen Drew, -9.3%

Rockies lost [in the ninth]. Padres lost. Dodgers lost. Giants, of course, lost. Doesn't get much better than that. Division lead up to six - the most it has been for Arizona since September 2002, and we're only twenty games into this year's campaign. The streak of scoring four runs or more remained intact with Webb's knock. It has now reached seventeen in a row; one more, and we'll tie the Reds run from last season. Beyond that, you enter rarefied territory, with 19 or more only being managed four times in the past fifty years. Leading that chart are the 1994 Indians, who did it in 23 consecutive games from June 10th to July 4th.

Wasn't able to participate in the Gameday Thread, as we didn't have the laptop at The Sets. Looked lively regardless; present were foulpole, njjohn, kishi, seton hall snake pit, dahlian, DbacksSkins, dstorm, IndyDBack, LucaMaz3, hotclaws, singaporedbacksfan, friendly visiting fan Smoltz's Beard, unnamedDBacksfan, seanprh [welcome!], Muu, SongBird, azshadowwalker, soco and Turambar. Best Line award goes to dahlian: "I’m honestly beginning to think that Sabean has been consulting with the Make-A-Wish foundation when it comes to roster moves." Best Stat Geekery to Muu, for pointing out Qualls has a 0-1 record, despite a 0.00 ERA.

As noted in a fanpost by foulpole, Montero has been activated off the DL, with Alex Romero optioned down to Tucson. Not an enormous surprise, with Robby Hammock perhaps grateful to have dodged a bullet, as the other prime candidate - his role as Randy Johnson's personal catcher may have played into the decision. It is still probably only a stay for him, however, with Chad Tracy due to begin extended spring training on Wednesday, with his first game on Friday in Tucson. I'm thinking two weeks there, so that would put us about May 10th or so for his return. He's been taking ground-balls at first, so that is perhaps an indication of where he is likely to see early action.