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Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 8: Difficulties, Technical and Otherwise

Record: 15-6. Pace: 116-46. Change on last season: +5

If a game doesn't actually get blogged, does it really count? Can we just perhaps pretend tonight never happened - both with regard to the site and with regard to the Diamondbacks? If ever there was an evening when the ability to rewind and re-record over events would be handy, it's tonight; I'd have been reaching for the remote control from round about 3pm, when the site first went down. The cause was a server "upgrade" - anyone who has worked in IT will know why I use the quotes, but for everyone else, the six hours of downtime which resulted pretty much speak for themselves. Even now we are running on [obligatory nerdism] impulse power only, so if the site seems slow, my apologies.

Still, if there was a game where the Diamondbacks performance did not deserve a full-on Gameday Thread, this was it: we didn't miss much, folks. Haren looked, by all accounts, awful; Arizona scored their fewest number of runs in almost three weeks; and the defense was teh suck, with both Young and Upton getting charged with errors, which led to three more unearned runs. Still, the score didn't quite reflect the difference in offense of the two teams: the Dodgers hit for just one more base than us, and walked one less time. However, the errors and the D-backs failure to take advantage of their opportunities when they arose, proved to be the nails in our coffin tonight.

It seemed likely to be a long night after Dan Haren allowed three hits, a walk and two runs in the first inning, and he struggled pretty much the entire outing. His post-game quotes summed things up: "My command really wasn't that good and then I started trying to back off and just try to locate. I only had two walks, but it seemed like I was three balls to everybody and just in so many battles it's impossible to go six or seven innings if I couldn't get any early outs. I'm frustrated because I was just never able to give us the momentum -- a quick one, two, three inning and get back into the dugout." Well, the second inning, the Dodgers did go down 1-2-3, but that was it, and Haren ended up yanked during the fifth, having thrown 106 pitches in just 4.2 innings.

That fifth inning was likely the one that sealed our fate; the score was only 3-1 to LA at that point, and Haren fought back to get two out, after letting the first two Dodgers' hitters reach. However, a single made it 4-1 and he was replaced by Cruz, who allowed both inherited runners to score, hurting Haren's final line, which thus became 4.2 IP, 9 H, 2 BB, 6 R, 5 ER, 5 K. Medders and Slaten gave us scoreless innings for the sixth and seventh, but a moment of what sounds like sheer carelessness by Upton in the eighth let the Dodgers pad their lead with a couple of unearned runs.

Up until that point, Arizona had had a couple of chances to make things somewhat interesting. We had the tying run at the plate with only one out in the sixth, when first Young and then Byrnes could have made a game of it. However, they both made their "signature outs' - Young with the K [his 25 now leads the team] and Byrnes with a pop-up to the infield - and the chance was wasted. The next inning, we went one better, loading the bases again and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate; however, Miguel Montero, in his first game back, couldn't snatch anything but defeat from the jaws of defeat, and flew out to left.

What has happened to Chris Young's plate discipline? It looked like a new-found dream for our leadoff hitter at the start of the season; in his first seven games, he walked eight times and struck out only nine, while hitting .259 with four homers. However, after tonight's ohfer and four more K's, in the past thirteen games he has six walks and sixteen strikeouts. Even more disturbingly, over the same span, he's batting only .189 [10-for-53] with one homer since April 8. Eye-witness reports suggest he's still shaking off the flu. This explains his problems tonight, but one wonders why Melvin would play an ill, slumping Young, who came in with just one single and no walks in ten PA's against Lowe, rather than perhaps Jeff Salazar.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Stephen Drew, +4.8%
God-Emperor of suck: Dan Haren, -20.4%

The technical difficulties described above meant that the Gameday Thread did not become active until this was, basically, a dead-duck. I'll skip the roll-call on this one, expect to welcome UptonMVP to proceedings; you'll have a lot more fun when the thread is operating from the start of a game! charmer is also working on a project to analyze whether day of the week and start time affects Gameday activity, but we decided that this one should be erased from the record. And with that, to bed: looks like I'll be getting about six hours sleep for the second night in a row, so I hope the plane to LA is nice and quiet! The next post of significance from me will be from the City of Angels...