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Diamondbacks 5, Padres 1 – Feeling Randy

Record: 17-6. Pace: 120-42. Change on last season: +5

Quote: "This is the reason I'm playing, because I feel I can do these kind of games when I'm healthy. That's why I'm still playing because I still enjoy being competitive, I still enjoy going out and doing that. I'm 44 years old. I still enjoy going and grabbing a bat and trying to put the ball in play. I still enjoy the competition of trying to get a hitter out." – Randy Johnson.

"Competitive," says the old man. That was a completely different notion for the two Arizona-based teams playing tonight, and surprisingly the team with much more on the line was the one that failed to show any signs of competitiveness whatsoever. But the Diamondbacks, still very much in the infancy of their season, came out with another solid effort across the board to pick up their 17th victory of the season.

Bit of a different look for the lineup tonight. Ojeda started at short for the injured Drew and hit second, while Burke took over in left for Byrnes and his hamstring problem. Interestingly, Montero was behind the plate. Apparently the Unit really dislikes Chris Snyder behind the plate or something. As was noted, though, against the Padres’ feeble lineup thusfar, this didn’t seem like a particularly large problem.

Meanwhile, Mark Reynolds was all over the place. First, he and Chris Burke teamed up for a couple nice defensive plays in the early innings, which must have confused the Unit to no end after the disasters in his first two starts. Then he added the biggest haymaker in a five-run fifth, which ended up all the runs the Diamondbacks would get…but also more than enough. After an RBI double by CY, an RBI single by O-Dawg and a base hit by CoJack, Reynolds lifted a three-run jack just over the center field wall to complete the damage, his seventh of the year.

Given some run support, Johnson continued to deal. From watching, his stuff seems to be just about all the way back. It was more than enough to deal with the anemic Padres. Johnson gave up zero hits in every inning except the fourth, when a small hiccup (two singles and a double) allowed San Diego to score their only run of the game. Other than that, it was six innings of vintage Randy Johnson as he moved another step closer to 300 wins. His final line was a thing of beauty: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, in a very tidy 94 pitches. Hell, Randy even added a sac bunt and a base hit for good measure.

His counterpart Randy, in the meantime, never seemed to be comfortable and had trouble finding the strike zone, finally getting pulled after just four innings. Much better than the previous meeting between the two Randys.

Once Johnson left, Slaten, Cruz and Lyon came in to lock things down, with a walk by Slaten the only blemish in the final three frames. Each struck out a batter as well, and a heart-attack-free ballgame quietly came to an end. Personally, I’ll take coasting like that over the complicated games any day of the week.

No huge games for anybody, but it wasn’t required today. Hudson and Montero both had a couple hits, and everybody reached base at least once except for Upton, whose average plummeted to a measly .345. Meanwhile, Scott Hairston dropped an oh-fer of his own and is hitting .189 for the season. I’m strangely okay with it.

[click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Randy Johnson, +20.4%

God-emperor of slightly below average: Augie Ojeda, -05.8%

In other action, the Giants picked up a win against the Reds, and the Dodgers and Rockies are playing in the 11th inning as we speak. Still, they can only hope to keep pace with the current division (and all of baseball) leaders.

Decent game thread tonight, considering Jim’s mostly gone and whatnot. Thanks to DbacksSkins, kishi, soco, unnamedDBacksfan, jsk6788, Jim McLennan, foulpole, dahlian, azshadowwalker, snakecharmer, seton hall snake pit, hotclaws, UptonMVP, njjohn, SongBird, singaporedbacksfan, 4 Corners Fan and mrssoco. Admittedly, my full attention wasn’t on the game, as I had the misfortune of watching a gutless Suns team put up a stinker against the Spurs in a game that was all but must-win (as much as I despise that term, nobody’s ever come back from a 3-0 deficit, and it’s the defending champs we’re talking about here). But the hell with them; it’s a baseball blog, and the Diamondbacks are quickly heading toward being the only relevant team left in action in the Valley. And my, how relevant they are indeed.