Record: 25-15. Pace: 101-61. Change on last season: +4
The good news is, yes, The Sets now has wi-fi. The bad news is, my PC never went past "Acquiring network address", so full connectivity proved elusive this evening. Still, I was able to watch some of the game, albeit on a TV with a dodgy cable connection. This was a different one from last week's frozen mosaic device: this one was old-school lines and static. Still, he are are my notes, pretty much written as the game unfolded. I arrived just in time to see Eric Byrnes' first at-bat of the evening, which can only be described as possessing all the hideous fascination of a car-accident. Even when he was 3-0 ahead, you knew it was going to end in another Flying Nun, and after swinging at ball four, that's exactly what happened as he struck out swinging. There were some poignant and painfully appropriate signs in the crowd: the one that sticks in my mind said "Eric: don't hit it here. Just hit it."
De La Rosa had a very nice curveball; makes you wonder if he'll eventually be another one of those pitchers we look back on and regret trading away [a.k.a. the Brad Penny Hall of Fame]. Turns out he passed through our organization not once, but twice: we signed him back in March 1998, then sold him to Monterrey in 2000, before his brief transit as part of both the Schilling and Sexson trades. He struck out Owings and Young with it in the third, despite the sign in the crowd saying "Our lineup has nine hitters. Does yours?" - the more cynical among you are probably muttering that this is being somewhat kind to certain members of said lineup. Interesting to see Snyder trying to drop down a bunt with Reynolds on first. Not many times you'll see the #8 hitter in an NL lineup doing that, with the pitcher on deck. Just another way that the presence of Pwnings changes the dynamics of the game.
Owings was pitching with admirable efficiency - well, from what I can tell anyway. The entire top of the fourth, bar the final fly-ball, happened in the time it took me to write the above paragraph [my laptop is out of sight of the television, so I keep having to scurry across the bar, watch some baseball, and then run back to our table.] We finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth; a Drew double, an infield single by Hudson, and a Jackson single, spectacularly misplayed into a double by Hawpe, which brought the first run home. The Rockies walked Upton to get to Byrnes, who promptly obliged by grounding into a double-play, albeit one that did score another run. He was just trying SO hard, it was...sad and painful and about a dozen other emotions, all in one. The volume was down on the TV - how was the crowd reaction?
Perhaps the biggest hit was Orlando Hudson's two-RBI knock in the bottom of the fifth, that doubled our lead and made the score 4-0. We had men on second and third with one outs, but Drew struck out and it looked as if De La Rosa was going to escape the inning unscathed. However, O-Dawg muscled a bloop into the outfield, and both base-runners advanced. A walk to Jackson ended the Colorado starter's evening with two outs in the fourth, but another free pass, to Upton, meant that Byrnes came up with the bases-loaded again. One headfirst slide later, the inning was over - ironically, just in time for the start of the comedy show, which basically suspended my ability to pay much attention to the game, except sneaking surreptitious glances out of the corner of my eye.
What I did see, in a squinty way, was Colorado gradually pulling closer after Owings left. In contrast to yesterday, while much the same bullpen was in operation, they didn't exactly look lights out - tonight, it was seven hits and three runs in three innings. Each of Qualls, Slaten and Peña were tagged for a run by the Rockies, which meant Lyon was faced with a one-run lead in the ninth. If one pitch can be said to have decided the outcome, it was a 3-1 pitch to Matt Holliday that he thought was ball four: the home-plate umpire disagreed and Holliday grounded out. That proved crucial as Lyon subsequently allowed a pair of two-out singles that put the tying run at third-base. However, he then got Hawpe to pop out to Reynolds, for his fifteenth straight shutout inning, eleventh save and Arizona's 25th victory.
Excellent outing by Owings, who gave us six scoreless innings, on five hits and two walks, with five K's. He got into and out of trouble in the first, loading the bases with one out, but got a crucial strikeout of Atkins and escaped without damage. The Rockies didn't get another runner past second base until the last batter Owings faced, to end the sixth inning. However, Owings did go ohfer, dropping his average down to "only" .370 - he might have been robbed by a call at first, however. Arizona was actually outhit quite significantly by the Rockies, 12-7, but they left the bases littered with wasted opportunities, stranding a dozen men. Drew and Hudson had two hits, the latter also surviving a nasty moment when he stumbled coming out of the batter's box, which led to the grounds crew drying up the area around home-plate.
Solid turnout in the Gameday Thread - we might even have needed an overflow thread, if I'd been able to get connected. However, thanks to those who did not experience technical difficulties; soco, mrssoco, DbacksSkins, Wimb, unnamedDBacksfan, 4 Corners Fan, kishi (happy birthday!), foulpole, snakecharmer, hotclaws, TwinnerA, isoldout, dstorm, frienetic, dahlian, UptonMVP, batster, srdmad, seton hall snake pit, Zephon and singaporedbacksfan. With tomorrow night's marquee pitching match-up, however, I will be clearing the decks and should be in full effect.
Finally, here's one of those player comparison things:
Left-fielder A: .214/.275/.357
Left-fielder B: .276/.343/.429
I think we all know who Player A is, so let's move on, shall we? Player B, however, might surprise you: Luis Gonzalez, in a less-than-full time role for the surprising (and NL East leading) Florida Marlins. Over on Major-League Jerk, Hef speculates on how Gonzo's career might have played out, had he decided to stay here. It's an interesting domino-esque effect, had Gonzo stayed as the fourth outfielder in 2006, backing up Quentin, Young and Byrnes. Who can say?