Record: 28-18. Pace: 99-63. Change on last season: +3.
And the winner of this month's Nostradamus Award for prescience goes to UofAZGrad, who led off the Gameday Thread with the following, remarkably astute prediction: "While there is always a chance that Webb will get lit up (happens occasionally to best pitchers), my guess is that Webb’s first loss will result from lack of offense. Hence, my prediction: Webb gets 4 or more tonight then he gets a win or a no-decision." Spot on the mark there: four runs from the offense would have left Webb at 10-0. But it was not to be. In honor of us playing the Marlins, it appears our hitters once again went to the plate wielding fishing-rods.
For the offense sputtered even worse than on Tuesday night, the only tally we managed today being Stephen Drew's solo homer to lead off the fourth - indeed, the rest of the lineup, not named Drew, managed a grand total of exactly one hit. That was a double by Chris Snyder, but since we were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, that wasn't much help. Three of those four at-bats came in the eighth, where pinch-hitter Augie Ojeda walked to lead off the inning, then reach second on a passed ball. After Young flew out, Drew singled, but Ojeda got a bad read on the ball and had to hold at third. And that was where he stayed, Hudson and Jackson both going down swinging.
They weren't exactly alone. We fanned eleven times in all, making 24 over the first two games of the series and the sixth time in the past eleven games we've reached double-digits there. Over that time, we've struck out more than twice as many times as we've walked [97:48 in total]. Today, Byrnes and Reynolds, who seemed locked in a desperate battle to out-suck each other of late, combined to go 0-for-8 with five K's. Over the past month, Reynolds is hitting .174 [16-for-92], while Byrnes is at .143 [13-for-91]. Between them, they have 13 walks and no less than sixty strikeouts during that period. At least we will have Tracy back shortly, so that should give us a left-handed alternative to Reynolds; but after the false dawn of Byrnes' homer last week, he has only one hit in fourteen at-bats, so nothing much has changed there.
The Republic, however, reports that Byrnes aggravated his hamstrings once more. According to Melvin, "He's a guy that can play hurt as much as anybody we have here. But he's still not 100 percent yet, and part of his game is running. We won't see all of Eric Byrnes until he's able to use all his weapons." Here, Bob - let me correct that for you. What you meant to say was:
" We won't see all of Eric Byrnes until he's able to use all his weapons."
For just because you can play hurt, doesn't mean you should. Over the past month, I think it should be clear to just about everyone, that Byrnes operating at less than 100% has done more harm than good for the team.
As in the opener, this wasted another solid outing and a quality start by our rotation. This time, it was Brandon Webb who took the tough loss, tasting defeat for the first time this year, despite allowing three runs over seven innings. He fanned seven and walked none, but the Marlins were just very efficient, leaving only three men on base all game. The Marlins took the lead after a triple from Luis Gonzalez - his first since last June and he was likely helped to third by Young - and a suicide-squeeze bunt from Treanor. However, the next batter rendered that somewhat pointless by blasting a solo homer, only the third allowed by Webb all season. Those two plate-appearances provided all the offense that the Marlins would need to get the win.
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Master of his domain: Stephen Drew, +19.8%
God-emperor of suck: Conor Jackson, -15.7%
Dishonorable mentions: Byrnes and Hudson, -13.2%
Understandably, in the light of such a weak performance from the Diamondbacks, attendance in the Gameday Thread was light. Present were UofAZGrad, Muu, DbacksSkins, hotclaws, Wimb, Zephon, luckycc, Azreous, TwinnerA, dahlian, foulpole, unnamedDBacksfan, Augie's Army, LucaMaz3, kishi, SongBird, IndyDBack and srdmad. Particular credit to Muu, who not only had the most comments of anyone today, but managed to put everything into the right context., by telling us how he was robbed at gunpoint today. Suddenly, losing a baseball game hardly seems like it matters much.
Interesting piece at fangraphs.com, comparing Webb and Haren, and their performances so far. The key difference found is that Webb tends to get better in "high-leverage" situations - that's plate appearances that provide the biggest swings in Win Probability. With the usual warning about small sample size [in this case, the high-leverage group covers only 48 trips to the dish], Webb seems to thrive in such situations: there, opponents have a stunning line of .100/.208/.175. Haren, on the other hand, seems to pitch much better when the game is not on the line. As author Eric Seidman puts it, "Give me Webb over Haren with one game to make or break a season, but give me Webb and Haren over other twosomes, at least right now, with two games on the line." Well, let's certainly hope for a bit more run support in Haren's cause tomorrow.