Record: 29-19. Pace: 98-64. Change on last season: +4
Y'know, given how badly this started, it was a particularly kick-ass day. I had one of the worst night's sleep I've had in a very long time: the SnakePitette's new puppy ended up sharing our bed last night. Which I didn't realize, until I came to bed - and stretched my arm out, only for something to begin licking my fingers. It took me a while to work out it wasn't Mrs. SnakePit. I think it was the barking that gave it away. Anyway, turned out we were puppysitting overnight, which was fine, until the little canine opted to pounce on my face. That will wake you up, i don't care who you are. To cut a long (sleepless) story short, today was only survived with the aid of a large quantity of caffeinated beverages.
The evening though? Particularly wonderful. Indeed, the wonderfulness started not long after first pitch, as by the time we reached the middle of the first inning, we'd already scored more runs than in the entire Marlins series. By the end of the game, the D-backs had outscored their total from the previous five games combined, and had singlehandedly matched their home-run production in the last eleven. We gave up on the game as a blowout victory after Chris Young pounded a two-run shot to make it 10-1, and then went to dinner with legendary B-movie producer/director Charles Band, is town for his horror roadshow tomorrow, which Mrs. SnakePit is road manager for this year. He has some great, great stories, such as the late great Klaus Kinski holding a knife to the throat of the director of Crawlspace, while on set in Italy. We're really looking forward to seeing Band's latest epic, Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust.
But, I digress. Tonight was a complete vindication: after last night's shutout, I said this team wasn't really that bad. I didn't quite expect them to prove me right quite so fast, with our first double-digit margin of victory in almost exactly a year - the last one was Friday, May 25th last season, against Houston, when we won 13-3. If only we could take the scoring tonight, and backdate it to the three games against the Marlins, we could have won almost all those as well. However, this is baseball, not mutual funds, so we can simply settle for ending the losing streak in the most emphatic fashion possible. This was no cheap win either: the Braves came in with a 20-5 record at Turner Field, and having just swept the Mets in a four-game series, by a combined margin of 27-9.
However, despite a five-game winning streak, before their first hitter came to the plate, Atlanta's win probability found itself already reduced to just 14.4%, as Arizona plundered five runs in the top of the first. Drew homered with one out, Snyder added a two-run double with two outs, and Byrnes immediately followed with a two-run homer, part of his latest slump-busting attempt. After the misery which was our at-bats in Florida, this was like an orange sorbet, washing away the taste of boiled broccoli. That was only the start. Young singled home a couple of runs in the fourth; Jackson homered in the fifth; Young homered with Reynolds aboard in the sixth, to take us into double-figures; and Reynolds himself capped it off with our fifth long-ball of the night, to lead off the eighth.
The Diamondbacks proved remarkably efficient, scoring eleven runs on only nine hits; we left just three men on base all night. Young, Drew and Byrnes each had two hit nights, with Jackson and Snyder reaching safely twice, on a hit and a walk apiece, while Upton drew a pair of free passed. I am forced to correct DbacksSkins however, since those five home-runs is not actually a team record, as he reported in the thread. We homered six times in a wind-assisted 15-4 victory at Wrigley Field, on July 31st, 2006. We have now homered five times on eleven occasions, most recently on July 31st, 2005, also at Wrigley.
Tonight, however, the hero is not the offense, and even they would likely be happy to take a back seat to Doug Davis. He made his first start since his thyroid removal, and allowed one run in seven innings, flummoxing the Braves with 82 mph fastballs and timely double-plays. As is usual, he had his share of trouble, particularly early on. It looked like the Braves might mound a comeback in the second, getting a run in and putting runners on second and third with only one out. However, he struck out the opposing pitcher, and then Upton made an all-or-nothing dive in right to save a couple of runs, atoning for an error earlier in the inning. The first two Braves also reached in the third, but a Teixeira double-play proved a turning point: aided by a couple more twin killings, Davis faced the minimum from there through the end of the seventh. The "W" was rarely more deserved by a starter.
It's almost a complete reversal from last night, where hardly anyone was in positive territory. In this game only Hudson and Davis (at the plate) were less than zero, and the latter's contribution on the mound more than outweighed what he did at the dish - his two sacrifice bunts actually reduced our Win Probability by 0.1%, even though the second one came with the score 8-1 in our favor. A much more upbeat Gameday Thread for obvious reasons - hey, we should score five runs every first inning. Present were Azreous, dahlian, DbacksSkins, hotclaws, Augie's Army, acidtongue (now, that was fun!), foulpole, luckycc, isoldout, kishi, Muu, TwinnerA, OnlineHomeopath and snakecharmer.
So, we kicked ass, restoring normal order to the universe. Dodgers lost too, restoring our lead in the division back to 3.5 games. All of a sudden, things look a great deal better than they did 24 hours ago, and here's to that trend continuing over the rest of the long weekend. Not going to about much tomorrow, because the aforementioned Horror Roadshow - Azreous has agreed to be on recap duties for that one. But If anyone wants to join us at The Sets in the evening, mention the SnakePit and we'll let you in for free. Yes, an 11-1 victory has left us filled with the very milk of human kindness: I'm off to hug a puppy and go to bed!