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Diamondbacks 2, Mets 7 - No fire, and very little that works

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Record: 20-9. Pace: 112-50. Change on last season: +4

It certainly looks like the shine has gone off the start of the season for our offense. Over the past ten games, they have a collective line of .238/.311/.394. While they're still averaging an acceptable number of runs [4.7], they have an ugly K:BB ratio of almost 3:1 [94:32]. Of particular concern over this time are:
   Mark Reynolds: 4-for-36, 3 BB, 21 K
   Eric Byrnes: 5-for-32, 1 BB, 6 K
   Stephen Drew: 6-for-32, 4 BB. 4 K
I know that Reynolds was incredibly streaky last year, but he was one K away from having ten consecutive games with multiple strikeouts. The seven in a row he did manage, was a franchise record, and hasn't been surpassed in the majors since Cory Snyder's eight, from Sep. 27-Oct 5, 1986. Ten would have been the longest since Baseball-Reference.com records began, in 1956.

Last night was a poor performance on just about every level - when our hitting, pitching fielding and managing all sucked, to one degree or another, it seems almost petty to start pointing out specifics. Still, that's what I'm here for. :-( To go through these in reverse order, first off, I'm with dahlian on this one: it was questionable to run Owings out there at all. He could have been given extra days off without having to pitch anyone on short rest; he was visibly limping when running the bases on Wednesday. Using Webb tonight and Haren tomorrow would also have given us the pitching edge in two of the three games. 

Owings said afterwards: "I wasn't too sharp. I didn't go into the game feeling 100 percent, but I had to keep battling. You could tell I definitely didn't have all my stuff tonight out of the chute." Unfortunately, Melvin apparently couldn't - running Owings out there for the sixth inning was a particularly poor decision. I know our manager wanted to get him one more AB [he was up third in the bottom of the sixth], but after five, Owings' line was 9 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 5 ER. We should have been grateful still to be in the game, and turned things over to the bullpen at that point - if necessary, making a double switch to get a couple of innings out of Medders [who was instead used for six pitches to get one out] or Cruz [nine pitches]. But Owings instead allowed two more runs on a long-ball, effectively ending the game as a contest.

Defense. I must confess, after Hudson's howling blunder in the opening inning, letting what should have been a double-play ball through to the outfield, my first thought - when I'd calmed down - was, "What will foulpole say?" The answer is, apparently, very little [I do not see a Fanpost this morning, yelling "Headline News! O-Dawg sucks!", as Hairston received]. In Orlando's defense, the ball did apparently tip fractionally off Owings' glove, but it was hardly a missile: how it wasn't scored an error on someone, I have no idea. if we'd turned that, it would have been only a one-run lead for the Mets. Instead, by the time we finally escaped, they were 3-0 up, and we would never get nearer than those additional two runs. That wasn't the only miscue; it was, however, easily the most obvious and costly.

Hitting. We had our moments when we could have come back into the game. We had the tying run at the plate in the first, on-base in the second with only one man out, and at the plate, again with one out, in the fifth. We went 0-for-5 there, which coincidentally is Eric Byrnes line for the night. I don't know if his hamstrings are still bothering him, but he looked pretty bad, right from the first offering he saw, which he popped up to the second baseman. Five at-bats; fourteen pitches in total. That's only two more than Owings saw in a single plate-appearance. Reynolds went 0-for-4 with two K's, and we only managed one walk outside of the pitcher's spot. Though it has to be said, we did have a number of hard-hit balls that seemed to find Mets leather.

Pitching. This has largely been covered above; Owings refused to blame the ankle, saying, "Never going to point a finger. I decided I was going to go tonight, that's what we decided and it felt pretty good." He seemed to be missing his spots, however; according to Montero, "The beginning of the game, he was dragging his arm a little bit. In the beginning of the game, he was trying to do too much." That's back-to-back poor outing for Owings, who has now allowed 12 earned runs in the last 10.2 innings, on sixteen hits, six walks and three homers. On the plus side, the bullpen were again solid, mostly the B-corps giving us 3.1 scoreless innings. That takes our relievers' collective ERA down to 2.49 this year.

Orlando Hudson had to come out of the game after his double in the fifth, with what the report calls "a strained right hamstring," though his opinion on it somewhat less severe. "It's just tightness. It's not the first time I've been through it. I went through it a couple of times in Toronto, but you know, I've got the best strength coach and the best trainer, so it's going to be good. Probably, I'll be off, and hopefully back at it Sunday." Hope that's the case - he's one of the D-backs who has been hitting of late [113-for-39 in those last ten games] and given that, we can ill afford to be without him for any extended period.

Game Notes

  • Sorry for the lack of pictures again. I think Mrs. SnakePit hates visual evidence, having erased the photos from the Dodgers game, and left the camera at the office last night.
  • Micah Owings' at-bats were things of wonder. I've criticized his aggressiveness before, but this time he saw nineteen pitches and walked both times, including a fabulous twelve-pitch battle the second time. The last time any pitcher came up twice and got two walks was back in 2004, when Tom Glavine did it. Owings' OBP is now exactly .500.
  • Compare and contrast Jackson running through the cycle in a blowout, giving a teammate an RBI opportunity, to Jose Reyes selfishly trying to get home in the ninth for an inside-the-parker to complete his cycle, and being easily thrown out. I know who is the better team player.
  • I don't think we'll be eating the burros from Garcias again. Ick.
  • Lot of Mets fans in attendance, or maybe it's just that the AZ fans were shut down by that horrible first inning.  They fall into two categories ["Welcome to Sweeping Generalizations with your host, Jim McLennan..."]: the loud and noxious, who appear to be rehearsing for walk-on parts in The Sopranos, and the almost-invisible, only detectable by the Mets caps.
  • For 'Skins, Eric's entrance music is The Outfield's Your Love. You can listen to it here. Or not. But I promise, it isn't Rick Astley.
  • Mrs. SnakePit was very amused by the "Car!" thing, once it was explained to her. That scratching sound you hear is dahlian crossing her off his Christmas card list... ;-)
  • Yes, Amare Stoudemire was in the house, and got a warm reception from those who recognized him. Which initially excluded us - hey, he's just a large dude in a Suns jersey. But isn't there something odd about a sports superstar going round town wearing a shirt with his own name on it? D'you think Brandon Webb goes to Fry's with his #17 on?
  • Enjoyed the fireworks afterwards; they seemed to have more variety. Ended with Beethoven's Ode to Joy, so that sharpened us up and made us ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence. Well, a Tivo'd ep of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, when we came home.

20080502_mets_diamondbacks_0_score_medium 
[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chris Young, +6.5%
God-emperor of suck: Micah Owings, -34.1%
Dishonorable mention: Mark Reynolds, -13.7%

Looks like I needn't have been worried about the need for an overflow thread, as we barely crawled past 400. Difficult to sustain much enthusiasm for the game...even when you were at it. Here, courtesy of 'charmer's awesome automated roll-call script, are the attendees: seton hall snake pit, soco, unnamedDBacksfan, kishi, Smoltz's Beard, Azreous, DbacksSkins, Muu, foulpole, hotclaws, DiamondbacksWIn, Turambar, singaporedbacksfan, dahlian, Elway4Prez, Wactivist, TwinnerA, dstorm, 4 Corners Fan, srdmad and snakecharmer. And with that, I'd better get this up, since first-pitch in today's afternoon game is barely an hour away now. So, expect that to follow very shortly...