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Diamondbacks 4, Nationals 0: Speed Thrills

Record: 31-25. Pace: 90-72. Change on last season: -2

One hour, fifty-two minutes. That was the first sub-two hour game in over a year [April 22, 2007, a 2-1 loss against the Giants, took 1:56], the shortest Diamondbacks contest since August 25, 2004, when Josh Fogg beat Randy Johnson 2-1 in Pittsburgh, in a game which took a phenomenally crisp 1:47, and was also the shortest ever in Chase Field history. It kinda renders the early, 5:10 pm start somewhat redundant, when the game itself is over in less time than the average Michael Bay movie.

But, what it lacked in duration, it more than made up for in a great pitching performance by Brandon Webb, who threw his second complete game of the year and his first shutout since the 42-game inning streak last season. 113 pitches; six hits, all singles; no walks; eight strikeouts - only three Nationals got past first base, and two of those had to steal second to get there. After a very wobbly outing last time out, this was the Brandon Webb we, make that needed to see, and he became the first major-league pitcher to hit double-figures in wins. The five-game losing streak was ended, and if May will remain eminently forgettable, at least we ended it on a high note, bringing our lead over the Dodgers back to 3.5 games.

The offense was...well, I guess you can't complain about hitting four homers in a game, but they were all solo shots, and from what I see, we didn't get anyone past first-base either. Can't be many times that a team scores four runs, and doesn't get a single at-bat with runners in scoring position! Instead, we relied on the long-ball: Mark Reynolds had two of those solo homers, both monsters in one dimension or another. The first, which broke a scoreless tie in the second, was over by the Fatburger sign in deep left, and estimated at 450 feet. We'll wait for the more accurate assessment out of, but it didn't feel very much shorter than his April 7th blast to the same area, which was measured at 463 feet. His second only reached the front row of the bleachers in left, but felt like it went 450 feet straight up. They both counted exactly the same though.

That one was immediately preceded by Justin Upton launching his eighth of the year, and Chris Young, not be outdone, re-took the team lead in homers [Reynolds had matched him on eleven] during the eighth, homering onto the porch in left-center for his twelfth of the season. Outside of the long-ball, there wasn't much to offer: singles from Drew, Hudson and Webb, and no walks, though as we only had 30 plate-appearances, chances were somewhat limited. Bergmann posed questions which proved tricky to handle for most of our line-up, outside of those homers. Helped by the pitcher-friendly Angel Hernandez behind the plate ["If it didn't bounce on its way here, it's a strike"], the two hurlers combined for 16 K's and no walks, which also contributed to the swift page.

Couple of other points to note. Bob Melvin called a closed-door clubhouse meeting before the game. Hard to say if it had much effect, as we scored four or less for the seventh game in a row. [Still well short of the franchise record of 15, which we did most recently last May] Stephen Drew batted leadoff, for the first time this season - I'd kinda forgotten, but he was actually our regular in that spot at the start of last season. Jackson And, I have to say, Mark Reynolds' diving sprawl to take a bloop hit away from Dmitri 'The Meathook' Young, leading off the ninth, was an almost certain nominee for play of the year. Of course, the infield needed to be on their feet the entire game: only three outs were recorded by Webb on fly-balls, with sixteen groundballs and the eight K's, No problems on that front today, I'm pleased to report.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Webb, +53.3%
Honorary mention: Mark Reynolds, +15.5%
God-emperor of suck: Chris Young, -9.4%

A thoroughly-enjoyable Gameday Thread, helped both by Webb's great performance, and this month's selection from the Beers of the Month Club, a birthday present for which I have to thank Mrs. SnakePit. [She was out this afternoon, because her mother demanded a picture of St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes, so she could sent it to the Globe, because they ran a cover story about Patrick Swayze being on his death-bed. These things are not apparently easy to find.] A fairly light turnout, but I had a lot of fun, so thanks to those who turned out: soco, Muu, unnamedDBacksfan, DbacksSkins, UofAZGrad, TwinnerA, hotclaws, luckycc, Wimb, Ridster09, RAMJB, UptonMVP and Zephon.

Looks like we will be without Conor Jackson for a couple of days. He strained his quadriceps trying to avoid a pitch during Friday's game; it's apparently something he has had problems with earlier in the season, and was aggravated as a result of this game. He had an MRI, but hopefully, it won't be enough to take him out for long: According to Melvin, "He's been playing with it, but it was hurting him significantly enough where he needed to come out. We were thinking last night and earlier today that maybe [he'll be out] a couple days, but we'll see what the MRI has to say. Our feeling still is that this will just be something that will keep him out for a couple of days." At least with Tracy, we have coverage there, and Chad made a couple of very nice plays at first today.

Not much more to add, for the moment. I have to do a review of the month, but I don't know if that will be tonight (unlikely), tomorrow morning (marginal), or tomorrow evening (probably most likely). In the meantime, here's the poll for Diamondbacks' Player of the Month for May.