clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Athletics 15, Diamondbacks 1 – Straight A’s

Record: 37-34. Pace: 84-78. Change on last season: -3

Quote: "Reynolds scores a run." - The only video highlight could manage for this mess.

Hello, I'm Azreous McClure. You may remember me from such recaps as "Double Delicious" and "80% of the Time, They Don't Hit Every Time." Earlier today I made a grave error in judgment and am thus going to change my name to Turambar. I regret the mistake tremendously. Since it was Behind the Scenes night on the FSNAZ broadcast, let's do a little investigating of our own, shall we?

4:17 PM / Chris: Just FYI, as we get used to this schedule thing, I've got the recap tonight covered, right? I'm hoping it'll be interesting in the winning kind of way, not the oh-god-the-horror kind of way.
4:19 PM / Jim: Yep. You're up, if that's okay. At least it's a Webb start. :-)
4:21 PM / Chris: Yeah, I figure we can't lose 12-3 or something tonight. God willing.

The prediction was correct. It was much, much worse.

At first glance, things wouldn't seem so bad. Webb on the hill to start. Peña in the eighth. Lyon in the ninth. Sounds like a typical Cy Young, seven-inning performance closed out by the bullpen - only that wasn't the case at all. Webb struggled with his control all night, walking five batters, giving up nine hits (six for extra bases) and getting chased after three and a third to the tune of seven runs. It's been four seasons since the last time Brandon had such an abbreviated start, going back to a 2004 game against the Cardinals. And it wasn't for a lack of pitches: the homer by Chavez that chased Webb came on his 133rd pitch of the game.

Lyon's effort in the ninth was far from the usual fare as well. He didn't even finish the inning, breaking his scoreless streak on the leadoff batter and then tanking completely with four runs in just two thirds of an inning. The fault for this could be placed on Grace's shoulders (not mine, for once) for bringing it up in the first place, which set both men in the booth off on a torrent of apologies to anyone and anything...including an apology to our old buddy shoewizard.

After Lyon was chased by a three-run homer from Mark Ellis, Doug Slaten came in and joined the hit (past tense) parade with a walk and another home run before finally, mercifully, getting out of the inning. Really, at that point they might as well have just brought in Ojeda. Or Grace. Or a kid in the third row.

The bright spot in all this? Edgar Gonzalez. EdGon got through the seventh in relief of Webb, striking out five in the process and giving up just one run, which was the equivalent of posting a zero tonight.

Granted, with the offensive struggles of late, the two runs Webb gave up in the first would have been enough for Oakland to get a victory anyway. But as the runs kept being tallied on the visitor side of the scoreboard, the bats looked on with increasing indifference. No one had more than one hit. Five hits total. Eight strikeouts, no walks.

Mark Reynolds was a hero of sorts, scoring the only run of the evening, and also only striking out once. This enabled Justin Upton to join him in a tie for second place in the NL by going down on strikes twice. On the plus side, they're still more than a dozen behind Ryan Howard. Jackson had a hit and a stolen base, and that was about it for anything significant. I mean, Edgar Gonzalez had the only RBI of the night. Anything beyond this requires a certain visual representation of equine battery.

[Clicking will not enlarge; this computer won't allow me to link things that way]
Master of his domain: Conor Jackson, 4.0%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Webb, -32.6%

A very bizarre, but telling, FanGraph. Yes, you read that right: Conor was the team leader with just 4 percent. Edgar Gonzalez was the only other player in the positives. Five players (Lyon, Slaten, Romero, Burke, Montero) arrived so late in the game that they didn't affect the probability of winning at all. We were down to 3.4% in the fourth inning after Webb was pulled, then finally flatlined on Crosby's home run in the ninth, dropping to 0% win expectancy. Good times.

The Dodgers actually managed to pick up a game in the standings, riding Billingsley to a 3-1 victory. That leaves the D-backs three games over .500, yet four and a half in first. More frighteningly, if the Cubs and Diamondbacks traded places, Chicago would be a resounding 12 ½ games in first at the moment. It seems Diamondback fans are stuck somewhere between stunned silence at the awful play, or abject horror (because the team A) could have a much bigger lead in the division, and B) could/should be five or six games back themselves). Any way you slice it, it was a hot, miserable night. Haren goes up against his old teammates tomorrow.