Record: 40-40. Pace: 81-81. Change on last season: -5.
On May 21st, Arizona faced the Marlins in Florida, and Ricky Nolasco allowed one run as his team beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 - the defeat dropped our lead over the Dodgers to three games. On June 27th, Arizona faced the Marlins in Florida, and Ricky Nolasco allowed one run as his team beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 - the defeat dropped our lead over the Dodgers to three games.
Of course, there were some differences: Nolasco went one additional frame, allowed a couple more hits and struck out a couple more people. But the difference between then and now is stark. Then, even after the defeat, Arizona were still a robust ten games above .500, and Los Angeles were the only team within single-digits of us. Now, this looks like a team in absolute offensive free-fall - without a clue, without a hope and without a prayer at the plate. We have managed to score just thirteen times over the seven contests on this road-trip so far. Give us one more defeat, and we'll enter the rarefied territory, of teams who have a sub-.500 record, and still lead their division. We'd only be good enough for fifth in the AL East. Yet if the playoffs began today, we play the Phillies in the NLDS. Any minute now, we're going to get a tap on the shoulder and turn around to find Ashton Kutcher, telling us we've been Punk'd.
Things started off brightly enough. Drew singled, Byrnes followed up with a double, and we had men on second and third with nobody out in the top of the first. However, all we managed to get there was a sacrifice fly by Hudson. That was the end of the Diamondbacks' scoring - and that was also as many runners as we got into scoring position over the eight innings which followed, none of whom made it past second-base. Snyder was the only batter to reach safely more than once, with a hit and a walk. Young went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Tracy: 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Salazar replaced Upton in right, and did no better: 0-for-3 with a strikeout. One walk and a total of ten K's for Arizona.
Really. I don't know what to say about this team any more. How many ways are there to point out the obvious failings of a lineup that musters six hits, five of them singles, a solitary walk, and doesn't get past three runs for the sixteenth time in 22 games? What is there I can meaningfully write? We're almost half-way through the season and our starting lineup boasted exactly one player - Hudson - with a batting average higher than .255. What do you think is going to happen when they face major-league pitching? Melvin closed the doors and made himself unavailable to the media after the game, for only the second time in his managerial time here. Hard to imagine what he told the players, beyond the blindingly obvious. I'd like to think the hitters already know that they're not playing well enough. Any suggestions as to what you might tell them?
Meanwhile, the pitching did its best to keep us in the game, which is another recurring theme story over the past couple of weeks. Things weren't helped by Micah Owings having to leave the game after four innings. Running to cover first on a ground-ball in the fourth, Owings stretched awkwardly and came up lame, having tweaked his quadriceps muscles. He said, "I felt OK to go, and then I came back in [to the dugout], shut it down for a little bit and it stiffened up on me. But I should be fine." Gonzalez, Rosales and Qualls took over after the fourth, and retired all twelve hitters the Marlins sent up there. However, the three runs Owings allowed, were more than enough to send him to another defeat - like Randy Johnson, he will be winless in the entire month of June.
Awful game, reflected in what was probably the lowest volume Gameday Thread of the season, and who can blame anyone? I've run out of things to say that aren't simply retreading old ground. Thanks to those who did take part: dbacksfan01, dahlian, Muu, kishi, emilylovesthedbacks, 4 Corners Fan, TwinnerA, srdmad, snakecharmer, hotclaws, Augie's Army, Wimb, soco, Diamondhacks, SunDevilsDen, Elway4Prez and unnamedDBacksfan. My enthusiasm for the team is pretty low right now, and the best thing looming on the horizon is the All-Star break. It's about the only chance this team has of remaining undefeated for three days in a row.