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Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 2: All Downhill From Here

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Record: 41-40. Pace: 82-80. Change on last season: -5.

That was somewhat better. We scored more runs in the sixth inning alone, that we had in the first four games this season against the Marlins, combined. That was, basically, the difference between the two teams today: after losing four games on this road-trip, basically as the result of one big inning, it was nice to put a series of hits together on the opposition.

It was particularly welcome, having once again, killed our own rally in the previous inning. We'd tied the game at one, thanks to an RBI double from Young, and a walk to Ojeda brought Webb up to bunt. However, he popped the ball foul, where the Marlins catcher bare-handed it, and threw to second, before Young could scamper back to the base. Things were hurled at the television set here in SnakePit Towers. Fortunately, the D-backs got a couple of breaks of their own in the sixth. After two walks, Jackson reached on an error to load the bases for Reynolds, whose shot down the line stayed just fair, driving in two runs. Young added a two-out, two RBI triple and Ojeda followed with a double of his own, to pile on with three unearned runs.

We definitely have Brandon Webb to thank, for keeping Arizona in the game long enough for the bats to awaken. The Marlins seemed to threaten almost constantly early on, having men in scoring position with no outs in both the second and third innings, and one out in the third. However, our ace bore down, particularly in the third, where he struck out Luis Gonzalez, Cantu and Willingham, after Ramirez led off with a single and then stole second [he should have been nailed, but Augie inexplicably dropped an almost perfect throw from Snyder]. The only damage was a single run, though we were helped by Uggla turning his ankle between first and second base, after his single led off the fourth - he was tagged out, trying to limp back to first.

Still, you take advantage of the luck, and Webb was solid through six innings. He was pulled after allowing the first two batters to reach in the seventh, and ended with a line of five hits, three walks, eight strikeouts and two earned runs. That is probably his best outing in a while, and the W ended his streak of winless outings at three. Interestingly, with two on and nobody out in the seventh, Melvin turned to Juan Cruz rather than Chad Qualls - it's nice to know he paid attention to Dbackskins' visual aid from the Boston series. Cruz did reasonably well: if he did allow a single, and one of the inherited runners scored on a sacrifice fly, he avoided any significant meltdown [a Win Probability of +6.2% for Famine today]. Peña and Lyon closed things out over the final two innings.

Having apparently got through to Melvin that Cruz is a better seventh-inning guy than Qualls, especially with runners on base, let's move on to the next component on our list of demands. Bold, italic and, oh, what the heck, underline, please:
He went 0-for-5 today, making him 2-for-22 with one walk and six strikeouts since returning to the lineup. His on-base-percentage for the year is now down to .269, the lowest of any position player on the roster. To put this figure into perspective, Randy Johnson has an on-base percentage of .250. This really isn't rocket-science. Put him in at #8 (assuming Micah isn't pitching), and let him earn his way up from there. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

While I appreciate we have few options in the outfield - well, ones not now playing in Oakland and Chicago - there is absolutely no reason for Byrnes to be leading off, regardless of how often he tumbles over the fence while making a catch. Even Eric is painfully honest about his current standing. "I (expletive) suck right now. Sometimes I have my timing, and I just miss balls. I have no explanation. I'll work my butt off. I know I'm better than what I've been hitting. Hitting-wise, the entire year, I've been terrible. It's not for a lack of effort or a lack of trying. I have just sucked. It goes back to the beginning, or whatever, but I'm not looking to make excuses. My legs feel great." But all is not lost! A new episode of The Eric Byrnes Show debuts on Tuesday!

Elsewhere, the bottom of the order was very productive today. Reynolds, Young and Ojeda all had two hits apiece, as slots #5-8 went 7-for-15 with all six RBI. Got to say, I was impressed with Reynolds being willing to speak to the media after the reaming from Melvin yesterday; maybe leadership in the clubhouse isn't coming from the veterans? "We can keep saying it, keep saying it. Hell, we've been saying it for a month now, and we haven't done (expletive) about it. We've got to grind out at-bats. We've got to be a tough out and try to put the ball in play and see what happens. Right now we're not doing that at all... Last year was last year. We see that we can turn it around like we did. There's no guarantees of that." Today was definitely an improvement - though as they pointed out on the post-game show, it's wise for Melvin to rip his team a new one, the day before Webb takes the mound!

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Mark Reynolds, +26.6%
Honorable mentions: Young, +19.9%; Webb, +12.2%
God-emperor of suck: Eric Byrnes, -10.0%

This is actually a quite pedestrian graph compared to some of the spectacular ones out there today. The Tigers blew a ninth-inning lead against Colorado, despite coming in with a 98.5% Win Probability; the Rockies then blew an 84.3% WP of their own and Detroit snatched it 7-6. The Astros-Red Sox game was similarly wild. The Red Sox led 4-0 in the third (WP=84.3%) and 9-6 in the sixth (85.2%), while the Astros blew a fifth-inning, 6-4 lead (79.5%). They finally held on 11-10, Valverde getting his 20th save, despite allowing a home-run. Meanwhile, the Angels have no-hit the Dodgers, but are three outs away from losing, 1-0. Go figure.

soco led all posters today, cracking the double-century mark between the two threads. Also present were: unnamedDBacksfan, kishi, mrssoco, 4 Corners Fan, dahlian, hotclaws, luckycc, TwinnerA, DbacksSkins, srdmad, emilylovesthedbacks, Zephon, Wimb, Muu, DiamondbacksWIn, Diamondhacks and LucaMaz3. A good time was had by all: I'm wondering if the picture of Angelina Jolie that accompanied the original thread, and our subsequent offensive explosion [well, by the standards of this road-trip, anyway] merits consideration for inclusion as a saint. Seems appropriate that the pic was from a film where she plays a hit-woman...

Edgar Gonzalez hit the disabled list today. It was kinda odd yesterday, that our long-relief guy pitched only one inning after coming in to replace Micah Owings for the fifth inning - especially after striking out all three batters he faced. However, he strained his right elbow, and that was enough to put him out of action. As a replacement, the Petit Unit was called up from Tucson; he arrived in Florida just in time for today's game [40 minutes before first pitch, to be exact] but wasn't needed. Petit last pitched for the Sidewinders on Monday, getting the win in his start against Las Vegas, so should be ready to go whenever needed.

Early game tomorrow; 10 am, Phoenix time start. I will be relying on the auto-posting of the Gameday Thread, and may be a little late to show up, if at all. :-)