Record: 32-28. Pace: 86-76. Change on last season: -4
If this game was a horse, it would have been put down after the fourth inning, and would now be exiting Miller Park in cans of Alpo. Worst performance of the season to date? It certainly could be: this was the biggest margin of defeat inflicted on the Diamondbacks, certainly. There was hardly an aspect of the game which was played by Arizona at an acceptable level. As baseball analyst Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said, "How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways..."
Our starting pitching was awful. Micah Owings failed to complete five innings for the first occasion this season. Indeed, we'd have been happy to settle for four, but even his hitting ability couldn't save him and he was gone after only three. To be honest, I think Melvin was a bit quick with the hook: sure, Owings had allowed eight hits, but only four earned runs and had thrown only 67 pitches. With the game basically out of reach by the middle of the fourth [Win Probability down to 9%] I'd have thrown him out there for one more frame. After all, he could hardly have done any worse than what replaced him...
Our bullpen was awful. Okay, that's actually somewhat unfair to Messrs. Slaten and Lyon, who pitched two scoreless, indeed perfect, innings. However, the collective line for the relief corps today was five runs in five frames: all of them came in a brutal fourth inning for Edgar Gonzalez, in which he allowed four hits, two of them homers a walk and five earned runs [About the only comfort is that Foulpole was missing from the Gameday Thread, so we were spared his obvious comments.] Admittedly, he was not helped by Justin Upton butchering a ball in the outfield, allowing the quick but hardly mercurial Corey Hart to scurry all the way round for an inside-the-park homer. Which brings me to...
Our defense was awful. The above play had Upton exhibiting all the agility of a new-born foal, diving, failing to make the play, then falling over as he tried to get to his feet. Of course, this is countered in typical J-Up style by a great grab he made of a near-HR (this one more normal) by Hart, then doubling the runner off second. That was a rare good play, on a day which started with an infield hit to Reynolds that should not have happened, and was followed immediately by a throwing error from Owings which let the runner advance to second. Add bobbles by Upton and Young in the outfield which also gifted the Brewers' extra bases [albeit ones they scarcely needed.
I want to stress that errors are entirely objective, and so not a reliable method of judging defense. However, I think there can be little argument that our fielding has not shown the improvement, hoped for as a result of our increased experience. Last season, we had 107 errors - instead of cutting back, we're currently on pace for 110, the most in franchise history, save the nightmare which was 2004. That season, we committed no less than 139 errors, including 34 at third-base and 22 from the outfield. Again, this is far from an objective assessment, but it's still kinda disturbing to see that J-Up has a lower fielding percentage than we've got from our third-basemen this year.
Our offense was awful. Even after moving Micah Owings to the #8 spot, and dropping Chris Young all the way to #5, the result was still painful: a solitary run, only six hits and two walks, compared to 13 strikeouts. Chris Burke went 3-for-4, which was a very pleasant surprise. Hudson reached safely twice, on a walk and an error. But the rest of the lineup? Yuck,. Slots #5-9 - Young, Owings, Upton, Snyder and Romero - combined to go 0-for-15 with one walk and seven K's. That makes the K:BB ratio for the team over the past five games 43:10; we're not just failing, we are failing very badly.
It's now nineteen games in a row the Diamondbacks have gone without getting more than ten hits. This breaks the franchise record of seventeen, set May 30-June 18 last season. The comforting thing is, that team eventually came out of the slump, which was if anything, worse than the present one. We hit about the same (.215 then vs. .213 now), but last year, got only 39 walks in those seventeen games. The two free passes today give us 72 in nineteen, so we are getting on base at a better clip. The same 2007 team also had three other lengthy streaks with ten hits or less, which lasted sixteen, twelve and ten games. Of course, over those 55 games of offensive indifference, last year's model still went 24-31. We're now 6-13 in this current abyss of apathetic at-bats.
[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Orlando Hudson, +10.5%
God-emperor of suck: Micah Owings, -32.5%
soco, unnamedDBacksfan, DbacksSkins, kishi, dahlian, hotclaws, 4 Corners Fan, TwinnerA, luckycc, Zephon, Azreous, dstorm, Muu, friendly (and sympathetic) visiting fan BrewerLover, Wimb, IndyDBack and srdmad were present, though the optimism which was present early on, soon evaporated in favor of petunia-like indifference, i.e. "Oh, no - not again." At least...well, I've changed our slogan in favor of something more appropriate for the past month.
Tomorrow is an off-day. Insert obvious comment there, about it being impossible to tell the difference as far as our offense goes. We'll regroup, and see what Pittburgh brings, although the hoped-for 5-5 record on this trip is looking about as likely as the 4-2 record at home was...