Record: 34-29. Pace: 87-75. Change on last season: -2
Double-D has made 39 starts since coming to Arizona. In the 16 where has allowed less than three walks, his record is 9-2. In the now eleven starts where he has handed out more than three free passes, it's 2-8. So, from the moment Doug Davis walked two Pittburgh batters in the first inning - even though one of them looked like a pretty good strike three - it was clear this was going to be a struggle for the Diamondbacks. When Davis walks people, whether the result of a miserly umpire, a lack of control or, as today, a bit of both, trouble tends to result, sooner or later.
In this case, it took a bit of time. The Pirates stranded five men on base in the first three innings, without scoring. But Pittsburgh made no such mistake in the fourth, getting five hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly to plate five runs. The game was blown open, and Davis yanked after just 3.2 innings in which he allowed seven hits and four walks - simply too many base-runners to be effective. It's not necessarily the walks themselves; today, only one of the four came round to score. However, it does drive up his pitch-count - he'd passed fifty before getting out of the second today - and means the hits which Davis will give up are more likely to score runs.
Arizona took the lead on a passed ball in the second, allowing Jackson to trot home from third. However, the next time we got a runner past first-base, we were four runs behind: Mark Reynolds homered to lead off the fifth, but Max Scherzer struggled with his own control in the bottom half. He walked one batter, hit two more and then allowed an RBI single to push the Pirates lead back to four. Even so, we had our chances thereafter: we loaded the bases up and brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth, but Reynolds grounded out. We got two men on in the seventh...and Hudson flew out. Reynolds cut the Pirates' lead in half with his second homer of the day in the eighth, and when Ojeda singled with two outs in the ninth, we had the tying run at the plate once again. However, O-Dawg grounded out to complete an 0-for-5 day, and the winning streak was over.
Pretty much a standard day for Arizona at the plate over the past month: 6-8 hits once more - twelve games in a row for that little streak now - five runs or less [13 straight] and a defeaeach had a pair of hits and a walk, while Reynolds had his two homers, giving him thirteen on the year and 39 RBI, both leading the team. Special K is one of the few Diamondbacks to have been hitting of late; since May 18, he is batting .323 [20-for-62], with six homers and 11 RBI in 18 games. [Despite the ohfer today, O-Dawg is still hot, batting .321 post his return]
The B-squad was out today, with Ojeda, Burke and Romero all starting. I am still not quite sure what Melvin is trying to accomplish by putting Burke in a) the starting lineup, and b) the lead-off spot. I've seen very little to convince me that he is a better option than Jeff Salazar, even taking into account the handedness of the opposing starting pitcher. 0-for-3 with a walk for Burke, dropping his season average to .184. Romero started in right, replacing Upton, whose slump showed no signs of abating with a pinch-strikeout in the seventh. At this stage, it's hard to say what we should do with J-Up. Much as I'd like to see him stay here and work his way through it, there has got to be a point where a young hitter may need to take a step backwards, in order to keep going forward. 6-for-62 with thirty K's, would seem precariously close to that point.
[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Conor Jackson, +9.2%
God-Emperor of suck: Doug Davis, -30.9%
Dishonorable mention: Orlando Hudson, -11.8%
Thanks to kishi for starting the overflow thread today. How wise of me to give him the ability to to do so...about two months ago :-) He's now been "properly" promoted to the page footer, alongside the other editors. I like the pyramidal structure, with one manager, two editors and three authors... Anyway, present for this morning's entertainment were soco, foulpole, DbacksSkins, mrssoco, kishi, Azreous, hotclaws, dahlian, TwinnerA, Wimb, emilylovesthedbacks, CPAYNEonaplane, luckycc, unnamedDBacksfan and Muu.
Have to say, this was the game in the series I was least optimistic about winning: Davis is still not a pitcher I can bank on for a quality start in the same way as Webb, Haren - and, increasingly, Randy Johnson. If we can get a win tomorrow [and that depends upon whether our offense can rub the sleep from their eyes in time for an unholy first pitch - 12:35 in Pittsburgh, which is about 4 am, Arizona time or something], then that'll be fine. Three wins out of four for a road series is pretty good. Meanwhile, we wait to see whether the inevitable Dodger loss after a Diamondbacks loss ensues as expected.