Record: 46-47. Pace: 80-82. Change on last season: -3
More extra innings, more forfeited leads, more bullpen pitchers failing to get the job done. This time, however, there was no final surge to come up with a victory. If anything, we're left with tired psyches, tired arms in the pen, and a losing record once again.
Doug Davis' outing was decent, certainly decent enough to win, and once again registered as a quality start (and a no decision). Through four innings he had given up just a walk and two hits - one a solo shot to Ryan Howard that extended his hitting streak to 14 games -and his pitch count was reasonably low. Still, he created trouble for himself in both the fifth and sixth innings by being unable to retire the final hitter.
In the fifth, Davis got two relatively quick outs, but required another 15 pitches to eventually escape with a Chase Utley popup. But in the sixth, after the Diamondbacks had tied the game at 1, Bullwinkle pulled a landmine out of the hat instead. After a couple more baserunners reached with two down, Philadelphia tallied two runs without the ball being put in play, one on a wild pitch, the other on a caught stealing where Ruiz kept himself in a rundown just long enough for Victorino to score from third. Suddenly the visitors found themselves in a bigger deficit than they had the inning before.
Like the previous game, though, Arizona came storming back. A Montero single, Romero double and Bonifacio pinch-hit double was enough to tie the game and eventually chase Kendrick. Drew followed with a single to drive in Emilio and take the lead. But the heart attacks continued in the bottom half of the inning. Qualls, who of late has been impeccable at getting out of jams, allowed consecutive one-out singles to put runners on the corners, then got Utley to ground into a double play to preserve the one-run margin. For good measure, Romero added an RBI double in the eighth, although he was gunned down when he was caught between second and third.
Then the first shades of trouble started. Slaten started the eighth against the left-handed, strikeout-prone Ryan Howard...and walked him. Enter Tony Peña, whose struggles in the previous game were well-documented by his colossal -78.6% in the fangraph. A single and a triple later, the lead was gone, gone, gone. Both teams threatened in the ninth but couldn't score, and extra frames were needed for a second consecutive game.
Unfortunately, this time didn't pan out so great. As they did in the ninth, the Diamondbacks had a runner in scoring position with less than two out in the 10th, but were unable to bring him home. In the bottom of the 12th, the Phillies capitalized on the opportunity with a Taguchi single, a sacrifice, an intentional walk, and a final killing blow by Werth. Even St. Penelope couldn't prevent the winning run from scoring. Ballgame.
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Master of his domain: Leo Rosales, +28.6%
Honorable mentions: Bonifacio, +19.3%; Romero, +15.1%; Tracy, +13.3%; Qualls, +11.0%
God-emperor of suck: Tony Peña, -25.0%
Dishonorable mention: Robertson, -21.4%; Ojeda, -20.9%, Jackson, Young, Hudson, Drew...
Despite the back-and-forth nature of the game, the fangraph was still much more subdued than yesterday's roller coaster. In many ways, the game was the polar opposite of yesterday's affair: the bats piled up the hits early, but disappeared in the late and extra innings. Even so, the poor fangraph seemed confused. Leo Rosales had the biggest influence in our chances of winning? Mark Reynolds' pinch-hit strikeout was worth almost +10%? Drew at -14% despite having one of our few RBIs? It's possible that the graph was still on life support after the previous day's EKG-like readout.
Drew, Hudson, Tracy and Romero each had two hits, and Montero tacked on three of his own. On the flip side, Young was again 0-for-5, striking out twice, although at least he wasn't leading off today. (Then again, the usually dependable Augie Ojeda didn't fare much better: 0-for-5, but with just one strikeout. These are the small victories we cherish.) At the very least, there was enough offense to win, just not enough at the right times. Then again, the starting pitching was good enough too. It's almost as though the team is allergic to success sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time.
Some random notes:
-We stand at 407 runs scored, 406 runs allowed on the season right now. Not surprisingly, our Pythagorean W/L is exactly where it's supposed to be.
-We're now an even 13-13 in one-run games, and 4-3 in extra-inning games.
-Chris Young is batting .211 since May 16, which just four home runs and two stolen bases, 41 K/14 BB, and an OPS of .607.
Present in the GameDay Thread (and overflow), which reached more than 700 comments, were as follows: TwinnerA, DbacksSkins, kishi, hotclaws, luckycc, Muu, 4 Corners Fan, Jim McLennan, srdmad, AF DBacks Fanatic, seton hall snake pit, Azreous, soco, mrssoco, Mr. Philosophical, Scrbl, Wimb, Counsellmember, Zephon, the mystical one, emilylovesthedbacks, DiamondbacksWIn, Turambar and Diamondhacks. Things went from quiet to optimistic to grouchy to quiet resignation, seems like.
It's Randy Johnson on the hill tomorrow, which means one thing: staggering inconsistency. Will we see the Johnson from his last start and the first part of the season? Or the one who lost six straight decisions and led his team to eight straight losses? Working in our favor (if you prefer the glass half full) is the recent trend of alternating wins and losses, both in the past week and in the season series against the Phillies. All signs thus point to a win tomorrow, but many of them are faded and hidden behind Caution: Bridge is Out signs. You are advised to exercise caution when watching this team down the road.