Record: 50-50. Pace: 81-81. Change on last season: -2
That was, all told, a damn fine evening. Dinner, followed by two and a half hours exploring the surreal universe which springs from the mind of Eddie Izzard - he spent the first 30 minutes alone riffing on Phoenix and its Wikipedia entry, which he pulled up on his iPhone. The city is, of course, named after the mythical bird which came here, died in flames, and was resurrected - only to discover it was still actually on fire. Anyone who can slide seamlessly from giraffes to the noises made by tennis players inside five minutes is...someone who shares my mental wiring.
And then I come home to find out that the Dodgers lost (Kershaw got slapped about something awful) - and, more importantly, that the D-backs were doing their best Davey Crockett impression, and hunting bear at Chase. I did manage to catch a little bit of the game at dinner, as Yusmeiro Petit got Ramirez to fly out to the warning track, ending the third inning. It looked like the batter thought that one was out of here, as he trotted out of the box casually. Nothing better than seeing the shock on an opposing hitter's face as his home-run trot has to take a sharp right-turn towards his dugout. At that stage, we were only 1-0 up, thanks to Jackson's tenth homer of the year, so this was by no means over.
Jackson also scored our second run in the bottom of third, sliding home from second after a single by Reynolds. The Cubs got a run back in the next frame, after their #8 hitter tripled, but that was the only damage they managed off Petit, despite a few hard-hit balls and four free passes. Still, as far as spot-starts go, on less than 24 hours notice, we'll be more than happy with five innings of one-run ball, on three hits and with four strikeouts. Melvin after the game said that Petit may get another start, with Owings going full-time to the pen, presumably tiding us over until Max Scherzer is ready to return to the rotation. Said Petit, "This year I feel a little more comfortable. It's easier to make adjustments, and so far I've been feeling good about what I've done."
The game stayed close until the bottom of the seventh, when Hudson got his eighth homer of the year, a shot that made it a 5-1 game, after Drew scored on one of three Cubs wild pitches [they were also charged with three errors - so it is not just us!]. While the Cubs pulled one back immediately, Arizona poured it on in the eighth. They sent ten men to the plate on four hits and three walks, with the key blow a two-run double by Clark - after the Cubs had intentionally loaded the bases by giving Drew a free pass, in order to get to Jackson. CoJack continues to be on fire, with three hits and three RBI this evening: Drew, Hudson, Tracy and Reynolds all reached safely twice with a hit and a walk. We had five walks and only four strikeouts, a good ratio
After Petit left the game, he was followed by Rosales, Qualls, Peña and Rauch, with the only tally a solo HR off Peña. Rauch was one of two debuts for the Diamondbacks in tonight's game, and both proved to be successful. Jon Rauch, acquired from the Nationals in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio, pitched a scoreless ninth inning, though by that point, it was no longer a save situation, thanks to the four we scored in the eighth. He struck out the first two batters he faced, and though a single and wild pitch followed, he got Fukudome to ground out, clinching the game. connor Robertson was sent down to Tucson to make room for Rauch in the pen, and the departure of Bonifacio meant Jamie D'Antona made his debut, pinch-hitting for Qualls in the seventh. He promptly singled to left-field, in his first ever major-league at-bat. Here's to many more.
The chance for that might come sooner rather than later, thanks to a scary moment in the eighth, as our hottest hitter this month, Hudson, was hit on the ankle by Hart, dropping O-Dawg like a sack of potatoes. The fortunate thing is, there appears to be no permanent damage, with X-rays proving negative. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sitting out tomorrow, so he'll have a couple of days to rest thanks to the off-day on Thursday. Much discussion at BCB at to whether someone - possibly Micah 'Up & In' Owings, second in the majors for hit batters - will exact retribution tomorrow at some point. Romero was also plunked earlier in the game, though as noted, given the general wildness of the Cubs' pitchers, maybe they just sucked. :-) Sweeping them out of Arizona would, however, be far sweeter than engaging in pseudo-macho nonsense, much as I really want to see Chris Snyder in a brawl some day!
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Master of his domain: Yusmeiro Petit, +18.0%
God-Emperor of suck: Miguel Montero, -6.1%
Very busy Gameday Thread(s), with over 900 comments, even with the Chat Room operating [how did that go? I popped in when I came home, but there was just Emily and Phil left at that stage]. Present in the "formal" thread were DbacksSkins, soco, Scrbl, snakecharmer, Zephon, mrssoco, emilylovesthedbacks, TwinnerA, 4 Corners Fan, foulpole, AF DBacks Fanatic, Muu, kishi, hotclaws, DiamondbacksWIn, dahlian, AJforAZ and unnamedDBacksfan.
These have been a pair of very impressive performances, shutting down the most productive offense in the National League to only two runs in eighteen innings - games started by our #4 pitcher and a spot-replacement, to boot. Now, let's go for the jugular tomorrow and finish off the reeling and demoralized Cubs: they swept us at Wrigley earlier in the season, so turnabout will be very fair play.