Record: 51-51. Pace: 81-81. Change on last season: -3
Now that was fun. A nice, easy game. A relatively dominant start by Haren (what's new?). A minor offensive explosion, including a couple of crushed home runs. About the only thing that could have been better was the Dodgers getting beat by the Nationals, but alas.
The bulk of the damage (at least while the outcome was still in doubt) came swiftly. In the second inning, Snyder started things off with an RBI single, and was later followed with two-RBI doubles by Stephen Drew and Chris Young, dropping a five spot on the scoreboard and making things look very good for Dan Haren. Haren contributed to his own cause, hitting a double of his own and drawing a walk.
In the third, Conor Jackson stroked a pitch that was low and away over the left field wall for his 11th homer of the season. Unfortunately, he still isn't the world's bestest fielding corner outfielder, so his accomplishments will be forever banished from the record. Or something. Still, that was about it for the onslaught for a few innings while Haren continued to cruise relatively unscathed.
And cruise he did. Haren scattered nine hits in eight innings with an efficient 100 pitches, walking no one and striking out nine. He was pounding the strike zone and getting ahead in the count early. The Giants looked overmatched most of the night, and a number of the hits were on near-errors (a hot shot to Reynolds that bounced off his shoulder or one that ducked underneath Tracy's glove) or bloop singles. With Volquez being pounded by Colorado earlier in the day, Haren's 2.56 ERA quietly moved to first place in the National League. Simply put, he has been fantastic all season, but especially in the past two months.
Meanwhile, the offense tossed on a few more runs for good measure in the 8th. With runners on the corners and nobody out, CoJack swung and missed at two changeups after getting ahead 3-1 and struck out. Next up was Mark Reynolds, who strikes out a ton more than CoJack and had six K's in his last seven at-bats. Another wasted chance with a runner on third and less than two out? Not for Mr. Reynolds. As Gracie called it perfectly on the broadcast, it was about the worst matchup left-hander Geno Espineli could hope for: Reynolds likes lefties, likes fastballs and likes the ball low. The first pitch was a fastball in the bottom half, and the Sheriff absolutely drilled it about 430 feet to left-center. Just for good measure, Tracy smacked a pitch that may or may not have splashed down into McCovey Cove (even after a couple replays on TV, I honestly couldn't see where the ball hit). Plenty of run support for Haren and a lead that even the tattered bullpen couldn't screw up.
Master of his domain: Dan Haren, +15.2%
God-emperor of suck: Orlando Hudson, -6.2%
Gotta love Fangraphs that look like this. The offense was efficient, scoring their 10 runs on 11 hits. Young, Jackson (whose batting average is up to .316) and Reynolds each had two hits, and every started got on base at some point, although Burke was only on thanks to a fielder's choice.
A good start to the series, and a phenomenal matchup on the mound tomorrow with Lincecum and Webb. Can the offense give that same run support to Webby tomorrow and guarantee a series victory? I'm certainly not holding my breath, but there have been signs of improvement lately. Either way, it should be a great game to watch.
Thanks for the recap, Azreous. As well as your good self, also present in the comments to the Gameday Thread were kishi, Zephon, soco, dahlian, AF DBacks Fanatic, srdmad, 4 Corners Fan, Counsellmember, Snakebitten, hotclaws, Scrbl, Muu, bcloirao, TwinnerA, DiamondbacksWIn, utahdbacksfan, unnamedDBacksfan, emilylovesthedbacks, victor frankenstein and mrssoco, so thanks to them for their input. And a few semi-random thoughts:
- The D-backs threw 120 pitches; the Giants 191. Dan Haren saw 22 in four at-bats!
- As was pointed out, we've already scored as many runs in July as we did all of June - in eight less games.
- Over the last ten games, we're averaging six per game with a line of .280/.346/.470 for an .816 OPS. The last ten-game streak where we scored sixty was April 12-22, where we scored 63, on an almost identical line of .276/.352/.468, an .820 OPS
- Our inability to put together a winning streak has been mentioned - but it's also worth nothing we haven't lost more than three in a row since May either.
- This NL season, Haren's ongoing streak of ten quality starts trails only the thirteen posted by Lincecum from April 8 through June 11. His streak of eight 'super-quality starts' [6 IP, 2 R or less] is the best in the NL for 4 1/2 years, since Kip Wells had ten, ending in April 2004.
- A win today would take us above .500 for the first time this month.