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Diamondbacks 5, Padres 8: Owings' Last Stand?

Record: 53-52. Pace: 82-80. Change on last season: -4.

"No wireless networks were found in range." Are there any more depressing words in the English language? Well, nowadays, it's right up there with "Time, gentlemen, please," ["Last call" to you Americans...] and "Yankees win! Yankees win!" As is usual for Mondays, I'm watching the game in my isolation pod, able to experience, but unable to share the joys and frustrations of Diamondbacks fandom. So, here's my inning-by-inning diary of this contest.

1st inning. Arrived about the same point as last week, and see the Diamondbacks go down in order in the first. Scott Hairston is leading off for the Padres: seems a bit insensitive of them to do that to us. Have San Diego no compassion? Owings gets him to go down swinging at ball four, so it seems some things have not changed all that much. No problems for Micah in the first, and he matches Maddux, by retiring the opposition in order.

2nd inning. Maddux is looking a good deal better than he was when we saw him in Arizona. Not even the newly-anointed NL Player of the Week, Conor Jackson, is able to do much with him, and the Diamondbacks are retired 1-2-3 once more, with Mark Reynolds staring at strike three to end the inning. Owings starts off well, getting the first two Padres, but then walks Gerut on four straight pitches. Control has been an issue for him of late - you know what they say about two-out walks [I wonder if there is any statistical evidence to prove that?]. And, just as I type those words, Hippy Anime Character launches a two-run homer to give San Diego the lead. The third out follows, but the damage is done.

3rd inning. A leadoff single to Montero gets things going, and Owings moves him over to third with a nice-single to left-center. Drew brings him home with a sacrifice fly to get us on the board. Young, however, has the big blow with his first homer since Jun e 18, and we're back on top 3-2. Hudson singles, and Maddux is looking ropey, if not on the ropes. The inning ends, but our comedy host just lent me the Wanted comic-book, and we discuss The Dark Knight, so I'm vague on the details.

A very, very long flyball is off Owings, who did not fool E.Gonzalez. There is another two-out walk, so I have a sense of *deja-vu*, which Gonzalez heartily endorses with a double down the right-field line. What are Owings' split with no outs and two outs? [This year, not much difference: though tonight will have hurt the latter a lot] A single gives the Padres the lead, and I'm wondering why we brough Owings back into the rotation. He's all over the place - the only pitches over the plate are fastballs down the pipe - and another double gives San Diego a two-run cushion. Oh, look: Petit is up and throwing in the 'pen. Owings now hits Hippy Anime Character, who is not impressed. Still, he gets to trot home after a three-run blast by Hundley.

That makes it 8-3 Padres, before Owings finally, mercifully, gets the third out. Anyone reckon Maddux's winless streak is going to continue? Time to insert a brief rant here, since I am about to break my self-imposed quota of one beer at this show. There has been some debate over whether Owings or Petit should be in the rotation, with understandable questionmarks over Petit's peripherals, in particular his long-ball liability. Frankly, I no longer care. Owings has been rank beyond belief over the past couple of months: he has had more than his fair share of chances of late, and has failed to deliver. Including tonight, their lines since the start of June are:
  Owings: 35.2 IP, 42 H, 21 BB, 26 K, 39 R, 37 ER, 9,34 ERA
  Petit: 17 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 3 R, 3 ER, 1.59 ERA

If the Petit Unit does not start on Saturday, I'll want to know why.

Fourth inning. Rant over. Back at the game [with another Stella Artois now located comfortingly in front of me] - I am pleased to see that the Dodgers are being similarly smacked about by the Giants, and are also five runs down in the fourth there. So, all things being equal, looks like we'll still be alone in first tomorrow. We do get a man on, thanks to another Montero single, but a fine snag of a Romero smash down the first-base line ends the inning. Petit is in for us in the fourth: he retires the Padres in order, with two K's. Any questions?

Fifth inning. After our first two go quietly, back-to-back singles to Young and Hudson give Arizona some hope of a late rally. Jackson puts a charge into the ball, but Hairston makes a leaping grab of the ball in left to rob him of extra-bases. I'm not sure if it was a good play or a bad read, but the end result is a zero for Maddux, who has now qualified for the win, even if a meteor now takes out the Padres dugout. Which is likely our best hope here. Petit out again, and allows a two-out chopper - but then, unlike certain recent starting pitchers I could mention, then gets the third out.

Sixth inning. Maddux looking flaky again. Tracy singles, then advances to second on a balk, and another single puts men on first and third with no outs. That will be it for Mad Dog, having done the very bare minimum required for a win - and if you've seen Office Space, you'll know what we think of someone who only does the bare minimum. :-) Not an auspicious beginning for the Padres bullpen, as the first pitch goes to the backstop, scoring a run and moving another one back into scoring position.

Montero strikes out, to his obvious discontent, but a nice piece of slap-hitting from Romero puts men back on the corners. Time for another call to the pen, and also for Tony the Tiger to step to the plate... He weakly grounds into a double-play, killing the rally. Really, whatever he brings to the locker-room, he's not bringing much to the plate. Two hit in sixteen at-bats now. Rosales is called out to replace Petit, and gets through the inning despite another walk.

Seventh inning. We need to start scoring more runs. Welcome to this week's edition of Stating the Bleedin' Obvious, with your host, Jim McLennan. We get a man on, but he doesn't get anywhere past first, and it looks like our chances of pulling this one out are getting slim to the point of non-existent. I am somewhat worried to discover that the Dodgers have come back and are now only a couple of runs down. Rosales out again for the seventh, and the SnakePitette serves me another Stella. The Arizona bullpen continues to kick ass, with Rosales working around a one-out walk. Dodgers have pulled to within one of the Giants. Make it stop.

Eighth inning. An unusual play here, as Montero tried to reach first on a dropped third strike: except, with a guy on first, you can't. Still, the Padres catcher throws to first anyway, the ball gets away, and Reynolds goes to second on the play. An infield single puts men on the corners, and a walk to Ojeda loads the bases and brings the tying run to the plate, in the shape of Drew. He works the count full, but then grounds out. My fantasy team - which includes Bell - thanks you. My real team - the Arizona Diamondbacks - don't. Giants still holding on. Pena in for us. Jackson goes fo an acrobatic slide in foul territory: unharmed, fortunately. The third Stella is kicking in. That's why my sentences are short. Nice catch by Romero. 1-2-3 inning. Yey! [This paragraph was last seen vanishing into a grammatical singularity, and has now relocated somewhere near the Crab Nebula]

Ninth inning. Leadoff double by Young - good to see him getting on base a bit more regularly. One out later, Jackson doubles him home to extend his hitting streak. That makes it a save situation and in comes the all-time saves leader, or whatever he is these days. Chad Tracy, your mission is to get on base, by any means necessary. Chad Tracy, you fail: while Hoffman may be past his best, his change is still lethal. Reynolds swings at the first pitch. Game over. Now, how did the Dodgers do?

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Chris Young, +19.8%
God-emperor of suck: Micah Owings, -58.7%

Looked like a fun and lively Gameday Thread, so sorry to have missed it. Much discussion of the rumored ongoing Teixeira trade [see the link for the latest updates] and - in better news - the potential upcoming contract extension for Dan Haren. "I'm pretty confident something will get done sooner rather than later," Haren said, and that would be a great boost for the team, even though they already have him under control (including the team option) through 2010. Getting him and Webb locked down for the long-term would be an extremely positive step. Anyway: present tonight were utahdbacksfan, kishi, soco, Azreous, mrssoco, Scrbl, unnamedDBacksfan, Muu, AF DBacks Fanatic, hotclaws, emilylovesthedbacks, Zephon, thetomcat87 [welcome!], TwinnerA, 4 Corners Fan, srdmad, AJforAZ, luckycc,  and friendly visitors TuLoRocks2008 and victor frankenstein.

There endeth the streak, at three. So, what did we learn tonight? Not much, except that Owings needs to go back to the bullpen. After a promising start, his sequence of disastrous outings has reached the stage where he no longer even qualifies as a back of the rotation starter. In contrast to yesterday, I note that he gave up two walks and a HBP tonight, all three of whom came round to score, giving the Padres their margin of victory. Petit will be a better option, until the anticipated return of Max Scherzer - though reports suggest this may not happen until the rosters expand in September. Good outing by the bullpen, who gave us five scoreless innings. Shame about the first three. Now, we need to regroup tomorrow, get a strong outing from Davis, and then turn the ball over to Haren on Wednesday for the series win.

Hey, at least the Dodgers lost...