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Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 5 - The Late, Late, Late, Late, Late Show

Record: 42-42. Pace: 81-81. Change on last season: -4

The rain is falling down
I feel like a dog that's been kicked out into the street
I know that dogs can't drive cars
But that's about the only difference between us now

Well, that totally sucked, didn't it? We strand a battalion of runners, Brandon Webb has another lackluster outing, and the umpires questionably rule a foul-ball a two-run homer for the Brewers. And so, we sit here in the middile of the ninth, three outs away from a shutout, another defeat and out fourth consecutive series loss. Could things really get any worse for the Diamondbacks than they are?

But wait!
There's a rainbow over the freeway
And I think I feel the morning sun
Another song is number one
Golden days have just begun...
Sparks - Change

Wow. Simply, wow. if not quite the biggest comeback in Diamondbacks history - we've come back from six runs down on three occasions - this one could well be the greatest ever, for its lateness and the ferocity of the comeback. Not only did we break up a shut-out by scoring six runs in the ninth, we did it without having a single batter retired, on six hits and a walk. Oh, what the heck: let's relive the whole bottom of the ninth again, shall we?

Milwaukee 5, Arizona 0
Bottom 9th: Arizona
- G. Mota relieved E. Gagne
- R. Hammock singled to shortstop
- C. Burke walked, R. Hammock to second
- A. Ojeda singled to second, R. Hammock to third, C. Burke to second
- B. Shouse relieved G. Mota
- C. Tracy hit for L. Rosales

- C. Tracy doubled to deep center, R. Hammock, A. Ojeda and C. Burke scored
- S. Torres relieved B. Shouse
- J. Upton singled to right center, C. Tracy to third
- O. Hudson doubled to deep left, C. Tracy scored, J. Upton to third
- C. Jackson singled to center, O. Hudson and J. Upton scored
6 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors
Milwaukee 5, Arizona 6

Was there anyone, anywhere who saw that coming? Even Melvin: "I was almost in shock, basically... Don’t ask me." It was a stunning reversal, and one which belied the 0.8% Win Probability we had at the start of the inning. I had to watch things unfold on an unholy mix of Yahoo Gameday - accurate but slow as treacle - and the Gameday Thread, which was quick, but for understandable reasons, largely incoherent, the comments being largely "Wooooooo!" or in Portuguese. :-) Still, my mindset went from "Oh, good: we might not get shutout," through "Well, we might make the score respectable," to "God, it's gonna suck when they blow this," and my final thought, "Woooooooo!" Which might have been in Portuguese too, I don't recall....

Never say die. And it was the little guys - some much maligned - who got it started, Hammock (single), Burke (walk) and Ojeda (single), loading the bases without getting the ball out of the infield. Tracy then defied the odds, clearing the bags against a left-handed pitcher - fortunately, Melvin didn't have a RHB left on the bench - to bring the tying run to the plate. Upton singled, and then O-Dawg added a double to leave the winning run at second, still with no outs. At this point, I was still entirely convinced that somehow, we would find a way to screw up. Hey, we blew second and third with one out last night, so why not go one better this afternoon? However,  Conor Jackson rifled a single back up the middle, and the dugout emptied, like we'd just won the World Series. Though this was likely far more improbable than our 2001 comeback in Game Seven.

Frankly, I want to draw a veil over the first eight and a half innings, since they blew chunks. We had five hits, and absolutely no runs at all, despite a host of chances. We had someone on base every inning until the sixth, and in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, we put our first two men on board - yet still contrived to come away empty-handed in all three. Up until the final, delirious remarkable frame - and I am still convinced we are going to lose it when I watch the FSN replay later tonight - this was just another afternoon of inept Diamondbacks baseball.

Lost in the furore is the worrying fact that Brandon Webb had another poor outing. He allowed nine hits in six innings, walked two, and was tagged for five runs, all earned, to increase his ERA to 3.43. In mitigation, this was bloated somewhat by the umpires' ruling that a ball from Cameron was actually a two-run homer and not a foul, claiming that it managed to graze the foul-pole - replays were inconclusive, I believe, but the case for home-run replay just got a little bit stronger. Can you imagine how it would have been, had those two runs turned out to be the difference in the final score? Kudos to the bullpen, Cruz, Robertson and Rosales, who pitched what turned out to be three very crucial scoreless innings, with the last-named getting his first-ever victory in the major-leagues.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Orlando Hudson, +31.0%
Honorable mention: Conor Jackson, +21.5%
God-emperor of suck: Brandon Webb, -17.9%

The graph is, I suspect, an accurate representation of interest in this afternoon's Gameday Thread - it was heading towards a season low number of comments, before exploding, as noted above, in the bottom of the ninth. Still fairly quiet - I sense a lot of people are perhaps travelling? - but it ended at a respectable 257, with contributions from Muu, TwinnerA, Zephon, Jim McLennan, kishi, Wimb, dahlian, snakecharmer, 4 Corners Fan, KLM [welcome!], DiamondbacksWIn, golfmanthee [welcome!], Augie's Army, emilylovesthedbacks, luckycc, mrssoco, Turambar, soco, IndyDBack and friendly visiting fan SullyBaseball.

Hell of a win, and it keeps us just with a little breathing room over the Dodgers, who also won and must have been thinking they'd be half a game back tonight. It's back into divisional play tomorrow, and advantage is probably to Arizona, since we play the inept Padres, while the Dodgers have to face the surprising Giants. However, they get to miss Lincecum, while Saturday sees Doug Davis face Jake Peavy, so I'm sure our hitters are not looking forward to that. For tonight, however, we will revel in the victory which was snatched, not just from the jaws of defeat, but somewhere down defeat's throat, beyond the dangly bit and nearing the tonsils.

Finally, got an email from Eric Seidman, giving me a heads-up on a nice interview he did, over at Baseball Prospectus, with Max Scherzer - who appears to be a secret stathead. Some very interesting reading there, and it's particularly fascinating to hear his take on BABIP:

Last year [Max's brother] came across the whole BABIP theory and explained it to me, but I was initially very skeptical because I just could not imagine all pitchers were essentially the same. As my season went on, I kept an eye on it, and he was right—pitchers really do not have control over the balls put in play, [that's on] the defense and luck. I’m very numbers-oriented myself, so I kept digging into this wealth of information. Sure enough, the K/BB and HR/9 were really the driving numbers behind the success of pitching. It really made sense to me, but the pitcher inside couldn’t comprehend that, of everything involved, just three outcomes can determine one’s success.