Record: 69-66. Pace: 83-79. Change on last season: -6
Magic number: 24. Playoff odds: TBA.
Remember yesterday, when the offense poured from the mountaintops like spring water and quality defense paved the golden streets that wound their way through Diamondbacktown?
Nothing like that in today's affair. A subpar outing from Dan Haren, a couple iffy defensive plays, and the offense reverted back to previous form. In other words, it was like a microcosm of all of the team's shortcomings in August, combined in a handy (but infuriating) one-game package.
This game was close through the first three innings, but that was about it. Mandy had a solo shot in the top of the third, and the Diamondbacks answered back with a run of their own in the bottom half -- Young had an RBI triple that scored Dan Haren, who continued to be a solid performer at the plate (if not so much on the mound). After that, it was a general malaise of Dodgers offense and Arizona outmaking.
The middle innings were particularly unpleasant. Drew's error in the fourth allowed an extra run to score on a Berroa ground ball. Kemp had a two-run homer in the fifth, scoring ManRammer.
The only other serious chance to get back in the game came in the eighth inning. Gameday is still baffled by this inning (Billingsley made two outs by grounding out in our half, for example). Drew and Young had consecutive doubles to put a second run across, but that was the extent of the threat. Three quick outs later, any remote chance was gone.
Haren never looked particularly sharp, particularly after legging it out on the bases to score on Young's triple. He gave up five runs on a whopping 10 hits, although he did avoid walking anyone, continuing the solid K:BB ratio he's had all season. The hits are a more disturbing trend, however: in each of his last eight starts, dating back to July 25th, Haren has given up at least seven hits in all of them, and double digits three times. Just to perpetuate the second half slump idea, here are his numbers in that span:
5-2, 53.1 IP, 71 H, 29 ER, 6 BB, 57 K, 4.89 ERA
What aren't we going to talk about? Ramirez's two home runs, for one thing. Or the fact that Angel Berroa (.224) and Chad Billingsley (.093) were hit by pitches, and he was not. Or the Dodgers closing the gap back to 3.5 games and snapping their eight-game losing streak.
Master of his Domain: Chris Young, +17.7%
God-Emperor of Suck: Dan Haren, -25.4%
Dishonorable Mention: Mark Reynolds, -12.2%; Chad Tracy, -10.5%
Chris Young is not only the Master of his Domain, he's the sole member of said domain. Besides CY, only Pena and Lyon managed to be in the positive for win expectancy, and their contributions (a scoreless inning apiece in what was essentially a mop-up job) were worth a whopping 0.4%. Evvvvvvverybody else was in the negative. Young had three hits, Ojeda and Drew a couple apiece, and Dunn drew two walks. That's about it. The Fangraph accurately reflects what a downward spiral this game was.
Joining me in a disappointment-filled Gameday Thread were: DbacksSkins, GaryTheGaucho, emilylovesthedbacks, 4 Corners Fan, njjohn, TwinnerA, srdmad, foulpole, unnamedDBacksfan, Scrbl, kishi, rockiesfan4ever, LucaMaz3 and KLM. Nearly 600 comments, although I'd wager almost half of them came in the first three innings. Things seem to quiet down from that point on for some reason...
So enough about that, and enough about the negatives. We're still where we were two days ago, which means we're two days closer to maybe winning this division or something. It's the sinkerballers on the mound tomorrow, with Webb once again trying for win #20, while Lowe attempts to get his record to .500 (despite pretty solid numbers on the year). Maybe the offense will show up. Maybe they won't. Who knows.
Just a reminder: SB Nation will supposedly be down tonight. By all indications, it shouldn't be down for long.