Record: 69-67. Pace: 82-80. Change on last season: -6
Magic number: 24. Playoff odds: 64.8%
I am not going to write the recap tonight. That would result in me saying too many harsh, unkind things about the woeful performances, from many directions, phoned in by the Diamondbacks on national television this evening. I will leave the bare bones up here and maybe - just maybe, if I feel up to it - I will look into this game in a little more depth tomorrow.
But I wouldn't count on it.
Okay. It's now the morning after, and I am still extremely miffed at the way the Diamondbacks rolled over and played dead in the last two games of the series - exactly the same way they did in the previous series against the Dodgers. They have now spurned multiple chances to finish off LA, opting instead for wretched performances that leave us fans extremely disappointed. Because this team can play better. That's the problem here. I'd expect this level of ineptitude from the 2008 Padres, not the 2008 Diamondbacks. There are few things more frustrating, as a supporter, than watching your team not perform to the level of ability which you know they are entirely capable of reaching.
I am particularly concerned about Brandon Webb, whose performance in the last two starts has resulted in the following line:
Webb: 8 IP, 17 H, 6 BB, 14 R, 12 ER, 7 K
This is not the ace we know and love. These were arguably the worst back-to-back starts in his career: Webb hasn't gone less than five innings in successive games since 2003, and in those two outings he was the victim of poor defense with four unearned runs in the first and three more in the second. In the past week, opposing hitters have a .415/.479/.707 line against Webb - admittedly, it's a small sample-size, of only 48 batters, but it's really not what we need to see as we head into the last month of the season.
I note that the slump has taken place since he got drilled on the torso by a comebacker off the bat of the Padre's Kevin Kouzmanoff, which struck Webb just below his rib cage. Is there possibly some damage there that is affecting his delivery? Looking at the replay of last night, his sinker just didn't seem to have the same amount of life on it as usual, and so instead of dropping like a stone, it was turning into what Darin Sutton calls a hovercraft, and the LA hitters were taking full advantage of the situation. However, Webb slid out of the clubhouse last night before reporters were allowed in, so the matter will remain a mystery for now. However, going by the results, it looks like we should have skipped Webb in the rotation, not Yusmeiro Petit.
Much as he deserves his share of blame, we should also point out that you won't win many games scoring one run. The offense flopped again, with the only damage Mark Reynolds' solo-shot, after the game was already dead and buried. In the past seven games, almost 250 trips to the plate, the Diamondbacks have hit a collective .207/.279/.311, scoring two runs or less in five of those seven contests. While that kind of output continues, we can expect the team to keep right on losing. Charitable though the Dodgers have been, to lose eight of their past ten, the two games they won were against us. So, we are basically right back in the situation we were before this series, reduced to burbling hopefully, "Maybe the Dodgers will lose too."
I have to say, this year has perhaps been the most infuriating and frustrating in Diamondbacks history. There have been seasons where we've sucked: hey, I survived 2004, so I am under no illusions there. There have been season where we've been great. But I don't think there has been a season where we have been both, to such an extreme degree. Add in the pain of seeing players we casually discarded have All-Star caliber - and in Quentin's case, MVP caliber - seasons for other teams, and you might begin to understand why this is a year that has hardly cemented my faith as a devotee of the franchise.
Thanks to those who commented in the Gameday thread - which I must confess, I did enjoy much more than the events on the field warranted! On a day like today, all the off-topic chatter in the world couldn't cleanse the palate of this game. Still, thanks to those who tried: 4 Corners Fan, snakecharmer, foulpole, unnamedDBacksfan, J Up, DbacksSkins, kishi, Azreous, emilylovesthedbacks, Wimb, njjohn, Shums, Mr 4CornersFan [welcome - sorry it didn't turn out better!], soco, Scrbl, Muu, AZWILDCATS [well, what a surprise!] and TwinnerA.
Poll is up for the Diamondbacks Player of the Month in August. Not one that will live forever in our minds, with a 13-15 record, though we did actually outscore our opponents. By one run. But the 132 runs conceded was a season-high, reflecting the struggles of our pitching staff and, in particular our bullpen, who had an 0-4 record, with a 4.79 ERA. The arrival of Max Scherzer might help shore things up in the final month, but as we head into that last stretch, I'm afraid I am hardly brimming with confidence at our playoff prospects.