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Diamondbacks 1, Reds 2: Stranded

Record: 72-76. Pace: 79-83. Change on last season: -11
Elimination number: 10. Playoff odds: negligible.

The Diamondbacks persist in finding new, interesting ways to lose games: this afternoon, it was leaving runners on base that proved Arizona's downfall. As Azreous pointed out, which team do you think would have won?
   Team A: 10 IP, 10 H, 10 BB, 7 K
   Team B: 10 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 13 K
The answer, of course is Team B, because the Reds got two solo homers - one of them from Corey Patterson, who is on his way to the worst season, as measured by OBP, by any full-time player since 1975. That pinned the defeat on Jon 'The Biggest Loser' Rauch, whose record since August 13 is now 0-6, in only twelve innings of work. You probably couldn't try and achieve that level of futility.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks stranded seventeen men in ten innings of work. That's the most by any team that scored one run or less in over seven seasons: the last team to do worse was on September 2nd, 2001 when - hey! - the Arizona Diamondbacks were shutout by the Padres, despite leaving 19 men aboard. That was in thirteen innings, however, making today a greater concentration of the anti-clutch. I'm pretty sure no-one has scored one run while stranding seventeen in so few innings, during at least the past fifty years. Well done Diamondbacks! You must get up very early...

The team's astonishing inability to hit with runners in scoring position manifested itself again. We had thirteen such opportunities today, and went hitless, which ran our record over this series to a mesmerizing 2-for-35 in such situations. We had men on second- or third-base every single inning this afternoon, but the only one who reached home was Justin Upton. He got to trot around the bags, the result of a monstrous fifth-inning long-ball - estimated at 434 feet - just to the left of the batter's eye in left-center. He was on base five times, with four hits and a walk, so is one of the very few Diamondbacks' hitters who deserves to escape criticism for their performance today. Ojeda also had two hits and a walk.

As throughout this series, our starting pitching was almost impeccable. Again, thanks to Azreous for pointing out the line produced by our rotation this series:
    AZ starters: 20 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 7 BB, 14 K. ERA 0.90
That's good to see: Webb had an extremely solid outing, while both Johnson and Scherzer were almost as good. Even taking the bullpen into account, the Reds scored only seven times over the three games - generally, if you get that level of performance from your pitching staff, then you expect to win a series, if not sweep the opposition. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks offense was even more hamstrung, scoring only five times, largely because of the failing noted in the paragraph above. Whether 'clutchiness' is a genuine skill or not may be arguable, but when it evaporates entirely from a team, it becomes near-impossible to win.

Max Scherzer produced another excellent performance - if anything, even better than his first outing since returning to the rotation. He struck out nine in six innings, and allowed only two hits, while walking three. One of those did leave the park in the fourth, giving Cincinnati the lead, but otherwise he looked very good, with his change-up particularly effective. After he left the game, Lyon, Cruz and Qualls each pitched a perfect inning of work out of the bullpen - particularly good to see our former closer settle down, perhaps he can find his confidence again. But we failed to score and so extra innings beckoned. Patterson clanged a shot high off the left-field foul pole from Rauch, and that was that.

Of course, the game finished with us getting the tying run to third, on singles by Eckstein and Upton, to give Arizona one last burst of hope. Well, "hope" might be the wrong word for it, since I don't think any of us really expected Chris Young to do anything. And, lo, he struck out to finally, mercifully put the game out of our misery. 1-8 for Arizona in the past three series. Scoring a total of twenty runs in those nine contests, and two runs or less in the majority of them. I think the offense needs to be the first thing corrected by management during the winter, as it's that which has sunk the team's playoff hopes in the last few weeks.

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[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Justin Upton, +43.2%
Honorable mention: Scherzer, +22.0%; Qualls, +14.3%; Cruz, +11.0%
God-emperor of suck: Jon Rauch, -29.1%
Dishonorable mentions: Young, -26.3%; Dunn,, -23.7%,
Snyder, -23.4%, Reynolds, -15.7%; Eckstein, -11.9%,

Not a bad thread at all, cracking 500 comments overall: took a little while to get going, but was brisk once everyone arrived. 'Skins cracked the double-century, but also present were snakecharmer, TwinnerA, Azreous, unnamedDBacksfan, kishi, soco, golfmanthee, mrssoco, Scrbl, 4 Corners Fan, TuLoRocks2008 and AZWILDCATS. Thanks to them - even the latter, whom I no longer find anywhere near as irritating, since I have come to terms with the innate suckiness of your 2008 Arizona Diamondbacks. The remaining games will simply be to decide the ultimate level of suck to which we sink. And with that, I go off to program my mother in law's remote control. Good times...