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Diamondbacks 2, Cardinals 8:

Record: 70-68. Pace: 82-80. Change on last season:
Magic Number: 23. Playoff odds: TBA

I think it's safe to say that this could have gone a little better, albeit providing a fitting ending to what was, personally, a largely-sucky day. So much for the rousing comeback on Monday providing some kind of morale-boosting effect going forward. After two solid innings by the Petit Unit, things fell apart rapidly, as the Cardinals returned to the long-ball once again, with a two-run homer in the third, rapidly followed in the fourth by another two-run shot and a solo blast, sending Arizona quickly to a 5-0 deficit. And, tonight, there would be no coming back from that.

This was something that's become all too common of late - another poor outing from a Diamondbacks starter, as Yusmeiro Petit's fondness for giving up homers returned, with a vengeance. He allowed only four hits in 4.2 innings, but three of those balls whizzed out of Chase. Petit also showed uncharacteristically poor command, walking three batters, and two of them came around to score, as his ERA shot up from 2.84 to 3.44. The failure means that in this five-game sweep round the rotation, our starters have combined for the following line:
    Starters: 22.2 IP, 36 H, 25 R, 23 ER, 14 BB, 11 HR, 23 K, 9.13 ERA.

Needless to say, this is not getting it done. The question of who should be skipped in the rotation now hardly seems to be a pressing one. After the past few days, a quality start from anyone, would be grasped upon with all the delight of a man stranded in the desert, stumbling across a large, iced cappuccino. Fortunately, at least the September roster expansion has meant we have some additional arms in the bullpen to handle the mop-up duty into which they have lately been forced. The results this evening were mixed. Good to see a clean inning from Rauch, and Cruz also delivered a 1-2-3 frame, but Rosales walked three in his inning of work and Slaten retired just one of the three hitters he faced. Together, they combined to let St. Louis post its third crooked number of the night in the sixth, to put the game entirely out of reach with the score at 8-0.

The Diamondbacks finally got on the board in the bottom-half of that inning, having been one-hit by Wainwright through the front five. Salazar tripled and came home on an Eckstein single, and the walk to Jackson which immediately followed, resulted in the departure of the Cardinals' starter. However, Adam Dunn struck out and Mark Reynolds fouled out, though the former did drive in our other run with an eighth-inning single. We actually ended up with the same number of hits as the Cardinals - seven. However, with three of theirs resulting in the batter trotting around the bases, compared to none of ours, and St. Louis also taking seven walks compared to our three, the result is fairly-easily explained. Jackson reached safely three times, on a hit and two walks, while Dunn had the other walk in addition to his RBI single.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Conor Jackson, +2.5%
God-emperor of suck: Yusmeiro Petit, -23.8%

This was not a game to remember: most people found something better to do after the Cardinals went up 5-0, and tumbleweeds largely rolled across the thread after they took an eight-run lead. I can't blame anyone for their apathy and disinterest, when the team were playing in a manner that could hardly have been better at evoking those two dark emotions. Present were snakecharmer, kishi, njjohn, TwinnerA, DbacksSkins, 4 Corners Fan, utahdbacksfan, Gravity, singaporedbacksfan, hotclaws, Scrbl, Turambar, Diamondhacks, Shums, foulpole, emilylovesthedbacks and soco.

No, I'm not going to dwell on this one. The Padres rolled over again for the Dodgers, and our lead is back down to 1.5 games. This weekend series is looking more and more likely to be the one where Los Angeles overtakes Arizona and leaves us spitting out their dust. Maybe I'll feel more optimistic tomorrow, but based on tonight's performance, it's hard to see us competing with the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.