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Diamondbacks 2, Giants 6 - The Silence of the Tims

Record: 71-72. Pace: 80-82. Change on last season: -9
Elimination number: 18. Playoff odds: not good.

I know the Diamondbacks offense has been rancid over the past couple of weeks, now averaging barely three runs per game over the last fourteen. But I have to say, Tim Lincecum's performance tonight was still a dominating one - if it had been against anyone else, it would have been nothing but a genuine pleasure to watch. Even being on the receiving end, I had to admire the ruthless efficiency with which he dismantled the Arizona line-up. It was like watching a shark pick apart a dead whale, cruising around, then suddenly, bang, striking before going back to circling menacingly. Even St. Penelope couldn't save us from this one.

On the basis of this outing - dominating for eight innings before eventually tiring in the ninth - it'll be hard to argue if Tim Lincecum does indeed take the Cy Young award from Webb. The victory lets him run his record to 16-3, with an ERA of 2.54. That compares to Brandon Webb, who has a 19-7 record but his ERA is now up at 3.41. Even taking into account the park factors, that is a chasm in ERA that Webb's extra three victories don't bridge, in my opinion. Each man should have four more starts down the stretch, but from it being Webb's award to lose, the balance appears to have shifted drastically, to the point where it is now Lincecum's.

It's somewhat stunning to think that nine players were picked in the draft before Lincecum went to the Giants with the tenth selection. If he'd fallen one more spot, he'd have been available for the Diamondbacks to choose with their pick [instead, we had Max Scherzer]. Just for amusement, here are the stats in the majors this year of the six pitchers chosen ahead of Lincecum and Scherzer, along with those two arms:
    #1: Luke Hochevar (KC, Age 24): 6-12, 5.51 ERA
    #2: Greg Reynolds (COL, 22): 2-6, 6.71 ERA
    #4: Brad Lincoln (PIT, 23): Not reached majors
    #5: Brandon Morrow (SEA, 23): 2-2, 1.42 ERA (in relief)
    #6: Andrew Miller (FLA, 23): 5-9, 5.56
    #7: Clayton Kershaw (LA, 20): 3-5, 4.60
    #10: Tim Lincecum (SF, 24): 16-3, 2.54
    #11: Max Scherzer (AZ, 23): 0-2, 3.00

We were in this game for exactly two innings, with the Giants scoring five times in the third. Three straight singles to lead off the inning pushed the first run across the plate - and even at that early stage, I was wondering whether we would even be able to get that single score against Lincecum. Molina then rendered the entire question moot, with a three-run homer that just made it over the wall [not that this makes it count any less, of course]. Petit then loaded the bases again, walked in a run and was finally pulled, but I imagine that Scherzer will be the fifth starter in the rotation, as and when needed from now on.

There was absolutely no way Arizona was going to come back from that, and it was another in the long, ongoing series of failures by our starting rotation. In the past fourteen games, the team has gone 3-11: frankly, I'm not quite sure how we managed to get three victories, given our starting pitchers are 1-8 with an ERA north of 7.50 over that time. The bullpen was forced into another lengthy mop-up outing, and performed credibly, with only one run allowed in 5.1 innings, between Rosales, Buckner, Peguero and Slaten, who gave up four hits and one walk. Mark Reynolds made a very nice diving stab of a foul-ball, which ended the third inning without any further damage. Though since that was the eleventh batter sent to the plate by the Giants in the frame...

Mark Reynolds had the only real success against Lincecum, getting two hits and also having one of our two walks. The other went to Augie Ojeda, who also had a hit. But through the first eight innings, Lincecum simply dominated our hitters, with just five hits and a walk: he struck out nine batters, including Adam Dunn on three occasions. His change-up was devastating, causing a horrendous number of swings and misses and we also seemed to be taking the fastballs. It was only in the ninth that the team finally broke through, Jamie D'Antona notching his first major-league RBI with a ground-out after Lincecum had left the game with the bases loaded. An error allowed another run to score, but Upton ended the game, taking two strikes and then waving feebly at strike three out of the zone.

[Click to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Leo Rosales, +2.7%
God-emperor of suck: Yusmeiro Petit, -27.8%

Well, at least the Dodgers lost too... They were shut out by the Padres 4-0, so we didn't fall any further behind them. That's hardly any real comfort, as the Diamondbacks continue to fail in almost every aspect of the game. The Gameday Thread was a frail thing, with interest that basically evaporated after the third inning, for obvious reasons. Present were: Shums, unnamedDBacksfan, Azreous, TwinnerA, kishi, LucaMaz3, Diamondhacks, njjohn, soco, Scrbl, foulpole, damdrs1717, victor frankenstein. Thanks to them for their contributions. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

And now, I see that my Internet connection has committed suicide.