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Midgets 0, Giants 2: Diamondbacks suffer a dirty Sanchez

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Record: 3-7. Pace: 49-113. Change on last season: -5.

Poor, poor Dan Haren. Three starts. Four earned runs. And thanks to a a total of one run in support from his colleagues, an 0-3 record. From what I can see [there's some bugs at which stop me being entirely sure], only one other starting pitcher since 1982 has lost three consecutive major-league outings, while allowing a total of four earned runs or less. That would, of course, be Randy Johnson for the Diamondbacks in 1999: he had a streak of four losses in June and July, that went 1-0, 2-0, 1-0, 2-0. Haren is not far off, having gone down 3-0, 3-1 and 2-0. Got to feel for the guy: especially when your manager pulls you after 79 pitches, so you can be pinch-hit for by Tony Clark. With, I need hardly add, the entirely expected result. Clark is now hitting at the Uecker Line.

That's just one example of another spectacularly mismanaged game by Melvin, whose tenure in charge of the team must now be on barely more solid ground than Rick Schu's as the hitting coach. We just needed a bloop to tie things up: why use Clark instead of Chad Tracy? Indeed, why was Chad - among our best hitters this year - not brought into the game at all? We were also wondering where he was after the Giants' closer walked leadoff man Chris Young, to start the ninth. Instead, Eric Byrnes grounded into a double-play, killing any rally stone-dead. Even Haren would probably have done as good a job, hitting for himself in the seventh. He'd be more likely to put the ball in play than Clark: over his career, Dan has fanned in only 24% of PA's, compared to Tony's 27% since the start of 2006.

Then there was the use of Scott Schoeneweis. What part of "right-handed batters murder him" is in any way unclear? So, who does Melvin bring him in to face, but the right-handed Andres Torres. Torres promptly smashes his first home-run in the major-leagues since 2003, doubling the Giants lead and halving our chances of victory [that'd be taking them from "slim" to "anorexic"]. Then he leaves Schoeneweis in there to face three more batters - all of them switch-hitters - before finally replacing him with Jon Rauch. Baffling. Completely baffling. It's as if the infamous Melvin line-up dice are also used to decide who comes in out of the bullpen and pinch-hitters off the bench.

Another ohfer night, Arizona going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. In five of those cases, the runner was the fabulous Felipe Lopez, who had his fifth consecutive multi-hit game for Arizona, going 2-for-4. We got a lead-off double to start the first inning from him, and he was left standing in the same spot three outs later. That was the only hit we got off Jonathan Sanchez, who totally owned the D-backs, until we had two outs in the seventh, when Justin Upton hit one into the left-center gap for a double. One walk to Snyder later, Haren was replaced by Clark - nothing doing there. Then, in the eighth, Lopez singled to right leading off, stole second with one out and made it to third when the throw down from Molina sailed into the outfield. But Conor Jackson was caught looking at an inside strike three [marginal, but far too close to take] and Mark Reynolds went down swinging.

So, in this battle of wretched offenses, the Giants take the first round, proving merely pitiful - that was easily enough to put away the Diamondbacks, for whom an entire thesaurus of epithets, delivered by Don Rickles, would be insufficient contempt. Tune in tomorrow for another no doubt stirring contest, and find out how Arizona is going to lose that one. And just to put the icing on the cake, Stephen Drew was forced to leave the game with tightness in his hamstring. It's not thought to be serious - he's listed as day-to-day - but it's an appropriate exclamation point on which to end a thoroughly awful evening.

[Click to enlarge, at]
Master of his domain: Felipe Lopez, +19.4%
Honorable mention: Dan Haren, +18.2%
God-emperor of suck: Conor Jackson, -25.0%
Dishonorable mentions: Byrnes, -23.0%; Reynolds, -14.1%

Misery loves company, it would appear, as there was still over 700 comments in the Gameday Thread. Admittedly, more than 200 came from 'Skins, but Pyromnc also turned in sterling work, reaching three figures in a fine performance for his rookie season. I was also pleased to see a number of newcomers to the 'Pit popping in, including chem, Tim Weiss and Sprankton: please stick around, it can't get much worse...can it? Also present: Muu, TwinnerA, AF DBacks Fanatic, 4 Corners Fan, mrssoco, hotclaws, Diamondhacks, SeanMillerSavior, RockiesMagicNumber, luckycc, unnamedDBacksfan, Turambar, jonny-yuma, victor frankenstein, acidtongue, dahlian and Rox Girl, so thanks to everyone [yes, even you, Rox Girl! :-)] for their input.

There was some good news for Arizona, with Brandon Webb saying everything went well during a session this afternoon. He said, "I was a little apprehensive letting it go right off the bat, but as soon as I started throwing I was like, 'This feels totally different from what it did.'" However, he still seems some way away from returning - he's eligible to come back April 22nd, but just based on what the article says, I'd be a little surprised if he comes straight back into action on that date. Maybe this is part of a fiendish master plan to avoid racking up the losses with sterling performances in wasted efforts.

Not sure if I get audio clips on the road, or only from Chase. However, I've no intention of sitting up to find out - especially as I have to work tomorrow. [This Saturday thing is going to take some getting used to...] Nights like this make it pretty hard to sustain any kind of enthusiasm: can't say I'm too sorry to be at the office for tomorrow's Festival of Offensive Suck.