Record: 4-7. Pace: 59-103. Change on last season: -5.
Runs. Where have you been? We'd almost forgot you existed. After a scoreless streak stretching back 20 innings, to the sixth frame on Wednesday, Chris Young finally broke the line of zeros with a one-out double in the ninth. He worked the count from 0-2 to full, before pounding a fast-ball from Giants' closer Brian Wilson to deep-left, scoring pinch-runner Eric Byrnes and Mark Reynolds. The inning had got going with a one-out walk to Chad Tracy, and Reynolds then singled - Byrnes replaced Tracy and both men had moved up on a passed-ball. Young's hit was our only success in five at-bats with men in scoring position this afternoon, but we'll take it - albeit in much the same way as a drowning man 'takes' a rope.
Once again, the starting pitching for both sides was dominant, going up against the two worst offenses in the National League [Arizona and San Francisco coming in with OPS+ numbers of 73 and 65 respectively]. Today won't have done much to change that, the sides combining to hit .234 with two extra-base hits in 64 at-bats, two walks and 24 strikeouts. Tim Lincecum fanned 13 batters in eight innings, and poor Conor Jackson went hitless with three strikeouts on the day; it's only the second time in 465 career games that's happened to him. The sole batter to have any real success while the reigning Cy Young pitcher - who looked like it, for the first time this season - was Augie Ojeda. Starting in place of the hamstrung Stephen Drew, he had a pair of singles, though was also thrown out trying to steal second, and committed an error.
Doug Davis, while somewhat less dominating, was equally as effective, pitching eight shutout innings, to match Lincecum zero for zero. He allowed eight hits, but walked just one and struck out six. He bent, allowing men into scoring position during six of those frames, but didn't break, most notably in the third when the Giants had a man on third with one out. Davis struck out Evil Incarnate, Randy Winn, and got Emmanuel Burriss to line to Tracy to end the inning. Davis was also helped in the opening frame, by Burriss's ill-advised attempt to steal home, but fully deserved his first victory of the season . Over the first two games, the starters for both sides have combined to throw 28.2 innings, and have allowed one earned run: an ERA of 0.31. Given those same four starters had a group ERA of 4.85 prior to the series, it seems that SF and AZ are just what ailing pitchers require.
Chad Qualls came in for his first save opportunity since blowing one in the ninth against St. Louis. Nothing doing here, however; he struck out all three batters he faced, so the tying run didn't even get a chance to come to the plate. While it was great to post the first shutout by Arizona since September 16 last season - coincidentally, also a 2-0 win over the Giants - the overall scoring for the Diamondbacks continues to drop, down to 3.64 runs/game. This was the seventh time in eleven contests we have scored two or less, though for the first time, we ended up on the right side of the final result. Something to note: the Cleveland Indians put more runs on the board (14) in the second inning of their contest against New York this afternoon, than Arizona have scored, in total, during our seven losses to date (13).
Once again, St. Penelope comes through when needed, giving us a win when all seemed lost. Maybe we should just rename this place the PenelopePit and be done with it. Though the arrival of runs immediately after posting the So Close sleeve, may require the addition of some more demi-goddesses to the SnakePit pantheon: Shu Qi is the new deity of clutch, it appears. Over 400 comments, not bad for a day game without any television coverage and when I was at work [cough...]. 'Skins led the charge as usual, but unnamedDBacksfan delivered 80 comments, so kudos there. Also present: Wimb, victor frankenstein, Sprankton, Diamondhacks, soco, hotclaws, kishi, AJforAZ, luckycc, Muu, Pyromnc, Quin, Wailord, Scrbl, mrssoco, venomfan, JUPTON10, Gravity, TwinnerA and SeanMillerSavior. '
Skins is on recap duty tomorrow, and think it may be 'charmer on Monday, for MiniSnakePitFest - that's still to be decided. I was going to write more on Dan Haren's explanation of his reaction to being pulled from last night's game, but I'll make that a separate post, I think. I'm also going to work on the weekly wrap-up for tomorrow, which will look at the top ten players of concern in the first two weeks.