When you're up against the reigning Cy Young winner, you generally need to make the most of whatever chances present themselves: the Diamondbacks failed to do so, and that's a large part of the reason why we took the loss in the series opener against the Giants this evening. Take the bottom of the first inning, where Arizona had a chance to come back and respond to the Renteria home-run that gave San Francisco a lead in the top half. With one out, Eric Byrnes legged out an infield-hit after his bat was reduced to toothpicks and Drew then laced a double to right-center to put men on second and third with one out. However, Reynolds went down on strikes - not for the last time facing Lincecum - when a simple ground-ball would have scored a run.
The next opportunity came in the third, with the score still 1-0 to the Giants, after Byrnes swatted a two-out double off the very top of the left-field wall. Bob Melvin came out to argue that it should have been a home-run, and eventually convinced the umpires to review the replay. They wandered off to...wherever it is they go to review such things, and eventually came back, correctly concluding that it was a double. The lengthy delay caused speculation Lincecum might have stiffened up and the first ball, a curve that bounced half way to home-plate, supported the theory. However, we never got a chance to verify the theory further, since Byrnes made a
stupid fuc...er, make that tremendously ill-advised decision to try for third, and was easily thrown out to end the inning. I guess that's one way to avoid failing to hit with runners in scoring position: if we remove the runners ourselves.
Doug Davis didn't pitch badly: he allowed three runs through six innings, a quality start - two solo homers and a broken-bat blooper by Aurilia were the cause of all the damage. However, despite being at 107 pitches, Bob Melvin opted to send him out there for the seventh - not quite sure what the plan was there, and the first two Giants' batters reached, so we had to go to the bullpen anyway. After Juan Gutierrez allowed those two inherited runners to score (and adding three more runners of his own, to load the bases, before finall;y escaping), Davis ended with a rather less impressive line: nine hits and five runs in six innings, albeit with only one walk and five strikeouts.
The offense... Pretty much a repeat of last time we faced the reigning Cy Young winner i.e. thinner than Calista Flockhart's thighs. Eight innings, almost the same number of strikeouts (a dozen compared to 13), but we did at least score - even if it took Davis's first RBI since September 9th to drive it in. Byrnes had his two hits, Upton a hit and the Diamondbacks's only walk of the night. The team has now struck out 58 times in the past six games - Reynolds was 0-for-4 with three K's, and from a quick scan, I think he's tied for the major-league league. Mark has fanned in one-third of his plate-appearances, almost exactly the same rate as last year. He's not alone: the figure for the team overall is 21.1% - again, basically unchanged on 2008's number (20.9%). Thus far, "we're working on improving our pitch recognition," looks disturbingly like a fairy-tale, told to mollify unruly children.
Positives to take from the game? Well, I did enjoy Lopez pinging a comebacker off Timmy's inner thigh, even if he recovered the ricochet and fired to first for the out. The bullpen didn't allow any earned runs - even Jon Rauch, who gave up a leadoff triple. We got $50 from selling a bunch of unwanted movies through Craigslist. Hey, if I'm stretching here, you try and find much of a silver lining as our runs per game average dropped back down to 3.44, ahead only of the Giants and Astros. Probably the best thing is that we won't be facing Tim Lincecum again until June 9th, at the earliest: really, did anyone think this would be anything but a hard game to win? I will, however, be going right back to threatening small animals tomorrow, since it seems this team can't go out there and play well without some kind of cruelty hanging over their heads.
Here are some post-game comments from Doug Davis and Chris Snyder, though from what I'm hearing, not too many of the Diamondbacks apparently were keen to stick around and chat to the media after tonight's defeat. Nice line from Davis, about managing to out-hit Lincecum: credit for retaining a sense of humor in the face of an almost completely uninspired performance by the Diamondbacks this evening.
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620
Yep, you read that right: Davis the batter did most for our chances of winning the game. Which say a great deal regarding our offense. Not a happy Gameday Thread, obviously, though some comments were more irritating and purely negative than anything else - you know who you are. 'Skins cracked three figures, with Bcawz returning a solid 75. Also present: venomfan, Wimb, unnamedDBacksfan, TwinnerA, Sprankton, jaydubsped, hotclaws, luckycc, emilylovesthedbacks, singaporedbacksfan, 4 Corners Fan, Tooch27, Scrbl, snakecharmer, jazzbo13 and Wailord.
As if that wasn't enough doom and gloom, it now looks likely that Brandon Webb will not be back into action until nearer the end of next month. As noted previously, the scheduled bullpen session planned for before today's game was scratched after Webb felt tightness in his right shoulder while warming up. On the post-game show tonight, Melvin said the plan was to shut him down entirely for a week, then have two more of nothing but strengthening. That would already takes us into the middle of May, and at that point, it will have been six weeks since Webb will have thrown a ball in anger - so you can expect to add some significant rehab onto that, before he's ready to take the mound again. Here are Melvin's comments, both from before tonight's game, and the last clip is his post-game thoughts.
Audio courtesy of KTAR 620
I'm going to go to bed, hold Mrs. SnakePit close, and fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow is another day. At the moment, that's probably about the most comforting thought on which I can leave you.