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Diamondbacks 5, Giants 4: Very Thin Ice

Record: 7-11. Pace: 63-99. Change on last season: -6

In case you didn't hear, today's game *spoiler alert* went to extra innings *end spoiler alert*.  I bring it up now to apologize for my brevity in the recap because the extra time forced me to shelve my ambitious plans to Auto-tune the Diamondbacks Broadcast. Yeah, that's the reason I didn't do it… *spoiler alert*extra innings*end spoiler alert*… the reason...

First things first: here at the Snakepit we firmly believe in writing each recap the right way.  We like to think that we do the little things right.   We never take an inning off.  We'll even lean into one every now and then to get on base.  Occasionally that desire to inform comes into conflict with the fact that for the first seven innings this game just wasn't very fun to watch.  I love me a good pitcher's duel, but as any NL West fan can tell you, when the Giants and Diamondbacks combine to score two runs over seven innings, odds are that "good pitching" isn't the only reason.

Not to say that nothing happened over the first seven innings. The Diamondbacks had upwards of five hits, including a Mark Reynolds bomb to the left-center field concourse (I’m an angry gorilla. I heard you needed me). Garland, too, was pitching a gem, albeit it with a few hiccups as he managed to work out of a no outs, runner on second jam in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Despite his lead-off woes, he still managed to get through seven innings with only a single Giants run crossing home plate. The run itself was the result of two broken-bat flairs and an Aaron Rowand line drive – one of the perks of putting the ball into play that never seem to happen to the Diamondbacks.

It was in the eighth, when Garland allowed a lead off runner to reach second for the fourth straight inning, that trouble came abrewing.  The pesky Edgar Renteria followed followed the Fred Lewis double with a ten pitch walk.  Then Pablo "Never Met a Chest High Fastball He Didn’t Like" Sandoval hit one of the most absurd home runs I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.  If you haven’t seen the replay, go do so.  It’s positively Vlad-like.  Alas, as amazing as it was to see, it also meant that the Diamondbacks were trailing by the insurmountable margin of three runs. The mop-up crew was even brought it to pitch the ninth in the form of Esmerling Vasquez. 

The newcomer showed u s the stuff earned him the title of Diamondbacks 2007 minor league pitcher of the year – excellent fastball, wicked changeup.  He also showed us the reason for his 6.72 ERA in Tucson last year – control, control, control.  At that point there was no doubt that his tumultuous frame would be the headline of the game as writers like myself have already exhausted their their supply of synonyms for "impotent offense".  The Snakes were grass and there was no way they could break scratch across three runs in a single inning.  Or was there?

Fortunately for the good guys, things were not so simple.   Facing Giants closer Brian "For the Thousandth Time, Not That" Wilson they managed to scrape together the three runs required to send the game into extra innings.  Chad Tracy managed to kick start things with a lead-off double.  Mark Reynolds then broke the team’s 1/20 with RISP streak by taking a ball to the opposite field plating the run.  The final two runs, you may have heard, came on a Justin Upton home run to left field.  If you tune into FSAZ any time for the next twenty-four hours I’m sure that they will be broadcasting it on a continuous loop for your viewing pleasure.

A mighty blast had been struck for freedom, but things wouldn’t end there.  Apparently there’s a rule in baseball stating that games cannot end in a tie.  With two titanic offenses squaring off it was bound to be a battle of attrition.  But the advantage would go to Diamondbacks who still had their premier relief pitchers available for duty.  Where the Giants brought in Brandon Medders as a long man, Bob Melvin was able to get three shutdown innings from Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez (Chad Qualls does not make concessions or ransom payments to Giants).

Not to say that this team didn’t look embarrassing out there as for two innings they flailed aimlessly against former castoff Brandon Medders.  But all things are forgiven when Bochy goes to the well one too many times and hangs Medders out to dry in the process (a strategy I like to call "The Brenly").  Three walks and a CoJack gapper later there’s hope for another day (Surely you jest!  I’m under cardiac arrest).  Goodbye despondency, hello mild bemusement.  There’s a lot to fret about for this team, but there’s no denying that for at least five innings this was an edge-of-your-seat game that had the right ending.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy it now.  Enjoy it while you still can for tomorrow Yusmeiro Petit takes the mound and Brandon Webb and Stephen Drew will still be on the disabled list.  No matter how you stack it, this team remains on very thin ice (very thin ice, very thin ice).

Master of his Domain:
Justin Upton, +48.8%
Honorable mentions: Qualls, +28.6%; Gutierrez, +14.3%; Jackson, +11.7%
God-Emperor of Suck: Felipe Lopez, -14.6%
Dishonorable mentions: Byrnes, -13.2%; Tracy, -10.8%

Good showing in the Gameday Thread today, though some people seemed to forget there was a game on. ;) Over 500 posts from: victor frankenstein, kishi, unnamedDBacksfan, Diamondhacks, hotclaws, Jim McLennan, snakecharmer, soco, luckycc, Wimb, TwinnerA, emilylovesthedbacks, Muu, mrssoco, RockiesMagicNumber, singaporedbacksfan, sergey606, DbacksSkins, Snake Bitten, IndyDBack, Azreous, Lisalisa8, damdrs1717, AJforAZ, Gravity, venomfan, Wailord, and dahlian. Jim and snakecharmer battled it out for the top spot today, with snakecharmer winning by a scant one comment - 85 to 84.

Update. Thanks to Dahlian for sterling work on the update. Wow. Simply, wow. I didn't get to hear the end of the game as I had to go work the doors at the comedy show, after Montero's lead-off walk. A stunning comeback from the team, just when all seemed lost. [I am clearly going to have to listen to Front Line Assembly at high-volume more often. Either that, or go to lesbian bars: I'm unsure yet...] You will not be surprised to hear that there were a lot of our players prepared to talk to the media tonight! Here are the thoughts of Melvin, Garland, home-run hero Upton and Reynolds on the victory, and the upcoming series against the Cubs.

Audio courtesy of KTAR 620