Record: 8-12. Pace: 65-97. Change on last season: -7
That was the first time this year I actually turned off a Diamondbacks game. And it didn't take me that long to do it, either: top of the fourth inning, when Petit got yanked by Melvin, having just let the Cubs score their sixth run. I dunno why Melvin bothered: he's usually so insistent on leaving his starters in there, giving them the chance to earn the win... And this game was effectively over: might as well hang Petit out there until he reached 100 pitches, save the bullpen a bit of punishment. Still, it did allow me to clear a moderately-tedious DVD off the unwatched pile [Sam's Lake, in case you were wondering], and I was still able to catch the final innings of this...thing.
Was it really 24 hours ago that we were celebrating the apparent resurrection of our team? Better check the pulse again, since Arizona was in this game for just two innings, and one sensed that our chances of victory took a sharp turn south in the bottom of the first. Carlos Zambrano was wobbling, having already thrown more than 20 pitches and only got one out, putting men on the corners for Mark Reynolds. However, with the chance to deliver a potentially-lethal blow, our third-baseman grounded weakly to the shortstop, and the Cubs grasped the opportunity with both hands, converting the double-play and sending Zambrano back to the dugout having posted a zero. The next time the Diamondbacks got anyone past second-base, the Cubs were 7-0 up,
If Petit's first two starts were acceptable for a back of the rotation starter, this one was most definitely not. He surrendered two more homers, giving him four in just 15.2 innings of work: if his next start on Sunday isn't a good deal more promising, then an alternative may have to be found. We can cope with the odd short start, when it was seen as a temporary replacement for the slightly-sore arm of Brandon Webb. But now he's going to be in the rotation for the next six weeks? We can't afford to have both him and Max Scherzer apparently both incapable of going past the fifth inning. Eight hits and three walks in 3.2 innings? I'm pretty sure we have better alternatives than that.
Five separate Cubs reached base safely three or more times, including former D-back Koyie Hill, and pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who - oh, the indignity - was the first man to homer off Esmerling Vazquez in the majors, during the seventh. The bullpen was forced into major mop-up action with the quick departure of Petit, and things didn't really get much better. Jon Rauch's scoreless streak died a quick, painless death at two games, as he allowed four hits, a walk and two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Deuces were wild for Vazquez: two innings, with two hits, two walks and two runs, both earned. After five straight innings where the visitors scored, we finally got a zero in the eighth, courtesy of Scott Schoeneweis - and the highlight of the night was probably Tom Gordon's 1-2-3 ninth inning, a solid start, albeit in a completely meaningless debut appearance.
Arizona did reach double figures in hits, with one for every starter but the much-touted Chad "4-for-5 lifetime vs. Zambrano!" Tracy, who turned into an exhibit on the dangers of small sample sizes. Felipe Lopez and Miguel Montero each had a pair of hits (Montero also had a very nice throw to gun down Fukudome when he tried to steal second-base), while Conor Jackson had a hit and a walk. Josh Wilson had his first at-bats as a Diamondback, picking up his first knock and RBI in the bottom of the seventh. But one wonders whether the game might have taken a different turn had Arizona managed to capitalize on the first-inning opportunity. Ok, given the way Petit pitched subsequently, perhaps not. While I never had great hopes of us winning this game, I certainly didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition...
Shhhh! If you listen very carefully, you can hear the long, sustained beep of the Fangraph above flatlining... Given that, quite remarkable that the Gameday Thread ended up over 650 comments: admittedly, interest in the game was about as dead as the above graph, but given the circumstances I think I'll let it slide. I'm almost surprised no-one tried to start the wave... We learned a good deal more about 'Skins than I know I wanted to, and Pyromnc cruised past three figures, ending with 124 comments. Also present: venomfan, kishi, Muu, snakecharmer, hotclaws, luckycc, unnamedDBacksfan, 4 Corners Fan, IHateSouthBend, AJforAZ, Brendan Scolari, mrssoco, TwinnerA, Sprankton, friendly visiting fan dtpollitt and Scrbl.
Day-game tomorrow. Let's hope the bruises heal in time.