Games until the blessed, merciful end of the season: 7.
I suspect partly as a reward for hitting the game-winning grand-slam last night, Chad Tracy gets to start at first-base. This afternoon will probably be the last appearance at Chase Field for him, as the Diamondbacks seem all but certain to decline his $7m option for next year. I can't blame them, as Tracy has been injured and/or ineffective for the past three seasons - never reached 300 PAs, OPS+ over that time of only 84 - but he's been part of the team for six years. Only Webb, Gonzo and Johnson have played more seasons for Arizona than that. All the best, Chad, wherever you may land.
It'll be very strange if we see him in another jersey next year. We used to sponsor your baseball-reference.com page, and you gave us one of our most memorable moments experienced at Chase last June - cranking a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, to snap a scoreless tie. Last night's slam probably deserves to rank right up there in your memories, however. Tracy's best season was 2005, when he hit over .300 with 27 homers, despite being shuffled from first-base to right-field. The next year, he moved again, to third-base, but knee issues plagued him ever since and his regular spot there went to Reynolds instead.
This afternoon, we see the ongoing Billy Buckner audition - hey, at least we dodged a Kevin Mulvey start, as we originally feared. Buckner is usually fine the first couple of times through the order, but struggles mightily thereafter, even with his new pitch. Last time, he left too many pitches up in the zone, and those are the ones which got hit hard. However, he is doing a much better job of avoiding home-runs. Since returning to the rotation at the start of the month, he has allowed only one in 23.1 innings of work - this compares to a Petit-eseque ten in 40.2, prior to that. It has helped Buckner to a 3.47 ERA this month, though the opponent's BA of .311 is still too high.
Mujica has even worse stamina - his longest outing was the 4.2 innings he went against Arizona on the 16th of this month, and if he reaches 75 pitches, that'll also be a career-high. In 11.1 innings as a starter, he has allowed 16 hits and seven earned runs - five of those did come last time out, at Coors. Still, he is certainly a back of the rotation starter, the kind upon which good teams feast, and the Diamondbacks will want to leave the home fans with a good taste in their mouth after the last game of 2009 at Chase.
- Chris Young CF
- Stephen Drew SS
- Justin Upton RF
- Miguel Montero C
- Mark Reynolds 3B
- Gerardo Parra LF
- Chad Tracy 1B
- Augie Ojeda 2B
- Billy Buckner P
Won't be about for this one, as we're going to the game. Got some really good seats too, so keep an eye out for us - just to the left of home-plate, I think, as you stand on the pitcher's mound. 'Skins is on the recap, and I'll be back with some comments and, hopefully, photos in that.