Record: 20-23; Pace: 75-87; Change on last season: +1
The matchup between two undefeated starters in Jair Jurrjens and Josh Collmenter was played out as billed. One starter took his first loss, and the other earned his third career victory. The game was a pitcher's duel most of the evening, until Arizona broke through with two runs off of Jurrjens. The Diamondbacks bullpen worked through some nerves to hold down the win and sweep the short series against the Atlanta Braves.Josh Collmenter's second major league start went just as well as his first. He started off the game with a 1-2-3 inning, two of those outs coming on popups to the catcher Miguel Montero - also known as The Eric Byrnes Specialty. That was a sign of things to come, as the EB22 Special was a dining option taken by many Braves hitters this evening. Ryan Roberts had a few great running catches at or over the wall, Gerardo Parra made at least one running grab, and Juan Miranda had an easy popout in foul territory near first base. There were also a few fly outs deep to the outfielders, but they all stayed in the ballpark. Overall, 12 of Collmenter's 18 outs were in the air; he had five groundout and only one strikeout (which didn't come until the 6th inning). Collmenter allowed only two base hits, a double and a single, both to Freddie Freeman. He threw 76 pitches in his six innings of work, 57 of which were strikes. Josh Collmenter - Tomahawkin' Strike-Throwin' Machine!
Jair Jurrjens was pitching even more efficiently than Collmenter, and that's because Diamondbacks hitters were even more impatient than Braves hitters. While Collmenter was throwing a lot of pitches that were being fouled off by Braves during their at-bats, Diamondbacks hitters were swinging early in the count and making easy outs. The Diamondbacks did scatter a few more hits off of Jurrjens than the Braves did off of Collmenter. Montero had a single in the 2nd and Collmenter got himself his first major league hit in the 3rd inning. But the third time through the batting order, Jurrjens started to lose it.
Arizona had a huge opportunity in the 5th inning. With one out, Juan Miranda and Gerardo Parra singled. When Collmenter tried to sacrifice, he was hit by the pitch to load the bases. But Ryan Roberts and Kelly Johnson were both too aggressive - Roberts ground out harmlessly on the first pitch, and Kelly struck out on a pitch way out of the zone, and the Diamondbacks failed to score. But in the 6th inning, the Diamondbacks finally broke through. After two deep fly outs to center field, Chris Young hit a home run to the left field bleachers to put Arizona ahead 1-0. Then Montero singled, and Miranda almost hit a home run of his own, but the ball was just inches inside the yellow line on the right-center field overhang. So it was a triple for Miranda, and Montero scored to make it 2-0. Parra was intentionally walked to make Kirk Gibson make a decision about Collmenter, and he was pinch hit for by Sean Burroughs, the ex-Padre first-round draft pick getting his first at bat since May 4, 2006. Burroughs swung at the first pitch he saw and hustled down the line to make it close, but his groundout ended the inning.
It was time for the bullpen to come in and hold the line. Sam Demel was first up in the 7th inning and induced three groundouts on only seven pitches, but the 8th inning wasn't quite so easy for Joe Patterson. Freeman singled to lead it off - Freeman at that point had all three of the Braves' hits - and Alex Gonzalez followed with another single. Nate McClouth's sacrifice put runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out. After getting a huge pop out from pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad, Esmerling Vasquez came in and got Martin Prado to ground out to third, and the bullpen put another zero on that scoreboard.
JJ "The Easy Button" Putz came in to get the save for Arizona, but it wasn't quite as easy as we'd all hoped. After a tough groundout back to him and a fly out to center by Chipper Jones, Brian McCann doubled. McCann scored on a line drive to right field that Justin Upton just completely whiffed on, and the Gameday Thread was suddenly filled with posts of "TWO HANDS!" And up to the plate came Freddie Freeman, with a 3-3 day, and J.J. said "Forget those 7 guys behind me, I'mma do this myself" and got Freeman to strike out on a high fastball to end the game.
Damn Fine Job: J Collmenter, +37.0%
Quite Helpful: C Young, +13.9%, J Miranda, +13.6%
Not So Good, Dude: K Johnson, -13.7%; R Roberts, -14.8%
It was quite an active GDT tonight, with everybody feeling quite positive about our end of the pitcher's duel. justin led all posters with 101, and 'Skins beat me for second place only because he started talking about the Redskins while I wrote the recap. All present were Rockkstarr12, hotclaws, LiamNeeson, snakecharmer, Bcawz, justin1985, DbacksSkins, Jim McLennan, blank_38, asteroid, IHateSouthBend, TinySarabia, Zavada's Moustache, Sprankton, emilylovesthedbacks, Dallas D'Back Fan, 4 Corners Fan, nateasaurus, JustAJ, brian custer, kishi, Bryan J. Boltik, dbacks25, Muu, Gibbysdad, and jinnah.
Sorry, Dallas, I know your comment was the most rec'd, but Comment of the Night goes to the one that made me laugh harder:
The Dback fans in attendance should start doing the Tomahawk Chop every time Collmenter does something good, just to piss off visiting Brave fans.
by Zavada's Moustache on May 19, 2011 7:32 PM PDT
Tomorrow we start an inter-league weekend matchup against one of our "regional rivals," the Minnesota Twins. Because that makes a lot of sense. Ian Kennedy is on the hill tomorrow, and Micah Owings gets the call-up for Saturday's game. I'm still trying to find out Daron Sutton's mysterious source from "the Internet" on this news, but since it was announced post-game, I guess "the Internet" gets things right every now and then! (Now, about this looting thing...)