Record: 14-16. Pace: 76-86. Change on last year: 0.
Of course immediately after I worry that this year's club is in danger of being as cripplingly awful as last year's, they go and steal game that would have been a heartbreaker in 2010.
It's not that the Diamondbacks didn't give it their best shot. They struggled all game, working hard just to get on base and making Jason Hammel look like a phenom. They were saving their energies for late into the night, though, like a gang of feral cats keen on messing up a rose garden, making ghoulish noises outside someone's window, or just plain causing hell.
Ian Kennedy didn't have his best stuff, but he survived six innings with only 2 ER. He would give up a lead-off base hit each of the first innings, with three being extra bases. He would give up 6 hits and 3 walks. There was serious trouble in those first four innings, and but the good luck started early, too.
In the first Dexter Fowler would make it to third with only one out. Troy Tulowitzki was up to try to bring him home, but his woes in Chase Field would continue. He slapped a grounder to Melvin Mora at third, who made a nice play to throw it home, and Miguel Montero applied the tag to complete the play. Miggy would be slightly shaken up from the play, but nothing that would keep him out.
It would be near chances all evening for the Rockies. Their two runs would be scratched out, and both times felt like the start of something more. In the second inning, Seth Smith doubled to lead things off. He advanced to third on an Ian Kennedy wild pitch, and then was brought home with a Jose Morales sacrifice fly. A smart defensive play by Kelly Johnson would stop the bleeding, as he cut off a poor Gerardo Parra throw, flipped it to a sprinting Stephen Drew, who in turn tagged out the advancing Ian Stewart. It was an odd double play, but it cleared the bases with only one run given up.
Colorado would threaten again in the fourth, with Todd Helton leading things off with a double. Stewart took a walk to put two on and one out, and Jose Morales added another RBI by singling in Helton. Stewart would advance on the play to third, leaving men on the corners with still only one out. Kennedy worked his way out of the jam, though, with a little help from the Rockies. The visitors opted for their pitcher, Jason Hammel, to sacrifice bunt. Although he managed to move Morales over to second, Stewart was unable to score. Jonathan Herrera then hit into a fielder's choice to end another Rockies chance. It would be the last time Colorado would score for the evening, and they wouldn't even get a runner past second.
Kennedy's opposition, Jason Hammel, must have been mistaken for Cole Hamels circa 2008 by the Diamondbacks, because he was untouchable through 7. He struck out 4, but also walked 3 and scattered 4 hits over those 7 innings. The Diamondbacks wouldn't get anything sustained outside of the first inning, when they managed to load the bases with two outs.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, with Huston Street coming in to close the game for the Rockies, hope seemed to fading quickly. Down by only 2 measly runs, the Diamondbacks were swinging for the fences. Juan Miranda struck out to lead things off, but Parra would get a pitch he could handle and drilled it the opposite way for a solo home run. Suddenly it was a game again, but the Diamondbacks would need another run, somehow. Xavier Nady was called to pinch hit, but he struck out after fouling off a pitch he should have killed. Luckily the next batter was a guy capable of hitting a solo home run: Chris Young, he of the numerous solo shots during the 2007 campaign. He would live up to his billing, smashing a ball to left and tying the game. It would be Street's first blown save of 2011.
In the 10th the Diamondbacks would be given a chance to win it all, but squandered it away. Both Stephen Drew and Miranda would walk, and end up on second and third on a fly out and fielder's indifference. With two outs, though, Parra would ground out, given only one chance at heroics for the night.
Things finally ended in the 11th, and in typical Diamondbacks fashion, the win was hardly typical. Russell Branyan was called out to do what he does best: swing for the fences. He would do his best, but unfortunately his best tonight ended up as a grounder to second. Chris Young was up next, and he drilled a ball to deep center that was maybe a 2 feet below the yellow line and a home run. Instead, it was a double, setting the stage for someone else to be hero. Kelly Johnson would strike out, his third of the evening, continuing his slow start to the 2011 season. Upton was next, and he was itching to end the game. He fouled off a few pitches, waiting for the right one. He thought he saw it, but his swing became a towering pop-up that was falling near a spot that was being charged by Smith, Helton, and Herrera. It seemed an out for sure. But as Smith slid in to make the catch, it bounced harmlessly to his side, and Young hit home plate to end the game.
Both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were silenced for the game, but unfortunately so was Kelly Johnson. Overall it was a fairly unremarkable game. It felt less like a pitcher's duel than a game being played at a less than optimal level. The Diamondbacks would be the winner, though, and took the series from the Rockies.
Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin: Chris Young (67.1%)
The Mexican Cavalry: Justin Upton (22.8%), David Hernandez (14.7%), JJ Putz (14.7%)
Charles de Lorencez: Kelly Johnson (-19.1%)
An unlikely series win, but a series win nonetheless. A fairly lively GDT after awhile, though we had 11 innings to generate as many useless comments as we could. Just over a 1000 comments, with 3 breaking the century mark: DbacksSkins, myself, and justin1985. We were joined by: Clefo, Jim McLennan, Rockkstarr12, hotclaws, DeDxDbacKxJroK, pygalgia, Wailord, Husk, blank_38, BattleMoses, kishi, Sprankton, IHateSouthBend, emilylovesthedbacks, Torpedosneak, Jdub220, Zavada's Moustache, txzona, nateasaurus, Shawnwck, TinySarabia, Scottyyy, Counsellmember, and PhoenixFly.
No Comment of the Day, simply because there were none up to snuff. Perhaps if people spent less time talking about their cars, and spent more time coming up with witty comments, then we might have a COTD today.
Tomorrow starts a long road trip for the Diamondbacks. They kick things off in San Diego, which I hear no one knows the meaning of. First pitch is at 7:05pm, so be here or be at Thor. And really, if you're going to go see Thor, you might as well go all-in and administer a self-lobotomy with an ice pick.