Wednesday, July 28, 2004

At Last! 

[Originally sent by e-mail Tuesday morning, but never posted for some
inexplicable reason. Here it is for the record.]

Maybe it's a good thing the D-Backs have a 4-game series at Houston.
Beating the Astros 4-1 in Houston on Monday after suffering through the 0-11
homestand came as welcome relief. Brandon Webb struggled with his control,
issuing 4 walks, but also induced 12 ground-ball outs over 7 1/3 innings.
Scott Hairston, 4-for-4 with a homerun. Gonzo hit a homerun, going
back-to-back in the 1st inning with Hairston.

And, oh my goodness, the D-Backs actually scored insurance runs in the top
of the 9th.

And, wonder of wonders, Greg Aquino retired the side in the 9th after
Stephen Randolph retired two batters with 4 pitches in the 8th. Actual
"relief" work by the relievers.

I'm not sure why you keep Brandon Webb in the game in the 8th inning after
having already thrown about 120 pitches (since it was OK to pull Randy
Johnson after 114 pitches in arid air-conditioned comfort the day before),
but instead of getting punished for doing the right thing (a la Johnson),
Pedrique gets rewarded for doing the wrong thing and gets the win.


No real new news on the trade front. Mark Gonzales in the Republic argues
that the "scales appear to be tipping in favor of a [Randy Johnson] trade."
This, on the basis of, literally, a fist pump and tipped cap from Johnson on
Sunday and the following quotation by D-Back scout Bryan Lambe in the New
York Times:

"The [Yankees prospects] I more or less wrote up, yes, they would definitely
help. They wouldn't just help the Diamondbacks, they'd help every
organization. But it's a matter of what they would be giving up, to a
certain extent, the face of the Diamondbacks right now. I don't know what
their thinking is."

The fact that this quote is used as an indication that the "scales are
tipping" can mean one of the following:

1. The trade front is really, really, really slow.
2. Gonzales knows something he can't print, and is using this (quote) as an
excuse to lay the groundwork for the trade.
3. The Republic is engaging in the same rumor-mongering the New York papers
have been engaging in for weeks now.

I'm not saying that the scales aren't actually tipping; I'm not saying
Johnson won't actually be traded. I'm just saying that just because a
D-Back scout is quoted as saying that the Yankees prospects don't completely
suck doesn't mean that the D-Backs are ready to trade Johnson (please see
second sentence in Lambe quote above).


That can't be good... Brandon Villafuerte, released from what is arguably
the worst relief staff in the majors. By my reckoning, that means there are
quite a few others on the staff who should be released soon as well.

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