Thursday, July 29, 2004

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch... 

It occurred to me yesterday that once the trade deadline passes on Saturday, national interest in the D-Backs will subside to a standstill.  This is not uncommon; the D-Backs have never been of tremendous national interest anyway, and certainly not this season.  If the initials "R" and "J" aren't found in the first paragraph of a D-Back story, it will attract almost no attention.

I realize this is an obvious statement, but as much as this trade talk has wearied me (and, frankly, has done so since the beginning of July), I recognize now that this is the last 3 or 4 days that most people will care about the D-Backs this season, save when their team is taking on Arizona and winning 2 out of 3 from the D-Backs will be a slight disappointment and losing a series will be a major disaster.

So it's been harder than ever to focus on the actual games.  Last night's game, a 6-1 D-Backs loss to the Astros, was no different than many games (weak starting pitching, weak offense) with the exception of a relatively good performance by the relief staff -- 4 innings, 3 hits, no walks, and no runs by Dessens, Choate, and Fetters.  Now, the aggrieved fan in me wonders why Choate and Fetters could combine for 2 hits and no walks in 2 innings last night, while giving up 3 runs in Sunday afternoon's game, messing up Randy's last outing, but I'm trying to retain my eqanimity.

If I'm going to complain about anything, it would be why Fossum was pulled after 4 innings.  I realize that his turn in the batting order was coming up in the top of the 5th, but it's not like it was a close game -- he'd given up all 6 runs already.  He'd pitched a perfect 4th inning.  If the game was already lost, why not let Fossum see if he could work another 2 or 3 innings?  The argument that you need to protect young pitchers' psyches (which I'm not sure I buy anyway) doesn't apply in this case.

"Everybody wants to win.  [Randy Johnson is] a tremendous pitcher.  He's one of the guys I've said I will pay to watch at any time.  I enjoy watching him.  But he sure can give a lot of exprience to those young players over there -- if they're paying attention." -- Roger Clemens, quoted in the 7/29/04 Arizona Republic

Roger Clemens is:
a) is being honest
b) wants to keep the Astros in the wild card race
c) hates his former employers, the Yankees
d) all of the above

You can never tell the motivation behind people's comments.  Unlike "persons familiar with the situation," athletes are usually willing to be quoted on the record.  But what's the motivation?  Not that Randy would pay much heed to Roger's comments, but the fact that the Astros are still only 5 games behind the Padres for the NL wild card slot and the fact that the Yankees are hardly a sure thing can't be entirely ignored.

The Republic also reports that D-Backs scout Bryan Lambe attended the Red Sox game on Wednesday; with Trot Nixon possibly going on the DL, Danny Bautista could be a potential pickup for the Red Sox.  The Dodgers and San Diego are the contenders for Steve Finley.  The Dodgers denied any Johnson-Lo Duca deal.

There was some discussion on El Lefty Malo -- http://leftymalo.blogspot.com -- about a rumored Bautista-Aardsman (AAA pitcher) deal.

What in the world will we talk about Sunday?

If you haven't already, check out the discussion on yesterday's "Proposal" -- don't miss out on the first D-Backs' blogging event!

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