Tuesday, July 06, 2004

One Pitch 

Embarrassing admission time, part two. (Part one is here.) 5:10 start times aren't good for me -- too many family obligations. So I saw exactly one pitch of last night's game.

No, it wasn't the Steve Finley 3-run homerun. No, it wasn't Chad Tracy's infield single to end Gagne's 84-game save streak. Unfortunately, it was the wrong pitch -- Choate left a pitch hanging to Shawn Green, who kindly didn't get all of it -- only getting a sacrifice fly to the right-center field wall -- so that the D-Backs only lost 6-5 to the Dodgers instead of losing to a walk-off grand slam for the second time in 9 days.

The Republic tried to paint this as a moral victory because the D-Backs ended Gagne's save streak. But it's only impressive because the D-Backs have been so incredibly lousy coming from behind this year. (Though that's only my impression which would take more research on my part to confirm. And in terms of D-Back offense in "late innings of close games," their OPS of .723 puts them right in the middle of the NL pack. Perhaps it's just their bullpen...)

Oh, yes, the bullpen. For those of you complaining about Brenly's use of the bullpen, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Brandon Webb plus six relievers.

Personally, I prefer ending relievers' streaks in more definitive fashion. I don't think many people would have called it a moral victory had Derek Jeter caught Gonzo's blooper in Game 7 in 2001, then had the relief staff blow it in the 10th inning...

Meanwhile, John Gambodoro, whose afternoon "Gambo and Ash" sports radio show gets my vote for most entertaining in the Valley has a rant on the Republic website saying that Grace is destined to be the next manager. I'm not sure Pedrique is necessarily being set up for a fall (if you're going to do that, you should probably set the bar a bit higher than it's been set this year), but it's clear that Pedrique is an "interim" manager in the most of "interim" of senses.

I like how the Republic doesn't even mention the poor hitting in the 10th at all. Talk about glossing over the bad parts!

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